Upon entering the historic downtown of Natchez, Mississippi, visions of “Gone with the Wind” tantalized me. We drove past historic homes and mansions, some of the most beautiful pre-Civil War architecture in the South. We arrived at the historic Natchez Eola Hotel, where the as the romance and ambiance of the Mississippi Old South greeted me with arched doorways, stately columns, and ornately Victorian decor. Built in 1927, this Natchez hotel is listed on National Register of Historic Places.
The largest building in historic downtown, Natchez Eola Hotel is located just off Main Street and 3 blocks from the Mississippi River. The front entrance is marked by a simple canopy. Enter the front and on the left is a New Orleans-style courtyard with an original fire-and-water fountain.
Down the hall to the right is the ornate marble-floored, grand lobby with the arched doorways, columns and eclection collection of antiques, oil paintings, statues and fountains. The public spaces also have cozy corners.
Check-in was a bit delayed, due to a miscommunication about our reservations, but the staff gave us our first sincere Southern welcome! Parking is complimentary, behind the building and on the street.
Take the creaky, historic elevator, and step out into the windy hallway to find our corner room, one of 131 guestrooms. The furnishings are reproductions of the dark 19th century style draperies and furnishings. The sleeping area was quite shadowy and gloomy, but the bathroom was modern with the single sink, again reproducing the 19th century style. We opened the drapes to let the light in, but with the rain falling, the gloom didn’t fade enough. All-in-all, the guestroom could use a refresher, and still maintain its historic quality. Some rooms offer a balcony with a view of the Mississippi or the courtyard, which may make it less dreary. A small desk with two chairs sat in the corner, and Free Internet was available although I had trouble connecting in my room.
Breakfast or lunch is available at Julep’s restaurant, and dinner in Café LaSalle. We enjoyed a traditional breakfast buffet at Julep’s, and that’s where I was able to connect to the Wifi. We had a cozy corner table overlooking the courtyard and the fascinating flaming fountain.
We arrived late evening, and discovered the convenience of a short walk to a nearby restaurant, Pig Out Barbecue. When we returned, we had a nightcap at Peacock’s Bar, where several people recommended we say hi to bartender Julie. Apparently I’ve lived too long in a non-smoking state, and found it a bit disconcerting that guests were able to smoke.
Mississippi’s Natchez Eola Hotel re-opened in the early 1980s, as part of the major rehabilitation of downtown Natchez. Today, the Eola continues to salute its 1927 beginning, playing on its superb location in downtown. The guestrooms are simple, but the main floor is quite elaborate with its arched doorways, columns, statues, fountains, paintings and antiques (some reproductions). Perhaps what surprised me the most was the eclectic mix of international guests. We chatted with a busload of tourists, many of them from England. I regretted only having the opportunity to stay for one night to explore the town of Natchez before continuing my tour of Mississippi to Jackson.