Spokane was a boom town during the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. A steady stream of humanity added to the population, seeking work in the mines, timber and the railroads. Hotels and rooming houses sprang up to accommodate the new residents. Some of these turn of the century buildings exist today, welcoming guests to spend the night in rooms slept in by the rich and famous, or perhaps even the infamous. The historical hotels of Spokane offer the eclectic, the elegant and a chance to experience the past.
The Davenport Hotel and Tower
This is the place where that luscious salad known as the Crab Louis was invented, named for Louis Davenport, the man who opened Spokane’s most well known hotel. Since it opened its doors in 1914, the Davenport has amassed an impressive list of firsts including the use of air conditioning, a plumbing system to provide hot and cold water to every room and lighting using electricity. In 1922 Spokane’s first commercial radio station, KHQ, made its broadcast debut. Among the famous to spend the night at the Davenport are Charles Lindbergh, Clark Gable and Bob Hope. Stroll the hotel’s mezzanine and take a look at the photos and documents on display. After almost falling to the demolition ball in the mid 1980s, new owners purchased and refurbished the hotel. It reopened in 2002. Today you can spend the night in rooms and suites with all the niceties of the modern world complementing the sculptured high ceilings and period furnishings of decades past. Treat yourself to a massage at the on-site Spa Paradiso and then a decadent meal at the Palm Court Grill. For a taste of the wild side, try drinks and a meal at the African-themed Safari Room.
The Montvale Hotel
Originally built in 1899 as a rooming house to help with Spokane's burgeoning population, the Montvale Hotel housed people in one way or another up until the end of Expo 74. It sat vacant for decades, another building on the list for demolition. But in 1996, new owner Rob Brewster got the Montvale placed on the National Register of Historic Places. After a string of tenants the Montvale received a $3 million facelift and re-opened as a boutique hotel in 2005. All 36 guest rooms and suites offer 11 foot ceilings, period furnishings and over-sized bathrooms. Two of the rooms, called Queen Parlor/MQ suites, offer a pull-down-from-the-wall Murphy bed in the living room section. Underneath the hotel, in what was once the boiler room, sample some brick over pizza and some microbrews at the Catacombs Pub. The Far West Billiards, a combination pool hall, lounge and restaurant, is on the main level. The Montvale is in the heart of Spokane’s art and entertainment district.
The Roberts Mansion, built in 1889, was the family home of E.J. Roberts, an engineer that was a major player in the building of America’s railroad system. After the last family member passed away in 1959 the property changed hands several times, serving as a rooming house and finally an apartment complex. Now, the Victorian Queen Anne home, fully restored, operates as an elegant bed and breakfast and as venue for weddings, Victorian high teas and private events. Four suites are offered in the main mansion. With the exception of the Rose Suite, named for the view of the Rose Garden and the Carriage House, each suite is named for and reflects the character of a Roberts family member. The most lavish is the Mary Tracy Suite, used by E.J. Roberts’ wife. Not only does it share the high ceilings and Victorian furnishings of the rest of the mansion, it offers the original master bath and a sitting room that once served as the nursery. A ground floor Secret Garden Suite, with its own kitchen and view of the Rose Garden is in a separate building. The Roberts Mansion is seven blocks west of the downtown core.
The Odell House Lodging
Completed in 1899 and now on the National and Local Registers of Historic Homes, the Odell House was home to the philanthropic Odell family. After serving as the family home for twenty-five years, George and Ana Odell converted the property into an apartment residence to help with the housing need created by the end of World War II. Today the Queen Anne style mansion welcomes both long and short term guests to its six apartment style suites, the wrap around columned porch and the manicured grounds. All offer period furnishings and window treatments, high ceilings and kitchenettes. Choose Apartment A and sleep under a crystal chandelier. Apartment B will have you padding across authentic Oriental carpets. Apartment F, the largest, is on the third floor. Pick this one and sleep under the gold domed ceiling that once covered the mansion’s ballroom. Called “The Ballroom” the apartment offers two balconies and a bathroom with a vintage claw foot tub and separate over-sized shower.