Occidental Hotel: 21st century comfort amidst 19th century antiques
After driving just over six hours from Denver into the northern reaches of Wyoming, I needed to crash for the night. Taking the Buffalo (population 4,585) exit off the interstate, I cruised towards downtown passing a Holiday Inn Express, a Super 8, and a Day’s Inn. Did I really have to spend the night in a modern matchbox of a room?
No, in fact, I didn’t. I used one of my lifelines and called a friend, asking her to do a quick Google search. Bingo! She said, “Go to the Occidental!” almost in the same tone Horace Greeley had uttered, Go West, young man.” In the front window, a sign read: “Wireless in 1880 and still wireless. Internet in all rooms!” I opened the front door and walked directly into the 19th century – a Tiffany chandelier, an embalmed moose head, and a roaring fireplace in the lobby of this 130-year-plus historic hotel.
According to the owner, the Occidental’s been witness to a parade of Western icons: Butch Cassidy, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill, Owen Wistler, and Teddy Roosevelt. I kind of liked the idea I’d be sleeping under the same roof, as had this gang of five. Fully restored in 2007, the names of the rooms themselves conjure up another era: The Bordello, Cowboy Bunkhouse, and Madam’s Retreat, to name a few. I happily wound up in the Cottonwood Suite, boasting a four-poster king bed, an ensuite bathroom, and dressing room. Twenty-first century comfort amidst 19th century antiques.
If you’re in the area, this is the place to spend the night.