ASHLAND, OR: The Ashland Springs Hotel

A delightful, historic hotel in the heart of Ashland, which I am pleased to recommend highly.

Candidly, I have mixed feelings about historic hotels. While the preservationist in me appreciates the fact that these often-lovely old buildings are saved from the wrecking ball, the state of the art when they were built often falls far short of what 21st-century travelers expect, resulting in a less than satisfactory guest experience.

The Ashland Springs Hotel
is, in most regards, a pleasant exception.

A two-year restoration project transformed the former Mark Antony into a property reminiscent of small european hotels, so there's no denying the rooms are small. Ours was 10' x 14', compared to 12' x 20' at the Hilton Garden Inn. However, they are well-appointed with an armoire, desk, comfy bed and, importantly, an updated bathroom. Some have views of the city and the valley beyond.

The bath, while also smaller than many modern baths, have been updated and are closer to what one might find in a contemporary hotel and are equipped with hair dryers and high-end amenities.

Service is very good. We arrived in late afternoon and inquired about a room without having made a reservation. Though we had technically moved into the hotel's high season, the clerk offered us a room at the more reasonable shoulder season rate, no doubt because of a lighter-than-expected guest load that evening. The rate included parking in the lot behind the hotel and an expanded continental breakfast served on the mezzanine.

There is a restaurant attached but we opted to check out Ashland's other offerings. We had wine and nibbles at a place along the river called Enothèque (roughly "wine library"), then moved on to Amuse (with the French pronunciation "ah-MOOZ") for dinner. Both were easy strolls from the hotel.

Upon retiring for the evening, we found the room to be pleasantly quiet, perhaps owing more to the advanced age of our fellow guests than the soundproofing, but whatever the reason, we got a very good night's sleep and arose refreshed and ready to continue our travels.

Even if historic hotels aren't your specific taste, I highly recommend visiting the lobby of the Ashland Springs and taking a look around. I'm sure you'll find the side trip well worthwhile!

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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