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“A gem from the Old West”

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Express St. James Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Cimarron
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 10, 2005

Rooms in the historic section of the St. James Hotel have changed little since the days when the Santa Fe Trail was an important highway. If former guests Clay Allison or Jesse James were able to visit one of the restored rooms today (and who knows -- they may have), they'd likely notice few changes beyond the electric lights and ceiling fans, wall-mounted heaters, and modern bathrooms.

The St. James is an American gem -- this country's answer to Europe's castles-turned-hotels. True, a night in a hotel room that is little changed from the 1880s will not be to everyone's liking. The St. James is most likely to appeal to history buffs or to those curious about its alleged paranormal activities.

Yes, the wooden floors squeak and many of the doors have slight gaps between their frames. But the antique beds have firm, comfortable (and new) mattresses, and the bathrooms have fluffy towels and little bottles of Lord & Mayfair rosemary-chamomile conditioning shampoo.

Every guest at the St. James should have dinner in the hotel's historic Carson-Maxwell Dining Room at least once. Diners should bring patience along with their appetites, though, even with advance reservations. Those enduring a long wait for a table aren't placated by the sight of numerous empty tables, either. I suspect that the hotel has to control the flow of customers through the dining room due to the small number of trained staff.

On the Saturday night I most recently ate there, only one waitress was on duty to handle the entire dining room. I suspect there was only one cook working the kitchen, as well. Once I was seated at a table, however, service was relatively smooth and definitely on a four-star level.

The waitress handed me a menu along with an apology: the kitchen was out of both bison and prawns. Alas, the majority of seafood dishes had shrimp as a major ingredient. Fortunately the grilled pork chop was available, and it was very tasty, as were the accompanying fried sweet potato strips and the vegetable medley of zucchini strips and red and green peppers. Expect to pay between $16-$21 for an entree, and desserts are $4.75. A glass of ice tea, on the other hand, will only set you back 80 cents, and there appeared to be no limit on the number of refills.

As for the hotel's reputation of being haunted: during my first stay at the St. James, in 1997, I reserved the Jesse James Room on the first floor. One night, or rather early one morning, I awoke to hear what sounded like someone pacing in the first-floor hallway. (Remember, it's hard to walk anywhere in the historic part of the hotel without creating some sort of sound.) I glanced at the small digital clock beside the bed (another concession the hotel makes to modern conveniences) and saw it was 4 a.m. The pacing continued for at least a half-hour; the last time I glanced at the clock before dozing back to sleep the time was 4:30. I didn't open the door to see whether it was a restless guest or restless ghost pacing in the hallway because I thought it would be impolite if, indeed, another guest was experiencing insomnia.

On this most recent return trip to the St. James, I stayed in the Governor's Room on the second floor, and the entire night was as quiet as (pardon the expression) a tomb. The silence was broken only by the occasional barking of a dog in the yard of the house across the street from the hotel. Interestingly, though, in the photos I took of the Governor's Room with a disposable Kodak B&W camera, several orbs are visible in the first picture I shot. No orbs turned up in photos of the room I took immediately afterward or in any other snapshots I made in the hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank WellINever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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224 - 230 of 241 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Boston, MA
Reviewed September 19, 2005

This "hotel" is a ripoff, I've stayed in better
Some people might call this charming, I call it a old, run down,

  • Stayed: September 2005, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2005

We were in Cimarron one night recently picking up our son from Philmont Scout Ranch and had anticipated eating in the restaurant at the St James Hotel all week. As we were checking in, we were told that we would need a reservation to eat in the dining room which we made at that time.

We arrived at our appointed time and there were a few empty tables so the place definitely was not packed. A group of boy scouts and their leaders that were being seated when I had made our reservation one hour earlier were still there and had obviously not yet been served their food didn't give me a warm fuzzy.

I ordered an 8 oz filet mignon with mushrooms, my wife ordered the 11 oz prime rib, and my daughter had a grilled cheese sandwich. We also ordered an appetizer of beer battered shrimp cocktail. Our entrees would be served with the usual choice of potato, mixed vegetables, bread, and salad.

Our salad and bread was promptly brought to our table but it was downhill after that. Finally after almost one hour, the shrimp cocktail was brought out and the shrimp was almost bare. The batter had been fried off of it for the most part. Upon tasting, it was obvious that these 5 shrimp had been in the freezer for quite some time, they had a mushy consistency. After 1 1/2 hours of sitting there, our entrees were brought to us. The food was decent but it was nothing to brag about. We then ordered dessert which was the best part of the meal. Two hours later when we were finally finished, the total bill came to $75 without gratuity.

The waitress was very nice and attentive to our needs it is too bad though that an apparent slow kitchen spoiled it. My advice while in Cimarron, just go get a burger at the Cree Mee Drive In and save your dollars for a nice place in Taos or Santa Fe.

6  Thank billnict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
New Mexico
Reviewed June 15, 2005

I stayed here two nights, and was disappointed.
No room service, place needs to be refurbished,
I have stayed in old historical inns and hotels
all over the country, this one was the worst.
very overated, if it were not for the ghost stories, I doubt
anyone would stay here.
But if you like that sort of thing, this is the place for you.
Some money should be spent, or the basics here, windows
(and I mean EVERY window) rattled and banged al night long by the wind,
luke warm bath water, no clean towels, and on my second night...
I discovered that I was the LONE occupant of the entire building!!
The front door was locked, and since there are no phones in the original hotel, I could have had a accident or health emergency and
not be discovered till morn.
This hotel is a ripoff,
My advice is to AVOID.

  • Stayed: September 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2005

Since ghost hunting is our passion we could not wait to spend the night in room 17, the most haunted room that is available. Room 18 is secured for safety of the staff and for respect of the ghost that habitates that room. We found high EMF readings that we could not explain at the end of the upstairs hallway. A picture of the window at the other end of the 2nd story hall still sends chills down our backs as we view it.

Staying in the room of the late Mary Lambert was exciting. As we were fading off to sleep, I felt a light touch on my back. Although feeling quite soothing, I noticed my wife was turned away and could not have touched by back. Upon questioning if she had just touched me...she had not! A moment later she shivered as invisible fingers lightly touched her hand.

About 3 AM we heard a hideous scream that seemed to originate inside our room. Upon immediate picture taking we discovered a vortex (thought by many to be the spiritual presence of a deceased person.)

Besides being treated to a nice weekend....staff are very courteous, food is DELICIOUS, and the hotel is amazingly full of history...we found what we came for: an encounter with a ghost.

We invite your comments or questions: tbarick@yahoo.com

16  Thank 231ricks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
St. Louis, MO
Reviewed May 23, 2005

A friend of mine and I had heard about the St. James Hotel in Cimarron and wanted to see if the ghost stories had any truth. The moment we walked in, it was like stepping back in time. The hotel is beautiful and the staff was wonderful. We were the only guests at the hotel and the staff made us feel like royalty. They talked with us and showed us around and told us their ghost stories. While looking at the photos and news articles on the wall in the lower hallway, something hit me upside my head. It felt like someone reached out and smacked me. I looked around and there was nothing that could have hit me. Then, I turned around and the hair on the back of my head was raising up, as though someone was running their fingers up through my hair. My friend saw this and tried to get a picture, but it was all over with by the time he got the camera out of his pocket. We also smelled roses outside our bedroom door. The staff said it was Mary Lambert. They said she likes men and when men check in the hotel, she checks them out. Oh my! Did we experience ghosts? Who is to say for sure, but those were some experiences we could not find an explanation for. I will be back to visit the St. James Hotel. It is clean, the staff is friendly and it is a great place to stay if you want to "step back in time.

  • Stayed: March 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Amarillo, TX
Reviewed January 23, 2005

Ever since I first heard of the history laden hotel, I'd wanted to visit it. And being as I'm only 4hrs away, it's a perfect "getaway". The hotel has the historical side, and the modern side. I always opt for the historic side as I don't mind the rustic and historic atmosphere. My first time, I was very impressed with the food (their tomato basil soup is great), and as we ate as soon as we arrived, I was greeted with one of the ghosts of the place. The "imp" as it is called, (which I believe to be the little boy that died in the fire long ago). strolled through the dining room and into the bar. Later on, we became acquainted with "Jim" the bartender and felt very welcome. Two days later, back home, I checked my pictures from my camera and found an unexplainable white blur on the exposure (digi cam). Co-workers have had similar photo experiances there also. My second time, while no ghosts, was just as pleasant, if not more so as I was greeted as a repeat customer. The elder staff and owner go out of their way to make your stay comfortable, and the area itself is very peaceful. Treat others the way you want to be treated and you won't be disappointed.

6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Express St. James Hotel

Address: 617 South Collison, Cimarron, NM 87714
Location: United States > New Mexico > Cimarron
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Cimarron
Price Range: $75 - $125 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Get into the "spirit" of the Old West at the Express St. James Hotel. Relax in a room where frontier legends stayed but beware, some of our "guests" have never checked out. For those seeking less excitement stay in the modern annex side. Guests can choose from a variety of entrees in the restaurant complimented by a drink in the Bar. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
St James Hotel
St James Cimarron

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