Main Street Kansas: The Elgin Hotel ‘wows’ guests with state-of-the-art surprises

Main Street Kansas

A Kansas hotel that was built in 1886 escaped demolition by just days and is now “wow”-ing a whole new generation of visitors.

Don’t be fooled by the sign outside or the warbling Victrola inside, the Elgin Hotel is not just an old hotel.

“Really, if you haven’t stayed here, you must stay here,” said Kathy Branstetter of Nevada, Missouri. “It’s ridiculously wonderful!”

It’s true that behind every door, guests will find antique furniture, but they’ll also discover state-of-the-art surprises.    

“It was everything I imagined and a little bit more,” said WSU student, Teri Loughmiller, who had driven by the Elgin Hotel for years before coming inside.

When she spotted a remote control and lights on the jacuzzi tub in her room, she had to investigate.

“So yea, it’s bluetooth,” Loughmiller said with a smile. “I connected my phone and started playing the Beauty and Beast soundtrack, and it has this beautiful singing voice, and the tub is singing to you!”

Amenities you might not expect in a small town hotel attract families, couples, hunters straight from the field, and on this day, senior newlyweds!

Arlo and Hazel Janzen of Hesston spent their honeymoon at the Elgin.

“This was a wedding present,” said Hazel.

The historic hotel is for anyone who enjoys creature comforts– like the plush robe and slippers that are Arlo’s favorites– but also, conveniences like a fitness area, game room and WiFi. 

“Modernly nostalgic! How’s that?” joked Branstetter, after searching for the right way to sum up the hotel’s appeal.

It’s the vision of hotel owner, Tammy Ensey, who took over the Elgin in 2016.

“Because people who appreciate history don’t necessarily want to live like they did in the 1800’s, if you know what I mean,” laughed Ensey.

The Elgin first opened in 1886 to serve Marion’s two railroad lines, but over the years, it changed hands several times, deteriorated, and even closed for awhile.   

“It had been vacant about 10 years, and it was really dilapidated,” said Ensey. “A lot of creatures had taken up home here.”

Just a week before the hotel was set to be demolished and the limestone sold off, financing for the deal fell through.  

Divine intervention perhaps, because the Elgin is now back to its original glory, maybe even better!

Instead of 42 small guest rooms, there are 12 suites, each with its own theme.

Every night’s stay comes with a gourmet, three-course breakfast. Guests sit around a large table and eat family-style. 

“You get here, you just feel at home,” said Hazel. “Arlo has already booked it for our anniversary, too.”

It’s old fashioned pampering, but in a whole new way.

“A real treat to come away from the city and relax and recoup,” nods Loughmiller.

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