ARRIVAL and LOCATION
The lobby area is dressed in period furniture and stained-glass window art. You’ll get the feeling you’re in a mini museum when you browse the hotel’s displays of artifacts. Being a writer, I especially liked seeing a typewriter from the early days of the hotel near the old on-site post office.
The hotel sits beside the small mountains of Durango on the main avenue of town. The street is peppered with adorable shops selling old-time toys, rugged clothes, delicious food, music and candy. We brought two of our five boys along and the shops kept them occupied for hours. The hotel has a restaurant and saloon and we found delicious food all along the main run. Fort Lewis College is located very close – just a five-minute car ride away.
Most of the furniture and the wallpaper are period appropriate or actual antiques. There are no cookie cutter rooms here! Each is different and has its own highlight. The ceiling in the Charlie Schumacher room steals the show, for example. If you stay there, notice the carved wood molding and accented chandelier.
Many rooms have plaques beside them announcing their significance. I stuck my head into the Louis and Kathy L’Amour room to see the desk where the famous author wrote many of his books. The housekeeper was making the bed at the time, so I took the opportunity to ask her about Mr. L’Amour and whether or not the hotel was haunted. Her answers: yes, the writer and his family spent a great deal of time at the hotel and no, there are no ghosts.
All the beds are impressive with beautifully detailed headboards. My husband and I had a canopy bed in our room (I felt like a princess) and our boys stayed in the Strater Family room next door, which has two sturdy, yet ornate beds and a pass-through closet.
THE DINING ROOM
The Mahogany Grille is considered one of the best restaurants in Durango by the locals. We enjoyed a breakfast here, but would like to try the steak for dinner next time as it seemed to be what the other guests were looking forward to. Chef Arnold Safari, originally from Zanzibar, is head chef for the hotel and is rolling out the “Strater Culinary Safari” soon with various world cuisines featured during each theme dinner.
If you have a child at Fort Lewis College as we do, there is no better place to stay for convenience. Regardless of your reason to visit, I recommend the hotel for its story and comfort.