Connor Hotel is located at 164 Main Street in Jerome. For more information, call 800-523-3554 or visit www.connorhotel.com.
© Paul Markow
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High SpiritsIt's not the most famous "mile-high city" in the country, but in Arizona, Jerome is the best-known place for seeing ghosts, including the apparition of a dog at the Connor Hotel, which ranks as one of the best hotels in town.
By Roger Naylor
Jerome The most famous ghost city in Arizona clings to a crumbling shoulder of Cleopatra Hill, a mile in the air. Jerome is a former mining town that nearly went belly up, then revived, mid-swoon. It's picturesque during the day, but the old dame really dazzles at twilight. The azure afternoon sky deepens and darkens, shadows stretch across the valley floor and the whole town glimmers under shy stars and soft streetlamps.
As day-trippers stream down the mountain, the wonder and mystery of Jerome are revealed. After all, a ghost town isn't ghostly at noon. You'll have to spend a night at the Connor Hotel to experience the character-rich, historic heart of Jerome.
Built in 1898, with 20 rooms and a bar upstairs, and billiard tables and card rooms on the ground floor, the Connor Hotel provided luxury lodging and entertainment for the booming burg. When the mines faltered, so did the Connor.
With the flowering counterculture of the 1960s, the town slowly stirred to life and welcomed a trickle of tourists. The bar inside the Connor was christened the Spirit Room in '61 and would evolve into a legendary saloon. A few years later, the hotel reopened as an unabashed flophouse. Hardcore partiers could enjoy a night of freewheeling indulgence without facing a twisting mountain road afterward.
As Jerome reinvented itself as an artist haven, the Connor Hotel did the same. Today, luxury is back. The Connor offers a dozen splendidly restored rooms with large windows, high ceilings and tiled bathrooms. The décor combines comfortable Victorian style with modern amenities and plenty of artistic flourishes. The town teems with things to see and do, but it requires tremendous self-discipline to ever leave the hotel. Plop into an overstuffed chair, throw open the sash windows and let high-country breezes wash over you. Conveniences include flat-screen televisions, microwaves, minifridges and free Wi-Fi. And who needs a wallet-gouging minibar when you've got a rollicking waterhole waiting at the bottom of the stairs?
Like all respectable lodging facilities in Jerome, the Connor has a few ghosts moaning about the premises, including a mysterious ghost dog. But once you crawl into the luxurious beds, once you're being caressed by high-thread-count sheets as you fluff up a cocoon of down comforters, even Fido from beyond the grave won't be able to rouse you.
Let the friendly staff know what kind of getaway you want and they can steer you toward or away from rooms favored by restless spirits and their pooches. A couple of rooms perch above the bar, so rockers can saw logs in time with wailing guitars. Guests who don't want a rhythm section with their repose can snag quieter accommodations at the other end of the building.