Oregon Caves Chateau
Cave Junction, Oregon
The Oregon Caves Chateau is located adjacent to the cave entrance in the Oregon Caves National Monument. The Chateau opened in 1934 and the building is considered a masterpiece of the rustic architectural style. The exterior has steep shake roofs with multiple dormers of varying styles. The exterior walls of the building are covered with bark stripped from nearby trees. A rock waterfall drops into a trout pond outside the classic diner-style coffee shop. 30 inch diameter logs support the ceilings, and a large double-sided fireplace stands in the center of the lobby. The dining room is separated from the lounge area (now a gift shop) by a stream. Yes, a real stream flows through the 3rd floor of the building!The Oregon Caves Chateau was built straddling a steep walled canyon, much as a dam would be built across a canyon. The creek flows through a huge pipe under the building. The sides of the Chateau are set into the steep sides of the canyon. This creates an interesting effect as you walk into the lobby at ground level on one side of the Chateau, but the windows on the other side of the room look out into the tops of the trees outside! The majority of off the creek flows through a large pipe under the building, while a small portion of it is diverted into an artificial stream bed that flows through the dining room on the 3rd floor. The Chateau is 6 floors high from the creek bed to the top floor.
The Oregon Caves Chateau is almost completely original. The Chateau is far from the normal tourist routes and has suffered from low occupancy rates since it was built. As a result the original floors, stairs, wall coverings etc, have not worn out. All the walls have original finishes and very little remodeling has occurred over the years. Entering the Chateau is like stepping back in time. Almost all the rooms have the original furniture, and the Chateau houses the largest collection of the highly-sought Monterey furniture in the world, most of it museum quality. The furniture in your room is likely to be all antique. Radiators still provide heat for the rooms.
The Oregon Caves Chateau, as well as a nearby employee dormitory and the "new Chalet" (the Oregon Caves Visitor Center building), were designed and built by Mr. Gust Lium (1884-1965), a local contractor who had an enormous level of design talent. His work stands up well against the great rustic architects of the period.
The information above is just a brief overview. Further down on this page you will find a complete description of the facilities, services, directions, travel tips, and even how quiet the rooms are. The Virtual Tour of Oregon Caves Chateau is the focal point of this website, at the least take a few minutes to look through the first few pictures. The tour features photos of just about everything, and it will tell you much more about the history, architecture, and even Elizabeth, the local ghost! The tour is divided into 4 sections, first is a look at the building exterior, then the interior public areas, the guest rooms, and finally the landscape around the buildings. There is also a review of our visit to the Chateau. As with all our tours, we actually stayed in the Chateau a couple of nights so we could become familiar with it. Thus we are able to present more than the typical travel brochure babble.
Amenities, Services Offered:
Oregon Caves Chateau
|no||You can adjust heat using a valve on the radiator, but no thermostat.|
|High Speed Internet||no|
|Ice Bucket & Glasses||yes|
Outlets in Rooms
|Iron & board||no|
|Shampoo, Lotion, Etc.||yes|
|Non-Smoking Rooms||yes -all rooms|
|Sound Insulation||little||See notes below.|
On Site Facilities
|Number of Rooms||23|
|Spa or Hot Tub||no|
|Massage & Staffed Spa||no|
|Restaurant||yes||Full service restaurant.|
|Lounge or Bar||no||The restaurant serves drinks.|
|Free Evening Reception||no|
|Daily Linen Change||yes||On request|
|Credit Cards Accepted?||yes||All major cards.|
|ATM or Check Cashing||--|
- Be sure to scroll all the way down this page and see the section "Tips for Planning Your Visit", it has insider details you won't find anywhere else.
- Sound insulation: Sound insulation between rooms is minimal, see the tips section below for specific suggestions. The quietness of a room is pretty subjective. Much depends on how noisy the folks in the adjacent room are. When making a judgment on this issue, we try to consider hotel construction, noise masking (white noise) sources in the room (like fans), the layout of the rooms, and the policy of the hotel management on guest noise. We always suggest you take along ear plugs, just in case you find there are elephants staying in the adjacent room.
- Cell phone reception is poor to non-existent at the Chateau. There is a pay phone in the lobby.
- Climbing stairs is necessary for access to all guest rooms. There are not any handicap accessible rooms.
- 3-prong outlets: This means the room has standard 120 VAC grounded electrical outlets. The electrical system in the Oregon Caves Chateau is fully updated.
- Views: Best views are from the 2nd floor rooms. The Chateau is surrounded by forest, so views are only of the surrounding forest. The 3rd floor rooms have smaller windows.
- Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of information provided by the hotel and things we observed when we visited. Many of these items are subject to change at any time, and we make no guarantee that the above information is accurate. Please send us an email if you notice something above is not correct. Thank you!
Rates and Reservations:
The official website for the non-profit Oregon Caves concessioner (lodging, gift shop, dining room, deli & the Caves Diner) is: Oregon Caves Chateau . Open May through October, check with them for the exact dates. Reservations on-line or phone: (541) 592-3400.
From October through May (when the Cafe is closed) snacks and beverages are sold at the Park Visitor Center bookstore.
Please stay at the Chateau!
The Oregon Caves and the Chateau are a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the detour and time. Lack of visitors makes operating the Chateau very financially challenging, and it just barely survives. If you are in Southern Oregon please try to stay at the Chateau or at least have lunch or dinner there! Unlike most National Park hotels, the Chateau is operated by a non-profit organization and it is expensive for them to keep it open. By visiting and spending some money you are helping preserve a little-known national treasure! See The Oregon Caves Chateau Homepage for hotel information and reservations.
Tips for Planning a Visit:
The Chateau at Oregon Caves is a historic lodge. Staying here is like stepping back in time to 1937. This lodge is almost 100% original with few modern updates to the structure. You should be prepared for a historic (that means old!) lodge that does not meet the latest standards for hotel facilities and architecture. Rooms are comfortable but simple, some people would consider them primitive. The staff is very friendly and helpful, they treated us like old friends on our first visit! Consider that staying here is an adventure, something different, out of the ordinary, and unique. The facilities are old, I suggest you take the virtual tour and look closely at the rooms. If what you see doesn't look like something you could stand to stay in for even a night, then you might want to just make it a day visit. While a day visit isn't the same as staying the night, you can get a good feel for The Chateau by walking through it and enjoying a lunch and/or dinner here. Once again, I don't want to scare you off. The Chateau is a great place and I highly recommend you stay here!
There are no telephones or televisions in the rooms. Heat is by steam radiators, and like all steam systems the pipes moan, groan, bump and clunk. The walls are thin, I suggest ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. You can generally request a specific room when making reservations by phone, although they don't guarantee you will get the room you request. Quieter rooms are numbers 210 and 211, they do not have other rooms above or below them and are isolated by closets or bathrooms from the other rooms, there are no shared walls by the beds. Rooms 204 and 205 are equally isolated but do have rooms below them, but not above. All four rooms just mentioned are corner rooms with multiple windows and good views of the forest. The Chateau does has a fire sprinkler system, which is important in an old wood-frame hotel like this one. There is no air conditioning, but it is seldom needed as nights tend to be cool. Just open a window and cool the room the old fashioned way. In-room amenities consist of an ice bucket and drinking glasses, also the basic soap, shampoo and clean white towels. If you want a hair dryer bring one with you. There are no in-room appliances, no in-room coffee. Watch that you don't overload the electrical circuits if you bring your own personal care appliances.
Chateau Dining Room: The dining room at the Chateau features local Southern Oregon regional cuisine. To the extent possible, the food is obtained locally. The food is excellent, service is great, and there are few other places you can dine next to a stream, while inside a lodge! The dining room menu is posted on the Chateau's website.
Other Food Options:The Caves Cafe Coffee Shop in the Chateau serves standard coffee shop meals in a late 1930's era setting. Chrome counter chairs with red vinyl seats create the perfect "soda shop" atmosphere. If you do nothing else, have lunch, hot chocolate, or a milk-shake at the coffee shop! The Caves Cafe menu is posted on the Chateau's website. The Caves Cafe was formerly called the Caves Diner.
Visitor facilities are also available in the community of Cave Junction.
There are several private campgrounds around the town of Cave Junction.
Allow an hour for the drive from Cave Junction to the Oregon Caves, allow more time if raining, foggy, or after dark. The road is narrow and has lots of curves but is not particularly difficult to drive, just slow. Trailers are not allowed on the final few miles of the road due to very sharp curves. A trailer parking area is provided at either the Illinois Valley Visitor Center in Cave Junction or the Grayback Campground near the monument. Unless you need your trailer (ie; you're camping) it is best to leave in at the Illinois Valley Visitor Center parking area, rather than to waste fuel and time towing it up the narrow road to the campground.
The nearest airport with regularly scheduled air service is the Jackson County Regional Airport in Medford, Oregon. Rental cars are available at the airport. The caves are a 2 hour drive from Medford.
The Oregon Caves Chateau is located in the Oregon Caves National Monument. The Chateau is owned by the National Park Service and operated by a non-profit organization under a special use permit.