The foyer of this old building is still beautiful, but that seems to be just because it has held up well on its own; we didn't see much evidence of real renovation or restoration, just some tacky decorating. As a place to stay, we'll never be back. Here's a short list of reasons:
1. It's DIRTY. When we pulled back the bedcovers, the sheets were old and pilled and there were long hairs caught in them. The sink wasn't cleaned and had hairs in it. The baseboards were dirty and cobwebbed; the carpet was ancient and gross.
2. It's weird. Our room reminded me of some of the cheap, run-down apartments I lived in when I was a college student. We realized that long ago the original hotel rooms had been reconfigured into efficiency apartments, and the place had been a men's residential hotel. The owners are just renting those boarding-house units as hotel rooms now. The shower was creepy -- this big, dark box of a room retro-fitted with cheap tile (mildewed in the corners), with a feeble shower head on one wall.
3. They seemed pretty apathetic about their business. When we arrived, no one was at the desk, so we pushed the Page button, and eventually we heard someone in the bar saying, "Go on out, you may as well start learning." A young woman emerged and nervously fumbled her way through registering us. We poked our heads into the bar, and there was the manager (owner?) sitting and playing solitaire. He was friendly enough but never welcomed us, didn't even get up! We got a better greeting from Rosie the sheepdog (though we didn't pet her; her hair was matted and dirty and she smelled).
4. The walls are paper-thin, so you won't get much sleep.
5. The view from all the windows is of the parking lot out back, which they have turned into an RV park.
The only pluses are that they allowed us to bring our dog and the mattress was passable.
My photos make it look nicer than it is. Our room was fairly bright, but the desk clerk told us we had the "best" room because it was the brightest. I couldn't imagine how dark the other rooms were -- and why. The cheery-looking bedspread is, on closer inspection, threadbare, rough, and seems to date back to the 1950s.
There aren't many good lodging options in the La Grande area, so we tried this hotel ten miles down the road in Union. Next time, we'll just drive on to Pendleton.