Monday, November 20, 2017

Staying in Historical Hotels or Mansions

This post is brought to you by Janalyn Voigt.

In this hurry-too-fast world, those of us who love history can forget to take time to explore it. One of the ways I solve this problem is to stay in historical hotels or private mansions whenever possible during my travels. I have stayed in some unique places over the years, including a hotel in the inhabited ghost town of Shaniko with a view overlooking the jail; the Hotel Wilber with rooms decorated in heirloom antiques by the town’s resident families; and the entire attic floor of the Morton Mansion, home of an early mayor and senator.
Shaniko Hotel, Shaniko, Oregon
Hotel Wilber, Wilber Nebraska
The Morton Mansion, Douglas Wyoming

Staying in Historical Hotels and Mansions 

If you’re looking for an immersive experience of history, staying in a historical hotel or mansion is one of the best ways to attain one.

Finding them is easy. Just type the name of the city where you want to stay plus the words ‘historical hotel’ or “historical mansion” in an online search engine. You can also look up buildings listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Searching for a historic hotel or mansion can lead to some interesting reading about the history of the location, which enhances your experience when you arrive. 

Before settling on a place to stay, read reviews written by other travelers. Time spent in a well-loved building or a worn pearl is quite different from enduring a dump. A nice website is a good sign, but not every historical hotel or mansion has one. There may not be a way to check availability online, but you shouldn’t have to track down a phone number or email address to make an inquiry. Reserving a room in a historic hotel or mansion might take a little longer than booking a room in a hotel chain, but for a history lover the time is well spent. 

When Staying in Historical Hotels and Mansions 

Conveniences we take for granted nowadays can be conspicuous by their absence in a historical hotel or mansion. For example, because I live in the balmy Pacific Northwest, I didn’t think to calculate what a night spent without air conditioning in Oregon’s high desert would feel like. If I had, we’d have gone in a cooler month. One wild west hotel we stayed in didn’t offer televisions in the rooms, a welcome feature for my family. Other guests expressed their dismay at the omission, however. Amenities we’ve come to expect may not be offered by historical hotels and mansions. Since you’ve read this far, I assume that you are willing to revel in the history of a place without looking for every creature comfort. 

I should also mention that when occupying a room in a historic hotel or mansion you might notice broken or missing trim, a claw-foot tub with worn spots, quixotic plumbing, windows that don’t open, or other imperfections. Renovation is often a labor of love and an ongoing project for the owners. Your patronage helps them preserve a bit of history. When was the last time you felt good about paying a hotel bill?

About Janalyn Voigt

My father instilled a love of literature in me at an early age by reading chapters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Robinson Crusoe and other classics. When I grew older, and he stopped reading bedtime stories, I put myself to sleep with tales I 'wrote' in my head. My sixth-grade teacher noticed my interest in storytelling and influenced me to become a writer.

I'm what is known as a multi-genre author, but I like to think of myself as a storyteller. The same elements appear in all my novels in proportions dictated by their genre: romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy.

Viist Janalyn Voigt online.


  1. We stayed in a "vintage" hotel once. I thought it would be the epitome of luxury with a name like The Castle. The water left a lot to be desired.....typical rusty country water, which made soaking in the beautiful tub something I no longer looked forward to. I'll do more research if we ever do that again, for sure.

    1. I hear you, Connie. Staying in a historic hotel is nothing if not an experience.

  2. You stayed just up the road from me when you were at the Hotel Wilbur. My biker friends and I are there once when taking a lovely Friday evening ride. Wilbur is known for Czech Days and kolaches, too!

  3. A nice way to experience history. Thanksgiving blessings.

    1. Hi, Marilyn. You are so right. Merry Christmas! Sorry I forgot to reply earlier.