Eldorado Suites Hotel, Bisbee: A Review.by Jim Gressinger on Jul. 15, 2012, under Day/Weekend Adventures, Southern Arizona Lodging, Things To Do In Bisbee
I went to Bisbee this time of year to make photographs with interesting skies created by our dramatic summer monsoon clouds. I also needed to gather additional material for dining & lodging reviews so you would have more recommendations for things to see & do, plus where to find the best dining and lodging.
General Bisbee Info
For those of you who don’t know, Bisbee is an old copper-mining town about 2 hours southeast of Tucson and a half hour past Tombstone. At one time, it was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco.
The place reeks of early 20th century history, but is now as much an antique destination and art community as anything. To get a sense of Bisbee’s glorious past, I generally recommend first-time visitors do three things to get oriented.
- Walk about town whenever possible. Driving will keep you from experiencing many half-hidden and worthwhile places. Moreover, driving will prevent you from meeting a lot of interesting people.
- Take a leisurely drive or stroll up and down the hilly streets above the city and you will see a lot of interesting and historic homes, churches, and other buildings.
- Visit the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, the big red brick building on the main drag. They have excellent exhibits and do a fine job of telling Bisbee’s story.
The Museum’s Executive Director, Carrie Gustavson, gave an excellent on-camera interview for our SouthernArizonaGuide.com. The video will help you understand the early life of Bisbee and why it eclipsed Tombstone as the most important southwestern outpost. Click here to view her video.
In addition to Bisbee’s fine art galleries, antique shops & general Old West history, a lot of folks go there just to people-watch. One might describe Bisbee’s hippy & biker inhabitants as “colorful”. The old saloons, such as St. Elmo’s along Brewery Gulch, are good places to make acquaintance with the indigenous population.
I have generally found Bisbee-ites of all stripes to be friendly and helpful. More than anything, Bisbee is a pleasant state of mind: laid-back with a definite sense of community. (Actually several communities with in a community.)
Eldorado Suites Hotel
Before I went, I checked out the usual customer-review websites, such as TripAdvisor, and settled on the 3-story Eldorado Suites Hotel overlooking Brewery Gulch. I was not disappointed. This is a very fine historic hotel. It features a private courtyard with patio seating & BBQ in back and panoramic views of the city from its long balconies in front.
Unlike so many old hotels in Southern Arizona that were built mostly of wood more than a hundred years ago, the Eldorado was constructed of concrete in 1914. Eight-inch thick cement walls make this structure not only sturdy for the ages, but remarkably quiet.
All rooms are not just “a room”, but rather whole suites, each with a modern kitchen, comfortable sitting room with sofa and (can you believe it?) a recliner, and a sizable bedroom with ceiling fan and walk-in closet. And the most comfortable beds in the known universe.
If you are traveling with family or friends, you can reserve a second bedroom or adjacent suite. This place has everything … everything, except coasters for drinks. What’s with that?
The Eldorado is not a B&B. No food served here. Not that this is a problem even if you didn’t bring your own groceries. It’s easy walking distance to Santiago’s and many other worthwhile restaurants in the historic district. Additionally, many of Bisbee’s 19th century saloons serve decent pub grub. On this trip, I had an excellent chicken club sandwich at St. Elmo’s bar just down the street from my hotel, but had to order it next door. (Don’t ask. Just do it!)
In the evening, I enjoyed sitting on my veranda overlooking the old city watching the intermittent black monsoon clouds drop torrents of rain and spew bolts of lightening. Quite the show… and FREE!
Is the Eldorado Suites the best place to stay in Bisbee. Perhaps. Probably. You don’t get the creaky old floors, tiny rooms, and antiquated facilities of some of the old hotels on Main Street. But you do get authentic history, spacious comfort, interesting views, and modern facilities. No, the Eldorado is not the least expensive. The best of anything seldom is. However, to me it was well worth the $140 price tag ($125+Tax).
Included: Wi-Fi, cable TV, hair dryer, on-site washer & dryer, fully-equipped kitchen, excellent linens & towels, a bear claw bathtub and the best shower this side of an Irish castle.
The Eldorado is not particularly handicap-friendly, but none of these old hotels are. Too many stairs. But for the Eldorado’s ground-floor suites, you only have to negotiate a couple of steps.
Not included: ghosts.
I didn’t see any ghosts at the Eldorado. Nor was I promised any. Lots of places in Bisbee are “said” to be haunted. The historic old Grand Hotel on Main Street, for example. The bartender there described to me several unexplained “events” she had personally experienced. Spooky.
A few years ago, Ms. Karen, friend Kent, and I stayed up until 2 AM playing poker on the 3rd floor inner-balcony of the Copper Queen Hotel awaiting the arrival of their ghosts. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
If you want to scare yourself, the Eldorado isn’t the place to stay. On the other hand, unlike other places down here, they don’t charge extra for the “possibility”. If you’re serious about finding the ghosts of Bisbee, I suggest you arrange a ghost hunt from a real, certified “paranormal investigator” such as Renee at Old Bisbee Ghost Tours. I have not taken her Bisbee tour, but I did go on her Downtown Tucson Ghost Tour. What fun!
If you go, say “Hi from Jim” to the ladies of Eldorado: Kathy, Lisa, and owner, Justine. They made my stay most enjoyable.
Eldorado Suites Hotel: Highly Recommended.
For more recommendations for where to stay & dine in and near Bisbee, go to: Southern Arizona Guide > Dining & Lodging Reviews.