Sign Up for Our Daily Newsletter
Myra Plant traveled extensively in her previous profession, and over time she learned what sort of accommodations she liked best.
“I preferred the ten- to 30-room inns as opposed to huge hotels,” she said. “I saw a demand for boutique lodging catering to travelers like me, the kind of place where, even if you show up at midnight, they’re waiting for you with a smile and your key.”
These days that’s exactly the approach that Plant takes as owner of the Campbell House in Eugene, Ore. Set in a beautifully renovated 1892 Victorian mansion, the boutique city inn is run like a hotel but with all the charms of a bed and breakfast establishment.
Realizing Her DreamOnce she set a goal of opening her own inn, Plant often rode her bike around her home town of Eugene, looking for the setting of her dreams.
In 1986 she spotted a mysterious ivy-covered building that had been sitting vacant for 20 years. She learned that it was the former dwelling of Eugene businessman Ira Campbell and his family, and she decided to make it her own.
After numerous offers and negotiations over the next few years, she purchased the one-acre estate and, with the help of family and friends, set about restoring it.
Campbell House opened for business in 1993 with 12 guest rooms. It did so well that in 1996, Plant built the adjacent Carriage House, which features six additional rooms.
Today, as arriving guests walk up the path to the lobby, they pass sidewalk lamps with real candles, a wedding gazebo, and a patio with tables and chairs for outdoor relaxation in the warmer months.
Throughout its interiors, the inn exudes the character of an 1890s family home. The main dining room boasts comfortable furnishings and old wood floors complete with creaks. A big picture window is almost as big as the wall itself, and a fireplace adds warmth to the ambience.
In the next room awaits the library with a curved wall of windows, comfy armchairs and shelves with videos, books and games. At the bar, guests can enjoy a glass of complimentary wine each evening.
Elegant Accommodations, Free BreakfastGuest rooms are named after members of the original Campbell family as well as highlights of the area, like the Three Sisters wilderness area. There are also two rooms that pay tribute to golf, a popular sport in Eugene and environs.
The inn’s accommodations are impeccably furnished. Seven rooms feature jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces, and three rooms have old-fashioned claw-foot bathtubs. Each room comes with high-speed Internet access, a television and VCR, and an embroidered Do Not Disturb pillow for hanging on the doorknob.
Campbell House rates include a free breakfast buffet each morning with the likes of fresh pastries, toast, granola, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and hot dishes like quiche and breakfast potatoes. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are set out for guests later in the day.
Since Feb. 1, 2011, the inn has been offering dinners crafted by chef Walid Saleeby, better known as Chef Willie. From Tuesdays through Saturdays, guests can order a range of entrees with fresh local ingredients, like rack of Oregon lamb broiled with olive oil and lemon pepper.
Plant said that her guests are mostly business travelers on the week nights, with leisure travelers from the west coast comprising weekend bookings. The inn offers a 20 percent discount to frequent guests who book at least 12 nights per year.
A Prime LocationPerched on a bluff next to Skinner Butte Park and providing views of the city, Campbell House is ideally situated for Eugene visitors. It’s an easy walk to an array of restaurants and shops, a river with pedestrian and bike paths, and the University of Oregon campus. For clients who want to leave the car at home, the Amtrak station is just a few blocks away.
“Central Eugene is a great hub, near beaches, mountains, wineries and lots of activities,” said Plant. “It’s a perfect destination for active baby boomers.”
To help guests explore the region, Campbell House can set up special outings for its guests. For instance, it can arrange a limo tour to area wineries, a horseback riding excursion, a fishing or whitewater rafting trip or a day of golf.
With the Campbell House, it appears that Plant’s dream has not only come true but is alive and thriving.
“I’m surrounded by people from all over the map who share my passion for historic buildings, warm traditions and local food,” she said. “This is the most rewarding profession I have ever been in.”
Campbell House, A City Inn252 Pearl St.Eugene, Oregon 97401800-264-2519www.campbellhouse.com
Rates: From $129-$349 per night. Check the Web site for packages and last-minute specials.Commission: 10 percent