Pawhuska’s Splendor

The revitalized downtown, burnished by the Pioneer Woman Mercantile store, has two elegant boutique hotels.

No plastic throwaway room keys here. instead, leather key fobs are hallmarkS for a hotel appropriately named The Frontier.

There’s no reason to go beyond Oklahoma for an early fall getaway. Pawhuska, gateway to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County, beckons with two elegant retreats.

The Boarding House

The Pioneer Woman Boarding House was created by Ree Drummond, and her husband, Ladd. Just as they did with their next-door, wildly popular Pioneer Woman Mercantile, which draws visitors from around the country, the couple took a downtown building they owned and found a good use for it. Before renovation, the building, which once housed a silk shop and a smoke shop, sat empty for three years.

The Emerald Room at the Boarding House has a stunning bathroom with green, black and white bricks and tile. Photo by Shane Bevel/Shane Bevel Photography

“The boarding house was actually Ladd’s idea to turn into a boutique hotel,” says Brittany Mauricio, a staffer at Pioneer Woman Mercantile, which sells thousands of items and has a restaurant.

The entry welcomes guests with an interesting mix of ornate lighting and homey touches. Photo by Shane Bevel/Shane Bevel Photography

The boutique hotel is another way the Drummonds have added to the Pawhuska experience. Ladd Drummond, acknowledging the high customer traffic at the store, saw a lack of hotel rooms in a town of 3,300 residents. Creating a place for an overnight stay allows visitors to spend additional time sampling a variety of attractions, including the tallgrass preserve, 17 miles north.

The Emerald Room offers a feminine alternative to other rooms with accents of pink. Photo by Shane Bevel/Shane Bevel Photography

The boarding house became the Drummonds’ “his and her project.” None of the eight dazzling rooms looks the same; those that Ladd designed have a strong cowboy and western theme, while Ree’s reflect her penchant for splashes of color and celebrating a prairie lifestyle with a contemporary, feminine feel.

A clawfoot tub and stunning tile make the Butterfly Room shine. Photo by Shane Bevel/Shane Bevel Photography

On the main floor are the Tack Room, the Ranch Room and the Drug Store Room (simulating an old-time pharmacy … with original, 1920s tile floors). Photographs of Oklahoma by Ree Drummond add authentic design touches.

An old advertising Mural is part of the charm in the Drug store Room. Photo by Shane Bevel/Shane Bevel Photography

Hotel manager Sondra Ward says the boarding house is “all about hospitality. We want our guests to feel extremely special.”

The Frontier Hotel

Across the street, the five-story Triangle Building (similar to the iconic Flatiron Building in New York) and its distinct design appealed to interior designer Lori Wilson during the creation of the Frontier Hotel.

The Triangle building in Pawhuska is an eye-catching treasure. Photo by John Amatucci, Amatucci Photography

The Frontier, with 20 rooms, offers visitors overnight or weekend experiences. Its rustic-chic ambiance invites guests to hang their hats and stay awhile.

The building is lined with historic, leaded-glass “windows on the world,” which provide views of the revitalized downtown.

The Hotel’s foyer offers rustic-chic decor, chandeliers and the Triangle building’s original marble staircase. Photo by John Amatucci, Amatucci Photography

The Frontier, created by Triangle Pawhuska LLC, shares common ownership with Tulsa’s Mayo Hotel, says Macy Snyder-Amatucci, vice president of the umbrella company Brickhugger LLC. Co-owner of the Frontier, Dale Forrest, says the building was originally slated for a different purpose.

A soothing color scheme adds to the ambiance. Photo by John Amatucci, Amatucci Photography

“We thought about doing apartments,” Forrest says, “but the Frontier has been successful, and it complements what Ree has downtown.”

A cornice announces the triangle building’s presence. Photo by John Amatucci, Amatucci Photography

“The idea of a hotel that would draw visitors and repeat patrons was much more enticing,” Snyder-Amatucci adds. “The potential for offering jobs to local residents was also compelling.”

Small accents appear throughout the hotel. Photo by John Amatucci, Amatucci Photography

For the Triangle, vacant for many years, “the intent during construction and design was to maintain as much of the building’s original beauty as possible,” Snyder-Amatucci says. “We had to keep the beautiful marble staircase that goes all the way through the building.”

The bedroom suites offer spacious sleeping arrangements and a lounge. Photo by John Amatucci, Amatucci Photography

Forrest, who says it was “special to bring a historic building like this back to life,” mentions the hotel is adding a coffee bar that should be opening during the holiday season.

the guest bathrooms have a turn-of-the-century feeling. Photo by John Amatucci, Amatucci Photography

“It was a huge undertaking,” Snyder-Amatucci says of the Frontier. “A lot of times a project like this is a real gamble, a financial risk. We are thankful Ree and Ladd gave us a reason to invest in Pawhuska.”

Reservations are a must. Visit pwboardinghouse.com and frontierhotelpawhuska.com to check availability.

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