By Ron Beasley….
If you are planning a Colorado ski vacation this winter, then consider visiting the old mining town of Ouray and booking a stay in the historic Beaumont Hotel. It’s a gem of an inn that will sweep you back to the 1880s and the sizzling gold rush in the United States at the time.
Built in 1886 and opened in 1887, the Beaumont was a lure for mining investors from eastern cities. It was the town’s social and business center, and became known as the Flagship of the San Juans. In its heyday, it hosted such famous people as Sarah Bernhard and Belgium’s King Leopold. Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover once stayed in the Presidential Suite.
In the early 1980s, the Beaumont was closed and boarded up for more than 35 years, and fell into such a state of disrepair that it was on the verge of demolition. But in 1998, it went on the auction block at about the same time that Texas physician and scientist Dan King was visiting the town. King became infatuated with the hotel, bought it and decided to restore it to its original grandeur, pumping about $7 million into the project. The Beaumont re-opened in 2002.
“He just fell in love with the building and it became a labor of love,” said hotel general manager Tracey Roxby. “He bought it as an investment and was going to turn around and sell it, but eight years later he’s still the owner. He never really had the intention of selling it.”
The Beaumont originally had 30 rooms, but in the renovation the rooms were enlarged and modernized. There are now 12 elegant suites and plans call for opening two more in the coming months, all with spectacular mountain views. All suites are uniquely decorated with period furnishings and many have original restored hotel furniture.
Each room is comfortably designed for two with a queen-size bed, a large bathroom, a television with DVD player, telephone, wireless Internet connection and individual controls for heat and air conditioning. There are two 600-square-foot suites. One has a cathedral ceiling and a separate loft area with a bar, sitting area and full surround sound system. The other has a gathering area and bar, with windows that overlook the atrium and lobby.
The Healing Touch Spa is located within the Beaumont Hotel, where you can relax and enjoy a rejuvenating experience, including massage techniques that range from Swedish and Deep Tissue to Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy and River Stone.
Since its re-opening, the Beaumont has won numerous prestigious awards, including the Preserve America Presidential Award, the National Preservation Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Colorado Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. It also is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Special events take place in Ouray throughout the year and Roxby said the Beaumont regularly offers special rates to coincide with them.
“For example, we’re running a special in November called the 1886 Days,” she said. “If you stay with us for two nights minimum, your room rate will be $86 a night. We usually close in November and April, so this will be something new for us. We’re trying to make it into a 365-day year-round establishment, and I’ve just booked my first wedding in April.”
Another popular event in Ouray is the annual Ice Festival in January.
“It’s during the second weekend in January,” Roxby said. “It’s a really fun event. We have a world-renowned ice park and we get people from all over the world who come to climb and compete in an ice-climbing event, and there are constant parties going on.”
The Beaumont Hotel is a non-smoking establishment and children under the age of 16 are not allowed as guests.
For more information or reservations, call 888-447-3255 or go to www.beaumonthotel.com.