This is a historic property, built as a private home in the 1840s and restored as a 10-room hotel. It’s one of a couple of historic hotels at the west end of the business district of Hwy 96, the main street of the modern town of Nauvoo (not historic Nauvoo). It’s attractive and charming on the outside and the inside. Pictures show porches on the front and side, but guests are kept off for safety reasons. There is a small garden and sitting area, where on warm humid evenings I would see fireflies zipping about in their brilliant courtship dance.
People planning to stay here should be agile and fit enough to carry their bags up either a main spiral stairway or a rear straight stairway, both fairly narrow. There is no elevator. On the ground floor is a small lobby with an office that takes care of both the hotel and restaurant. The restaurant serves only dinner Tuesday through Saturday and lunch on Sunday. The facilities and service in the hotel and restaurant were excellent and everyone was friendly and helpful. The word "guest" means something here, as opposed to just "customer." In addition to taking care of the usual guest needs, there's a small sitting room with cookies, beverages, and a chest full of ice that always seemed fresh. A cupboard in the hall holds irons and boards, extra TP, even plumber’s helpers. Also included with the room is a discount for buffet breakfast at the homey Grandpa John’s Café across the street. Parking is either on the street or in a large lot on the adjoining block.
The rooms are furnished in 19th century style. Mine was on the east side, overlooking the small garden and the street corner. It was small but comfortable, with an armchair but no couch (not enough space) and a full bath. Post-19th century amenities included a clock radio, TV, and wi-fi. I was having too good a time to watch TV, but I admit turning on the weather channel a time or two because I’m from California and I worry about tornados.
I had dinner there twice. There are several dining rooms with historic décor. One night I had the buffet, which would seem exotic to Chuck-A-Rama fans. There must have been 40 salad bar items alone, from the simple standby lettuce, radishes, olives to things like crackers and flavored cheese spreads, fried onions, and pickled herring. Entrees included ham, roast beef, fish, chicken, and turkey, with a couple dozen potato, pasta, and veggie sides. And dessert—don’t even mention it! The next night I had a crab-stuffed shrimp entrée from the menu, which was delicious but also more than I could do justice to. For Monday nights when the restaurant is closed, or for breakfast or lunch, several restaurants are in the half mile length of the main business district.
This hotel would probably not work well for families with young children. As a historic property, it doesn’t have a lot of the amenities that families with kids might want. The narrow halls and stairs and the relatively small grounds aren’t conducive to youthful recreation. I don’t know if my room was typical, but it was small, adequate for a solo or couple. Two people staying there would need to be on good terms. There is a motel associated with the hotel about a half mile east, which doesn’t look too exciting on the outside but probably has bigger rooms. For one or two adults looking for a comfortable, congenial historic hotel that’s definitely not cut from a pattern, the Hotel Nauvoo is a great choice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nauvoo's original, genuine Historic Inn, built in the 1840's, with fully restored overnight accommodations. Free Internet. Cleanest rooms in Nauvoo. Discounted breakfast next door at the ultra-clean Grandpa John's Cafe. We are located one block from the Nauvoo Temple. ... more less