I find the appeal of The Baldpate Inn difficult to render in language--and I'm an English teacher. There is deep history in its walls, and you can almost feel the nearly 100 years' worth of guests who've visited. If you spend slow and leisurely time perusing the photos in the dining room, the keys in the museum, and the details nestled in the corners, you'll start to feel that you've become a part of something and someplace bigger than yourself. (I'm biased on that account--I discovered, quite by accident, that my grandparents honeymooned here in 1937. But I only found out after I arrived for the first time 15 years ago)
As a previous (negative) reviewer has noted, there are few amenities at the Baldpate-- but that's one of the things I love about it. There's no pool. No fitness center. There's only one television, and it's hidden away in a back room library. Only a few of the rooms have a private bath en suite. But there are so many quiet nooks in which to sit and read, think, or talk. The breezes on the porch are delightful, as are the hummingbirds, squirrels, and jays that surround the entryway. The space encourages simplification and serenity. I sat for hours on the porch and simply was. How many modern spaces enable that sort of calm?
The rooms are small and sparsely furnished, and some of the small details are showing their age. But again, that's sort of appealing to me. There's time embedded in these bits of the Inn that are fraying around the edges.
The food at both breakfast and dinner is elegantly comfortable. It lacks a lot of variety on a given day, but it's filling and well-prepared. The staff is earnest, personable, and friendly, and the owner seems like she genuinely values and appreciates your willingness to visit. Family, rather than corporation, seems to set the tone and create the ethos of the place.
I've stayed here twice in 15 years, and both visits inspired lasting feelings of peace and contentment. I can't say that about any other place in Estes Park, perhaps because of the loud and obnoxious carnival vibe surrounding the town itself. But I imagine that the things I love about the Baldpate would tend to discourage high-maintenance, difficult people. If you appreciate deep roots, quirky charm, quiet hospitality, simple comforts, and laid-back friendliness, stay here. If you're willing to meet the place halfway, it'll prove amply rewarding.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Baldpate Inn is key to enjoying serenity in Estes Park. With Rocky Mountain National Park as our neighbor, the log & lace feel of our 1917 National Register Inn pampers you with B&B accommodations in our main lodge guest rooms or our cozy cabins. Enjoy the front porch views, become fascinated by our collections of Keys and Photographs or savor our famous Soup & Salad buffet as you dine in our award-winning specialty restaurant ... more less
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