The historic Eldridge Hotel, 701 Massachusetts St., in Lawrence, Kansas (tel. 800/527-0909 or 785/749-5011; www.eldridgehotel.com), has a never-die attitude. It began life in 1855 as the Free State Hotel, its name a clear statement by its New England-born owners about their preference for Kansas's admittance to the Union as a nonslave state. It didn't take long for proslavery forces to express their own inclination -- by burning the building to the ground in 1856. That same year, Col. Shalor Eldridge vowed to rebuild -- again and again if he had to. This time, the building managed to last until 1863, when Quantrill's raiders did the hotel in, along with pretty much everything else in the city. Not one to be cowed, Colonel Eldridge did indeed rebuild, and his hotel stood until 1926, when the structure was torn down due to deterioration. It was rebuilt again and remained a hotel until 1970, when it was closed and converted into apartments. A massive renovation campaign begun in 1985 restored it to its former glory as a fitting symbol of a city whose motto is "From ashes to immortality."
A stay at this National Landmark will steep you in history. The all-suite hotel's lobby evokes it with its old-style lighting, dark woods, and rich fabrics. Each of the 48 suites offers separate sitting areas, old-style elegance, and refrigerators. The hotel's spa offers a full range of treatments, as well as in-room spas. Rates run $125 to $315 double, including breakfast. Stay here in early December to catch the hotel's famed Christmas Parade featuring nearly 100 old-fashioned horse-drawn buggies, wagons, and carriages.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.