These 3 historic hotels give guests a glimpse at the past

Three historic hotels in Colorado take guests back to when mining towns boomed in the mountains.

In other words, guests get an experience that no modern chain hotel could ever replicate. These hotels are also perfectly situated for summer road trips to some of the country’s best state and national parks, where social distancing is never an issue.

The Creede Hotel in Creede, an old silver mining town in Colorado.
The Creede Hotel in Creede, an old silver mining town in Colorado. | Dennis Lennox

Creede Hotel

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The aptly named Creede Hotel in Creede (population 290) is actually a bed-and-breakfast inn with four rooms above a local restaurant. The rooms — each is named after an Old West legend — are dated and could use an update, which hopefully will come soon as the hotel is for sale with an asking price of $889,000.

Dating to the 1880s, the hotel and restaurant also sit next to a popular theatre housed in the old silver mining town’s opera house. Just down Main Street, which features several shops, galleries and even an old-fashioned hardware store, is the early 1890s Denver & Rio Grande Railroad depot-turned-town museum.

Creede, about five hours’ drive from Denver, has more to offer than small-town charm. Surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, it is perfect for outdoor recreation, including fishing in the Rio Grande River.

The Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton, Colorado, first opened its doors in 1883.
The Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton, Colorado, first opened its doors in 1883. | Dennis Lennox

Grand Imperial Hotel

On the other side of the San Juan Mountains is Silverton (population 645), which as its name suggests was once a silver mining town.

The major landmark is the Grand Imperial Hotel, which first opened its doors to guests in 1883. They simply don’t build hotels like this anymore. Painstakingly restored in recent years, the decor is reminiscent of the grand hotels that sprang up in the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras.

Silverton’s former prosperity is also exemplified by its stately county courthouse and townhall, the latter of which was thankfully restored after a fire in 1992 gutted the interior. The circa 1880 Carpenter Gothic edifice of First Congregational Church against the backdrop of the mountains makes for a nice photo.

Getting to Silverton by car takes five hours from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and between six and seven hours from Denver and Salt Lake City.

Ouray, Colorado.
Ouray, Colorado. | Dennis Lennox

Beaumont Hotel & Spa

About an hour from Silverton is the Beaumont Hotel & Spa in Ouray, which film buffs will recognize from the 1969 Western classic “True Grit” starring John Wayne.

The family-owned hotel, built in 1886 when gold was king, counts Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover among its most famous guests.

While in Ouray (population 1,000) be sure to visit the county courthouse and see the courtroom from “True Grit.” Be sure to also take a tour of the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine at Gold Mountain to learn about the life and working conditions of the Old West miners.

Spires and Crosses is a weekly travel column. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter and Instagram.

Dennis Lennox writes about travel, politics and religious affairs. He has been published in the Financial Times, Independent, The Detroit News, Toronto Sun and other publications. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter.

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