Oct 31 2011
This summer, as we wrapped up our time in the Black Hills and Colorado, we stayed at the Hotel Alex Johnson in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. I made the reservation at this hotel because of the combination of convenience and price; as part of Choice Hotel’s Ascend Collection, it’s moderately priced though lacking the free breakfast of other Choice Hotels brands like Comfort and Quality Inns. For our family, any room that includes beds for everyone as opposed to a sofabed for two kids is a gem, and this historic hotel fit the bill with a suite containing one bedroom with a king bed and another with two queens, connected by a small yet adequate bathroom on the top floor of the hotel.
The Hotel Alex Johnson is one of the tallest buildings in downtown Rapid City, so the kids had spotted it easily when we came into town. Validated parking is available in a ramp a block from the hotel. Surrounding the hotel are shops and restaurants in a downtown setting that looked interesting and inviting enough to make me want to return to downtown Rapid City again when I have more time to explore. Our kids liked the street-corner sculptures of the presidents dotting the downtown area.
We didn’t take advantage of the in-house restaurant or Rapid City’s only rooftop bar, and though our cobbled-together room wasn’t as efficiently laid out as modern suites are, it was comfortable, and had some history with it, such as presidents and famous people who have stayed there for various events in the area. The bed was comfortable, the temperature was just right, and the room was quiet.
So why was it that I didn’t sleep well?
I hadn’t mentioned it to the rest of my family, but I’d read that the Hotel Alex Johnson is supposedly haunted. Literature in the room described tales of figures in the hallway and the story that is said to have led to the spirits in the hotel. I’m not one to think much of ghosts and such, but it was my first experience even being in a place where such tales are told. So is that why I couldn’t sleep?
No, probably not. I just don’t sleep well the first night in a new hotel. Ever. It’s the reason that whenever possible, we stay several nights in the same hotel, or else I’m sleepwalking by the end of the trip from lack of sleep.
If you can find a reasonable priced room that fits your family at the Hotel Alex Johnson like I did, I’d recommend it as a nice stay in a historical hotel near Mt. Rushmore and other Black Hills attractions. And whether you see an apparition or not, you can say you survived a night in a haunted hotel.