I will admit it, I am addicted to technology.
If I’m not nose down in my smart phone, I am staring at a computer screen reading the latest news, blogs or Facebook status update. Don’t even get me started about my addition to football on TV.
So as you might imagine, I went into my stay at the Historic Union Hotel with some trepidation.
You see the hotel’s owners want to make sure that people have the most relaxing time possible while in Union. That’s why the rooms don’t have phones, televisions or Internet connections of any kind. While there is cellular phone coverage, and power outlets in the room, once you get unpacked, you find yourself not wanting to check the pesky rectangular device – in fact I even left mine in the car overnight.
“We have talked about putting in WiFi or TVs, but we keep going back to the fact we want people to come here and relax,” said David Barcala, one of the owners of the 16-room hotel.
Even the sign for the hotel reminds you of a by-gone era, and stepping into the lobby takes you back to a time when things were more simple, and that’s just the way the owners want it.
The 16-rooms in the hotel each have themes, and whether you are looking for a historically accurate stay in “The Original Room,” with the bathroom down the hall, or have a wonderful ranch-like stay in “The Davis’ Brothers Room,” there is a theme for almost every personality.
Yes, there is even a golf-themed room, in case you are staying in Union to enjoy one of the golf courses in the area.
“We have found that repeat visitors will either really like one specific room, or they will want to stay in as many as they can to see the different decorations,” said Robb Saye, another of the owners of the hotel. “David does a wonderful job at decorating each room, he has a playfulness that I think people really like.”
Most of the rooms have large, claw foot tubs which are great for soaking, however one room comes with a double shower and another with a jacuzzi tub. Two of the rooms also have kitchenettes and are great for extended stays.
The two men have put a lot of work into restoring the 1921 hotel, and say that while the second floor is completed, they still have work to do on the third floor – so it isn’t open to visitors. Stepping into the parlor, you can see how we have lost the opportunities to talk with people and share experiences face-to-face instead of behind a computer screen. The parlor, which used to be a lady’s parlor when the hotel was new, is the perfect spot to play games, watch the fire, read a book on a chasse lounge or even look out into the Union City Park and its gazebo.
“When people first learn that we don’t have the modern things that they are used to, many look at us like they are worried – especially families,” Barcala said. “But after a stay 99 percent of the time we hear the same thing. This was the best vacation they had because they talked with their kids, explored the area and were brought closer together. That’s why we operate this hotel.”
About the Historic Union Hotel: (From the hotel’s pamphlet) The Historic Union Hotel first opened its doors in 1921 and continues to operate in an era of simplicity.
What to bring: A good book is the perfect companion at the Historic Union Hotel. Whether it’s sitting in the parlor looking out at a rainy Fall day, or simply sitting in one of the overstuffed chairs in your room, taking the time for that book you haven’t finished is a perfect activity. But don’t short change yourself, there is plenty to do in and around Union, so make sure you get out and explore.
Tip: The hotel also has an eight-space RV parking area, so if you want to have a family reunion or simply find a wayside to stop during an RV adventure, they can accommodate you. Being nearly a 100 year old building, it really isn’t American Disability Act compliant, while there is one room on the ground floor, most of the rooms require guests to climb a flight of stairs.
Season: The hotel is open year round, and during the summer months make sure to book your room well in advance.
Getting there: The hotel is located at 326 N. Main Street in Union, Oregon, so point your GPS units there.
For those of you who are going to embrace the lack of technology, take Interstate 84 to exit 265 the Highway 203 or Highway 30 exit, then follow the highway to Union and the hotel will be on your right.
By Patrick Johnson