Arrival/Check-in: When I arrived, I was met by the owner, Pat Azinger, who happily, personally showed me around his historic boutique hotel. The inn was established in 1891, and the original certification was framed and hung on the wall as proof. (20/20)
Guest Quarters: Every aspect of my Serengeti Suite was authentically African. Azinger personally brought the room furnishings back with him from visits to Kenya, South Africa and other African nations. Handmade furniture, hand-carved masks and animal statues were strategically placed throughout the very spacious “wild game” living room. There was even a first edition of Out of Africa held between elephant bookends. There was generous cozy seating in the living area and a fully equipped kitchen with zebra-themed details — down to the cabinet knobs, placemats and dishes. Even the large bathroom had animal shower curtain rings, tastefully displayed African artwork and a terrarium wall. My favorite part, though, was the bedroom, where the comfortable antique four-poster bed was draped with netting and an African chest stood at the foot. The bedroom opened onto a welcoming terrace with a hammock beside a swimming pool fed by the 87-degree natural hot springs for which this South Dakota town is famous. The other two suites in the hotel had themes as well — Rustic Ranch and Wilderness Retreat, both decorated with the same attention to detail as the Serengeti Suite and both offering fully modern amenities, while throughout the entire hotel were original crown moldings and other architectural features of bygone days. (15/15)
Services/Amenities: This hotel is primarily for vacationers who use it as a base from which to enjoy the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. As such, it is designed to allow guests to be self-sufficient (once you stock up on food at the local market). Yet it’s also within walking distance of good restaurants, bars, nature trails and parks, a workout facility and the hot springs for which the town is named. It is perfect for the traveler who likes quiet accommodations and does not expect room service. The inn also has four cabins for rent on a nearby ranch. (38/45)
The Experience: Of the many hotel rooms I have stayed in throughout the year s, I have never experienced such an authentic inspiring African theme — even while in Africa. The unique furnishings and gracious hospitality of the owner made this a truly memorable stay. (20/20)
Total Score: 93/100
1729 Minnekahta Ave.
Hot Springs, S.D.
tel 605 745 3361
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