Rustic heaven at the Chateau at the Oregon Caves
If you know me (Rob, Hi!) you know that I use the word “magical” in 50% of my sentences… and so does Oliver… because he’s my mini-me. Blame it on working for Disney or just watching a bit too much Harry Potter, but I love the word. I’m going to use it again: The Oregon Caves Chateau was a magical place to stay.
Seriously, last month on our epic #2TDgoparks2016 road trip we went from lodges the Sierras to hotels on the beach, and then ended with being welcomed into the most magical log cabin chateau in the woods. We loved all of the places we visited, but none were as magical and enchanting as the Oregon Caves Chateau. From the setting in the mossy woods of Southern Oregon to the six stories of log cabin charm, it’s a sight to behold on its own. Oh, and Oregon Caves National Monument is pretty awesome too. So, how do you get there, why would you visit, and what should you expect? Let us answer all of these burning questions.
What you'll find...
Locale of the Oregon Caves Chateau
There are two ways to approach the Oregon Caves Chateau: from the coast or from the I-5 corridor. We came from the coast after spending a few days in Gold Beach, Oregon at the Pacific Reef Hotel. An hour and a half drive to Cave Junction and we headed up into the hills.
If you’re heading to the Oregon Caves from Interstate 5, you drive west from the freeway at Grants Pass, then it’s about 40 minutes to Cave Juntion.
From Cave Junction you start heading up and up and winding around jackknife turns, going super slowly until you finally make it past the Cave Creek campground… and then keep on winding up through the hills until you’re at the parking area for hiking and overflow parking for the Oregon Caves… and then you go a bit further past the Visitors Center and trail head for the Caves and you’re there at the Oregon Caves Chateau.
Tip: don’t rush on this road because it’s a crazy road and a tad bit dangerous.
Amazing coolness of the Chateau
Built in the 1930s, the Oregon Caves Chateau was a popular spot for people to escape to the hills… and drink and party and listen to jazz in a cave. Oh, and there was the beautiful log cabin chateau for them to stay at too. It was funny hearing the stories from before the Chateau was built, and even after, and hearing that people would get crazy up in the hills.
The Oregon Caves Chateau opened to the public in 1934 and has seen many amazing years. Surviving the end of the Great Depression and getting through the booms and falls Oregon had in the 20th century, the Oregon Caves Chateau doesn’t show the ware and tear of the years. It’s been very well maintained and I’m sure is just as nice as it was upon opening.
Tip: if you’re traveling with kids, show them the payphone… because kids don’t know what those are or remember having to stand by one waiting for their parents to call to tell them when they would pick them up at the mall or something.
The Oregon Caves Chateau is really unique in so many ways. For a quick tour or list of what makes this historic hotel so cool, here you go:
Log cabin architecture
Six stories of awesome… and no elevators
Beautiful rustic lobby with stone fireplace and log couches
Views from every room, either of the woods, the ravine or the waterfall courtyard
Unique dining options within the hotel (more below)
Adjacent to the Oregon Caves National Monument Visitors Center
Part of what makes the Oregon Caves Chateau so magical is creek that runs into the courtyard and then below the Chateau to the ravine. As it runs into the courtyard, it’s a magical leprechaun filled mossy courtyard full of mountain goodness and rustic beauty. Sorry, it’s all too captivating.
Accommodations at the Oregon Caves Chateau
If you’ve been following our road trip through California and Oregon, you know that we’ve stayed in some beautifully appointed rooms, we’ve had spacious suites, and we’ve lounged around watching the sunset from our balcony. If we had to choose which of the National Park lodges we would return to for a magical getaway, we would pick the Oregon Caves Chateau.
True, we didn’t have as much space or half of the amenities that we had at the Wuksachi or Tenaya Lodges, or the blissful privacy and comforts or the Evergreen Lodge, but the Oregon Caves Chateau was so freakin’ charming none of those things mattered while we were there.
Our room was adorable, with hand-painted wooden furniture and quilts from the ‘30s and ‘40s and paned windows that opened out to the leaf-filled ravine below. The master bedroom, which was quite small (think “old world charm”), had a full sized bathroom and a small closet.
Our adjoining room, which was for the kids, had a twin bed, room for a crib, and then what could only be called a water-closet. That’s right, the tiniest bathroom ever with slanted walls and a step up into it. Truly, our suite was more charming and rustically wonderful than we could’ve hoped.
We did see other rooms while we were at the Oregon Caves Chateau and some were a bit larger than ours, but didn’t have the adjoining room, which we really appreciated.
Tip: here or in any other hotel, always ask about adjoining rooms or suites and ask for a cost comparison. When it comes to family travel, sometimes it’s cheaper to book a suite than two adjoining rooms.
The amenities of the Oregon Caves Chateau are limited to its game rooms, fireplace-filled lobby and vintage dining options. Oh, and its convenient location of being directly on top of Cave Creek which flows directly out of the Oregon Caves should also be considered an amenity. There are no televisions on property and there’s no wifi. Yeah, no wifi. Did we mention no wifi? Yeah, you’re at the Oregon Cave Chateau to have a one-of-a-kind experience away from society. Truly: magical.
Dining at the Chateau
There are two dining options at the Oregon Caves Chateau. Both were great and totally vintage. We enjoyed dinner and breakfast at the Chateau and each was wonderful and totally unique. Again, completely magical
The Chateau Dining Room
Set with a beautiful view looking through a ravine, the dining room of the Oregon Caves Chateau is really relaxing. Remember how we said that the stream from the Oregon Caves turns into a nice little waterfall and then continues on. Well, that stream flows under the Chateau… but was recreated within the Dining Room. There’s a mock stream that flows through and adds a great effect to the dining experience.
Note: true, it’s a bit cheezy with fake flowers along the edge of the stream, but the intent of it is pure and we love every other thing about the Oregon Caves Chateau, so we just don’t care. We loved the stream!
The food was quite good too. At home we’re all about fish and poultry, but when we travel we opt for other things, such as pork chops or bison. Chris got the flank steak for dinner, which was fine but not thrilling, and I got the bison meat loaf. Score! I’ve also had bison meat loaf at the Paradise Inn in Mt Rainier National Park and this one was better. Was it because of the magical atmosphere or the actual meal? We’ll never know…
We also loved our servers in the Dining room, as three different ladies attended to us through the course of our meal and they were are wonderful. We’d return just to be doted on by them.
Gay dad note: while we truly do want to be treated like everybody else in all aspects of life, we love how being a novelty gets the kids extra attention. They love when people love on them and being two dads, people love to share in our joy of having such awesome little kids.
This is where rustic meet vintage. OMG. We rolled down four or five flights of stairs to get to the Coffee Shop for breakfast and it was a good thing we did. We went down our final flight of stairs to walk into a coffee shop that was straight out of a 1940s movie scene. Honey colored hardwoods, red leather seats around a W shaped breakfast counter. Chrome. So much chrome.
And there was coffee and whipped cream and pancakes and fruit and more coffee and vintage Coca Cola memorabilia, but that was actually vintage. The kids didn’t understand why we thought it was so cool, but both Chris and I fell in love with the Coffee Shop. Who’ve thunk?
Tip: when there are good on-property dining options, take advantage of them when you’re doing family travel, especially if you’re someplace rural. It’s better to have a good breakfast before you start your day’s drive than to hope you’ll find something good soon… and then two hours later…
Activities at the Oregon Caves
If you’re an avid nature lover you’ve probably ventured into a cave or two. That’s the main attraction for those staying at the Oregon Caves Chateau. And for our account of touring the Oregon Caves National Monument you must check back in a few days for our article on that!
Are you totally convinced that the Oregon Caves Chateau is magical? If not, just go visit and get back to us. We love our National Park lodges and we love beautiful hotels… and we love being in the woods and feeling all rustic and stuff, so for us spending the weekend at the Oregon Caves Chateau was the most magical and perfect way to end one of the greatest family travel road trips we’ve ever done.
Thank you, Chateau, for welcoming us in, creating an amazing weekend, and giving us a place to return to in the future. The Oregon Cave Chateau took our breathe away and made us appreciate the enchanted setting in the woods and the vintage hotel itself. Such a great family travel experience.
Rob Taylor is the founder of 2TravelDads, the original LGBT Family Travel blog. Focusing on ecotourism and education, 2TravelDads inspires LGBT families (and traditional families also) to go beyond their usual getaways and use travel to learn about and be part of a bigger world. “Traveling the globe and giving the kids a broad worldview.”