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We’d like to thank the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce and the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa for our two-night complimentary stay and ghost tour. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.
If you’re in the mood for history and ghost stories set in the beautiful scenery of the Ozarks, then Eureka Springs is the place for you. And no other hotel in Eureka Springs fits the bill better than the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, more commonly known as The Crescent Hotel. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts or hauntings, the Crescent Hotel is a gorgeous historic hotel that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you set foot in the lobby.
The History of the Crescent Hotel
I am not a scholar of the history of Eureka Springs, but I can give you a little bit of background. The springs in the area first drew native people, primarily the Osage, because of the healing benefits of the springs. Eventually, a doctor of European descent discovered that the water could help his son’s eye condition. After this discovery, Dr. Alvah Jackson continued to use the water in the area for healing, even during and after the Civil War. As more people heard about the healing effects of the springs, the area became popular. In 1879, the town was named Eureka Springs.
To attract the wealthy, General Powell Clayton, together with city officials, built the Crescent Hotel. The hotel was completed in 1886, and it did indeed become a resort for the upper class. In 1934, Crescent College for Women opened during the slower winter months.
In 1937, Norman Baker bought the hotel and turned it into his Baker Cancer Clinic. The problem was, he wasn’t a doctor and he didn’t have a legitimate treatment, let alone cure, for cancer. Many of the ghost stories surrounding the hotel are from this period in the hotel’s history. Eventually, Baker was arrested and convicted of fraud in 1940.
The hotel changed owners a few times over the years, and restorations were completed here and there, including restoration after a fire on the fourth floor. In 1997, the current owner and her late husband, Elise and Marty Roenigk, purchased the hotel and another property downtown, The Basin Park Hotel. They continued to make improvements to the properties to preserve their histories and provide amenities to their guests.
The sources for this section include a page on the Crescent Hotel’s website, the Crescent Hotel’s ghost tour, and the Eureka Springs Underground tour.
The Lobby of the Crescent Hotel
As soon as you walk in the front door, you feel like you’re in another time. We were greeted by the front desk when we arrived on a summer morning in July. We knew our room probably wouldn’t be ready so early, but we wanted to get our visit started. Everything about the lobby reminds you of yesteryear.
After we checked in, we explored the lobby. Even if you aren’t staying here, you should come to the Crescent Hotel and look around. The hotel is stunning.
There’s even an ode to the hotel cat, Morris, who used to wander the lobby and grounds of the Crescent Hotel. Morris is no longer with us, but you can visit his grave on the premisies. Another cat now makes the Crescent his home–more on that later.
The Grounds of the Crescent Hotel
The grounds surrounding the hotel are lovely and peaceful.
If you visit the hotel, be sure you make time to explore the outside of the hotel, as well.
The current Crescent Hotel cat, Jasper, wanders the back porch and the lobby. Isn’t this the perfect pose for a cat at a haunted hotel?
Here is the back side of the hotel.
There is a pool on property. We enjoyed that during our July stay.
The spa has a jacuzzi you can use after 5:00 p.m. Until then, it’s for patrons of the spa.
The jacuzzi is next to the New Moon Spa entrance. You can also access the spa from the lobby.
On Friday nights, you can hear stories around the fire pit.
When we were there, they also had a movie night in the Crystal Dining Room. They continue to improve the grounds and add activities for guests!
In front of the building, you can take a trail into the woods.
You can also enjoy the beautiful landscaping all around the hotel.
The grounds are lovely, and the Crescent Hotel often hosts weddings and other parties.
It’s a fun place to explore.
Our Room at the Crescent Hotel
Later that afternoon, our room was ready. We were on the third floor. You can take this cool stairway, but with our luggage, we opted for the elevator.
Check out the keys to our room!
Our room was at the end of the hall, right next to the elevator.
Here is a video of our room. We had a standard double.
I loved the little closet.
And the bathroom is adorable!
One thing you do need to keep in mind–this building is over a 100 years old. There will be some wear and tear to the room and the hotel itself, but to me, that adds to the charm of the place. If you want to stay in brand new accomodations and everything that implies, this is not the place for you. If you love historic buildings, you will be in heaven!
Dining at the Crescent Hotel
While we didn’t eat a lot in our hotel, we did have breakfast the first morning in the Crystal Dining Room. You can find this room on the lobby level; this restaurant serves breakfast and dinner.
They do offer a buffet for breakfast, and Jeff chose to do that. They also had an omelet station with the breakfast buffet.
Kristin and I ordered off the menu. She had some scrambled eggs and pancakes ala carte, and I ordered pancakes with white chocolate chips inside. Yum!
This is a beautiful room for breakfast, and I know it’d be beautiful for special occasions, too.
The second restaurant is on the fourth floor–Sky Bar Pizza.
We didn’t eat here, but it looked yummy when we were checking out the observation area on the fourth floor. The dining area is on a balcony with a great view of the Ozark hills.
Or great views of the grounds below.
The fourth floor also houses a museum with displays of the women’s college years along with some items belonging to Norman Baker. This is also where the ghost tour begins. Click here to read more about the ghost tour!
Wrapping Up Our Stay
We had a great time at the Crescent Hotel. I loved staying in such a historic place, and the history of the area is so interesting. Kristin loved the pool and the cat. The hotel has a free shuttle downtown for guests, and we used that anytime we wanted to do things there. It was so convenient, and everyone we encountered at the hotel was so kind. Give this hotel a try when you’re in the Ozarks. Be sure to book early for Halloween time!
Click below to read about some of the ghost tours we’ve done: