Photo courtesy Durango CVB
Don’t look for replicas of antique furniture in the 125-year-old Strater Hotel. Windowed showcases brim with the real deals, and antique collectibles dot the public and private areas, including each of the 93 guest rooms, which are individually designed in Victorian charm. Master woodworking and hand-printed Bradbury wallpaper abound throughout the hotel.
And, don’t expect a snooty attitude in this upscale inn, as the Strater Hotel has served as a honky-tonk getaway since the days of the Wild West. The Diamond Belle Saloon, touted as one of the most famous original ragtime piano bars, still features costumed dancehall girls and bartenders, making guests feel like part of a Western show.
The Office Spiritorium is the hotel’s twist on the place to sip fine wines and spirits and nibble on delectable bites.
The hotel also hosts the Henry Strater Theatre, home to the Durango Melodrama and Vaudeville productions, shows with heroes, villains, music accompaniment, and hisses and cheers from the audience.
But before bank groups take in a night of singing old favorites by the piano or watching a train race toward the seemingly doomed woman tied to the tracks, they will want to enjoy a meal that includes locally grown offerings and a hand-cut steak from the in-house butcher, all prepared at the award-winning Mahogany Grille.
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
In the late 1700s, the local sulfur springs were discovered as a medicinal miracle, and in 1910, the C & O Railway purchased the property, including the existing cottages and hotel. That same year, construction began on the central portion of today’s Greenbrier, and the fascinating history continued.
“During World War II, the property became known as Ashford General Hospital, and during the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government built a relocation facility for Congress at the Greenbrier. This 111,544-square-foot bunker, although never activated, remained a top secret for 30 years,” said Lynn Swann, director of public relations.
Myriad accommodation choices are available, from single rooms to four-bedroom estate houses to seven-bedroom suites, some with private patios, entertainment and dining areas, and wood-burning fireplaces.
The collection of dining options is equally impressive, with 13 restaurants offering French-inspired dishes, sushi, seafood, steak and more.
“Guests enjoy an array of over 50 recreational amenities such as golf, tennis, off-road driving, kayaking, falconry, horseback riding, sporting clays, historic tours, ice skating, laser tag, mountain biking, fly-fishing, movies and live performances,” said Swann. “The Greenbrier Spa was recently honored as one of only 30 spas in the world to earn the Forbes five-star award.”
In addition, the Casino Club, opened in 2010, offers underground gaming and entertainment with 35 table games, 320 slot machines, boutiques and more restaurants.
Hotel du Pont
Guests think they are entering an office building when they walk into the Hotel du Pont, which is in the heart of the financial and legal district in downtown Wilmington.
“But immediately, the response is the same. People are awed and often wonder aloud, ‘Where did this come from?’” said Carolyn Grubb, the hotel’s director of marketing and public relations.
Opened in 1913, this Brandywine Valley hotel has charmed visitors such as Charles Lindbergh, John F. Kennedy and Katherine Hepburn thanks to the European design, the 217 elegant guest rooms, French cuisine and the inclusive Dupont Theatre.
“Known to residents of surrounding states as Delaware’s Broadway experience, the biggest stars of stage and screen have graced this Victorian stage,” said Grubb.
Enjoy afternoon tea after a day of shopping and perusing the nearby museums, have a workout in the modern fitness center, and then indulge in some of that famed cuisine at the AAA Four-Diamond Green Room, or enjoy a more informal meal at the cafeteria-style restaurant, the Grill.
“This is the place for romance,” said Grubb. “Don’t miss a peek at our gorgeous Gold Ball Room, which has hosted parties for the rich and famous.”