Connecting With History at the Davenport Hotel

It has always been a goal of mine to stay at the Davenport Hotel. For those not familiar, the Davenport is Spokane’s most famous and oldest hotel. Built in 1914, it was the place to stay in the city for several decades. If celebrities, sports stars, or sitting U.S. Presidents came to Spokane, there was only one place they would stay.

But as the years passed, the Davenport showed its age and fell into disrepair. In 1985, the hotel shut its doors. If not for asbestos in the guest rooms, the place would have been imploded. In 2000, an entrepreneurial married couple bought the property and renovated the guest rooms and brought the lobby and ballrooms back to their original glory.

For my birthday this year, I wanted to do something memorable. With us now living in Spokane and my parents chomping at the bit to host Sloan and Beau for another sleepover, I asked Sid if she wanted to stay at the Davenport. Wanting to help me cross off an item on my Spokane bucket list, or perhaps just wanting to spend the night in a luxurious hotel, she said yes.

Sidney at the Davenport Hotel on Saturday night.

On Saturday night, we checked into room 706. The check-in process was pleasant with the staff bending over backward to make us feel welcome. With the plan to check out the Peacock Room (one of the hotel lounges) and then eat at a downtown restaurant, we almost scrapped those plans after Sid tested out the world-famous Davenport mattress in our hotel room. But as easy as it would have been to sleep the night away, we did decide to venture out.

Our view of the Spokane streets from our seventh floor Davenport Hotel room.

We enjoyed our evening and returned to the Davenport shortly before 10 p.m. Before heading to our room for a night of uninterrupted sleep, we decided to walk around the hotel’s mezzanine. We gazed out at the elegant lobby below us and then started strolling. The mezzanine at the Davenport is an homage to its history. Large, framed photos of elaborate parties and socials from a century ago line the halls. Memorabilia cases also provide a glimpse into the hotel’s heyday.

A look at the Davenport Hotel from the mezzanine.

The mezzanine also provided us access to a couple of ballrooms rich in history and architecture. The Marie Antoinette Ballroom and the Hall of the Doges made us feel some type of way when we walked inside them, especially the former. It smelled old—but not a musty smell. Rather, it was a distinguished old smell that seemed to really convey the colorful parties and the important banquets that took place in the space over the decades.

A photo I snapped of the Davenport Hotel’s Marie Antoinette Ballroom.

Multiple times we talked about the people in the group photos that lined the walls. Many of the images were taken from the mezzanine of a packed lobby. Individuals in their primes with nice clothes and distinguished looks were captured in these photographs. One image from the 1910s showed all children packed in the lobby and around the mezzanine. We couldn’t help but think that these cute children were all now gone from this earthly world. It was kind of a weird feeling.

The famous Hall of the Doges at the Davenport Hotel.

Riding the elevator up to our room, I reflected on the rich history of the hotel and thought of the thousands and thousands of guests who stayed in the property before us. I slept well knowing that we were now connected to them in a small way. Don’t Blink.

Leave a Reply