“Have you been to the Artesian yet? It’s really nice!”
I kept hearing some version of this from friends of mine in Oklahoma, so when I needed an overnight stop on the way to Oklahoma City, it seemed like a good time to slap down the credit card and make a reservation at this historic hotel in Sulphur, OK.
There wasn’t time for a return visit to the excellent Chickasaw Cultural Center nearby, but I was content to simply relax for a night.
Originally built in 1906, the hotel tragically burned in 1962.
Rebuilt after the fire as a not-terribly-attractive “motor inn,” the property was purchased by Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Nation in the mid-1970s. It was their first business venture, well before the casino empire that they now control.
After tearing down the motor inn, the Artesian re-opened in 2013 in its current form; a beautiful building patterned after the 1906 original, but all new.
There is a casino attached to the hotel, but I never even went into it, similar to my stay at the Chickasaw’s Riverwind Hotel and Casino south of Oklahoma City. If you’re not interested in casino activities, that’s not a problem.
My room at the Artesian was exactly the kind of comfy hideaway that I was looking for….
After a long day of driving, I was ready to walk around and explore downtown Sulphur, but it was late and most places were closed.
Fortunately, the hotel restaurant was still open, and I totally fell for their delicious chicken pot pie, the perfect comfort food.
The next morning, I was back out to see the sights, and was surprised to discover that the Platt Historic District section of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area was only a half-block away from the hotel.
It had walking paths leading back into all sorts of tempting-looking greenery.
On the drive into town the day before, I’d seen a fountain shooting water straight up into the air. To find it, I picked a path that looked like it went in the right direction.
It didn’t take long to see the fountain in the distance, pouring water into this stream….
I walked up closer to the fountain, called the Vendome Well.
It’s hard to miss the slight rotten egg smell from hydrogen sulfide gas coming off of the mineral-rich water.
The town IS named “Sulphur.”
I took a sample drink from the smaller continuously-running water fountain stream you see in the right side of the photo. It did have a distinctive flavor, but wasn’t unpleasant.
It’s just hard to tell your nose to ignore rotten eggs.
After packing up and regretfully checking out, I made one more stop….the hotel’s cute diner-style Bedré Cafe for an excellent sandwich and rich chocolate shake.
Bedré Chocolates is an Oklahoma-based company, owned by the Chickasaw since 2000. You can visit their manufacturing facility on Interstate 35. It’s attached to a Chickasaw Welcome Center rest stop in Davis, OK; one of many things to do and see along I-35 in central Oklahoma.
The Artesian was a perfect getaway; I could do as much or as little as I wanted. There is a hotel spa, nearby art galleries, shops, and more trails to wander.
Finishing the visit with chocolate didn’t hurt, either.
If you like this post, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS feed or by email. The email signup box is toward the top of the right sidebar. We appreciate it.