Oregon: Baker City – Geiser Grand Hotel (Review)
A delightful hotel restored beautifully to its former glory.
The Geiser Grand Hotel is a historic hotel in Baker City,Oregon. It opened in 1889 and saw a meteoric rise during the Gold Rush times when it got its nickname “The Queen of the Mines” and was described as the best hotel between Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah. During its early days, the Grand was a place for wealthy ladies and gents to see and be seen. The stately interior, with it ornately carved mahogany columns, Victorian-style chandeliers and stained glass ceiling hide some shadier connections to its past. It is rumoured to be haunted with a number of ghosts apparently wandering its mahogany-panelled corridors, including the “Lady in Blue” a saloon girl in a red bustier, a rugged cowboy who chats to the guests and a little girl. Their presence has made the Grand a popular spot for ghost hunters to frequent. Also, the hotel’s basement provides a subterranean window to underground tunnels dating back to the gold frenzy of the 1880s. These tunnels led to brothels, they gave passage to Chinese immigrants who weren’t allowed on the streets at night and they were handy during heavy snow and good for stashing booze during Prohibition.
Sadly, the 20th Century saw the decline of Baker City and the Grand. The Sidways bought the property in 1993 and spent four years and $7 million renovating it. The Geiser Grand Hotel re-opened in 1998 resplendent in its full glory.
We stopped at the Geiser Grand Hotel on our way across Eastern Oregon. Baker City is located on I-84 and is an ideal stopping point when crossing Oregon. They have a number of beautifully restored rooms, ours had a large queen, but they do have rooms with four-poster beds (being 6 foot 5 inches tall I try to avoid beds with end and sides!)
After dropping our bags off we took a walk around Baker City, which has wide and airy streets. To be honest it is not a destination in itself but is a pleasant place to spend a night or two. Back at the hotel, we decided to eat in the restaurant which sits at the base of the central atrium with a spectacular stained glass ceiling overhead. The food itself was extremely tasty and well presented.
Overall we would highly recommend a short stay at the Geiser Grand Hotel.
Located just one mile off I-84, take Exit 304. You’ll see large brown signs heralding the Geiser Grand Hotel, National Historic Landmark. More brown signs will lead you down Campbell St.(fast-food chain alley) to Main Street. Turn left. You will see the flag flying over the clock tower/cupola on the left–just a few blocks ahead.