El Rancho Hotel
Gallup, N.M.; est. 1937
Hollywood elite stayed at this Route 66 hotel during the heyday of Western cinema. The roster of famous folk who’ve stayed at the El Rancho includes Burt Lancaster, Doris Day, Jimmy Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Tom Mix, John Wayne, and over 150 more. Oh, if these walls could talk…
Gold Hill Hotel
Gold Hill, Nev.; est. 1861
Used as a boarding house, private residence, and brothel during its long and storied history, the Gold Hill Hotel is the oldest hotel in the state of Nevada. Just a mile from Virginia City and the historic Comstock Lode, the hotel was home to miners, outlaws, lawmen, and painted ladies during Nevada’s Silver Rush.
Grand Union Hotel
Fort Benton, Mont.; est. 1882
Built seven years before Montana even became a state, the Grand Union ran continuously for over 100 years and is Montana’s oldest operating hotel. Located on the scenic Upper Missouri River, the hotel of is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hotel Alex Johnson
Rapid City, S.D.; est. 1928
Alex Johnson, Vice President of the Chicago and North Western Railroad and the hotel’s founder, wanted his hotel to pay homage to the American Indians of the South Dakota’s Black Hills and to be “The Showplace of the West.” Indeed, Johnson’s fascination with the Lakota Sioux, his involvement with the railroad, and love of Western history are clearly reflected in the hotel’s architecture, room décor, and the artwork and artifacts on display in the lobby.
Coulterville, Calif.; est. 1850
Just 28 miles outside Yosemite National Park, Hotel Jeffery is located in Northern California’s beautiful gold country. Mark Twain and John Muir are among the hotel’s noted guests, but even more famous are its supernatural residents—Hotel Jeffery is reported to be home to more than 17 ghosts. More than a couple ghosts are said to frequent the hotel’s Magnolia Saloon, the oldest working saloon in California.
Cody, Wyo.; est. 1902
Wild West showman William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody founded The Irma as a place for travelers to rest on their way to Yellowstone National Park. June through September, Monday through Saturday, make sure to catch the “shootout” by the skilled Cody Gunfighters on the Irma’s front porch.
San Antonio, Texas; est. 1859
After over 150 years of hospitality, the opulent Menger Hotel stands as the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi. The Menger Bar, voted as one of the Top 10 Historic Bars in the United States, has seen more cattle deals consummated than anywhere else in Texas and was also where Teddy Roosevelt recruited his Rough Riders Cavalry Brigade.
Buffalo, Wyo.; est. 1880
Stepping into the Occidental’s lobby is like stepping back in time—it’s filled with museum-worthy photographs, artifacts, and furnishings from the late 1800s. Ask to stay in a suite where Butch Cassidy, Calamity Jane, or President Theodore Roosevelt bedded down, and make sure to visit the saloon (see if you can find all 23 bullet holes in the ceiling, from the bar’s Wild West days).
St. James Hotel
Cimarron, N.M.; est. 1872
Situated on the Santa Fe Trail, the St. James Hotel has attracted plenty of Wild West characters such as the Earp brothers, Buffalo Bill, Zane Grey, and Jesse James. At least seven ghosts are said to haunt the hotel’s historic halls.
Durango, Colo.; est. 1887
Are you a Louis L’Amour fan? The Western author was a frequent guest of the Strater Hotel, and always asked for the same room: Room 222. Located directly above the Diamond Belle Saloon—revered as one of the original ragtime piano bars in the West—the room was often filled with music, which L’Amour claimed helped set the mood for his novels.