When we pulled into the parking lot at the AmericInn in Chamerlain, South Dakota after hours of driving from Bolingbrook, Illinois– I mean hours–my 12-year-old son bounded out of the car for a quick look around.
“Mom,” he said, as I was still gathering up belongings to head inside. “I’m not sure if you’ll like it, but I love it. There are animal heads.”
Mounted animal heads are one way to gauge that one has indeed hit the American West. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This stretch of landscape, where the Missouri River winds through, is where Lewis and Clark explored and the Lakota Sioux still have a hold. A hotel that looks like it belongs where it’s located is a bonus whenever it takes miles to get there.
The AmericInn’s decor may be firmly in the West, but this is the version where rustic is blended with tastefulness and comfort. The lobby, with its ample couches, tables and chairs, is arranged for visiting. The stone fireplace looked like it would be a perfect spot to cozy up near in the winter. The second floor that overlooks the first has other seating areas as well.
The light wood features of the hotel’s design and the twig furniture also created a visual appeal. Along with the hotel’s aesthetic qualities, the staff’s hospitality was consistently warm and welcoming–always unhurried and with a smile.
After checking in, my son and I headed to the indoor pool where a raccoon held the backboard of the basketball hoop. Every once in awhile, a bucket hanging from the ceiling tipped a cascade of water onto whoever was swimming– or shooting baskets. The pool area includes a lovely sauna and a hot tub.
Our two queen room afforded us a great night’s sleep. Each room is equipped with a coffee maker and WiFi is free. A hearty homestyle American breakfast is also included in the room rate. I particularly enjoyed the hot beverage offerings. Fresh brewed coffee and a sampling of Twinings tea is available anytime. Coffee can be jazzed up with Torani flavored syrup, also on hand.
If you do go, don’t miss the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. The museum’s displays provide a wonderful lesson on Lakota Sioux history and heritage. There’s also a contemporary art exhibit and a well stocked gift shop. We headed here before we drove on to Montana. Last year’s South Dakota stop was DeSmet, home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie.
AmericInn Lodge & Suites Chamberlain
1981 East King Street
Chamberlain, SD 57325-0654
For reservations:  634-3444 or book from the hotel’s website. Room rates start at $69.99 or you can search rates at HotelsCombined.
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein