Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews in Wild West Placerville, CA

Welcome to our Hotel Reviews! We stay in some pretty interesting places all over the world and we love sharing our experiences with you! We hope you find our Historic Cary House Hotel reviews helpful as you plan your journey. Today we’re sharing our wild west experience in California’s Gold Country, Placerville.

Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews

Outside of the Cary House still looks like the 1800s.

Our Story

Just as many legends had found themselves at the Historic Cary House Hotel in Placerville, California -we too had arrived. After a journey through the Sacramento Valley and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we found ourselves in Placerville, a historic gold mining town just outside of Coloma where the first gold discovery was made in 1848, and where Robert James, the father of Jesse James, lived his last day. Naturally, given our predisposition to epic legends and folklore, we knew a fairytale sleep was in order. What we didn’t know is we were staying in one of the most legendary hotels in all the Wild West.

Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews

A beautiful western lobby.

About the Historic Cary House Hotel

The Historic Cary House Hotel opened in 1857 by William Cary. At first, this three-story hotel had 77 luxurious rooms. A place where only the wealthiest of people would stay. From famous politicians to gold striking miners, the Cary House Hotel was suited for people with money. With guest book signatures by Mark Twain and Buffalo Bill, there’s no doubt these walls have a tale or two. Today, the Cary House sits with four stories and 40 rooms after a stint of operating as a Wells Fargo office. You can imagine there was a lot of gold being handled then. Years later during an excavation, $600 in gold nuggets and dust were reportedly found in the basement and ended up funding the 4th floor and elevator in 1931. The cool part is that this elevator still works, and is in fact the second oldest operating elevator west of the Mississippi.

Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews

In the lobby they display artifacts from the hotel’s history. This is the hotel in its original form.

Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews

Take some time to explore their artifact collection.

Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews

No one knows the code, no one living has been inside of this safe… think there’s gold in it?

Legendary Guests of the Historic Cary House Hotel

If you stay at the Historic Cary Hotel, you’d be adding yourself to the guest list after these legends:

  • Buffalo Bill
  • Black Bart (a famous stagecoach robber)
  • James B. Hume (the Sheriff that puts Wyatt Erp under the table)
  • Mark Twain
  • Levi Strauss (yep, the guy who sorta invented your jeans)
  • Hank Monk (a famous stagecoach driver)
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Lola Montez (a famous gold rush vamp)
Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews

This guest book has names like Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill, and Ulysses S. Grant. Elvis was even here!

Historic Cary House Hotel Reviews

If you’re looking to stay in a high-end, luxury, super-duper swank hotel with amenities out the ying-yang, this is not your place. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, personal, with history, great service, comfort, clean rooms and convenience -this is a great place for you. For our Historic Cary House Hotel reviews, we gave 90 Fairytale Sleeps points based on staff, heritage-rich ambiance, convenience and value.

Super Friendly Staff

You’ll find the front desk to be very delightful. One thing we enjoy most about staying in “one-and-only” properties is the one-on-one attention we get from the staff. With a small team of people working around the clock, you feel just like family. The Cary House staff is great, was able to manage everything we needed and went above and beyond to make our experience memorable.

Friday Winetasting

Heritage Rich Ambiance and Events to Bring You Back

Staying in historic places means finding a special ambiance that really highlights the heritage of a destination. It is the main reason we stay in bed and breakfasts and historic inns like the Cary House. What better way to experience the heritage and legends of a destination than to sleep in the midst of it. Here you’ll find antique furniture, wild west stained glass, and woodwork that brings you back to the thriving gold rush era of Placerville. It’s really like a walk into the past.

Something that the Cary House does that is super cool is events. If you plan your trip around these, you’ll find yourself really turning up the experience with things like:

  • Wine tasting events every Friday night
  • Silent Film Saturdays
  • Scheduled Murder Mystery nights and live music and wine events click here for schedule

bellhops silent film


Conveniently Located

It’s nearly impossible not to be convenient in Placerville since it’s such a tiny town. Everything you would find yourself doing is literally a short walk up the main street. From the hotel, you are a stone’s throw from Mel’s Diner, a hipster pub next door, boutique shops, antique stores, and dining. You really have everything right at your feet here. I would have liked to see maybe a nice all-day coffee bar and some refreshments for purchase, just so you can grab something and go (especially for that late-night snack lol).

Value for the Price

The Historic Cary House Hotel is priced pretty competitively with other historic inns and B&B’s we have stayed in however those places have all offered breakfast, an afternoon refreshment hour, a coffee bar, and in-room sherry or bottled water. I really think those elements stand out and I would have liked to see them at such a beautiful property. With this in mind, I think they could come down a little in price.

Historic Cary House Hotel reviews were made possible by the Cary House Hotel, special thanks to them for hosting us. While we were given complimentary accommodations, this in no way changes our review of this property. Historic Cary House Hotel reviews were created from our first hand experience as travelers as are all of our hotel reviews. Please feel free to comment below if you have anything you would like to add to our Historic Cary House Hotel reviews. Thank you!

A Perfect Wild West Experience We loved the Historic Cary House Hotel in historic Placerville, CA. We really felt like we were revisiting the Gold Rush Era and it was a definite enhancement to our destination experience. We rated this property on staff, ambiance, convenience and value.

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

2 Comments on this post

  1. Amazing place to stay! This is definitely my kind of place. I’ve never been one for luxury and I love atmosphere and getting individual attention from hotel owners. Not to mention, so many legendary characters have slept there, I’m sure it’s worth it just to step into history!

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