WELCOME BACK ARTESIAN HOTEL

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The exterior of the new Artesian Hotel in Sulphur reflects the original hotel’s design.
The Artesian’s bathhouse offers a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Massive columns and marble floors welcome guests as they enter the lobby in the Artesian Hotel in Sulphur.
A Hollywood suite in the Artesian Hotel.
This historic photograph shows the original Artesian built in 1906.

WELCOME BACK, ARTESIAN HOTEL pays tribute to the past and celebrates the future

By Linda Miller

More than 50 years after it burned to the ground, the Artesian Hotel in Sulphur has come back to life just as grand, glorious and welcoming as ever.

Modern furnishings and amenities mix with architecture and details that honor the original stately hotel that served as a southern Oklahoma tourist destination for movie stars, a president and governors for more than half a century.

Anyone questioning whether the new Artesian would measure up need only step inside for a gracious greeting and a glimpse of the lavish appointments.
Palatial columns, gleaming marble floors and tin ceilings hint at the past. Water, rock and wood are recurring themes, a nod not only to the scenic area but to the artesian well that was discovered on the property.

Dozens of mineral springs once dotted Sulphur. The water was thought to possess healing powers so locals and visitors drank, bottled and bathed in it. Mineral baths aren’t available today, but the hotel’s large indoor bathhouse promises a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

Owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, the 81-room hotel took three years to build. “It was a labor of love to get this open,” said Nick Starns, hotel general manager.
Along with an inviting and lavish lobby, second, third and fourth guest floors have large waiting areas with chairs and sofas, the perfect place to read, relax or reflect. Chickasaw artwork hangs on the walls and wide hallways make the hotel seem even larger than it is. The Artesian features nine room types and various architectural designs, Starns said. Corner rooms with inviting window seats, large windows and expansive views became popular requests almost immediately.

Hotel amenities aren’t lacking either. They include the Springs Restaurant, banquet and meeting rooms, retail shops, fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, the Fountain Club Lounge, the Sole’renity Spa and Little Soles spa and special event area.
There’s also a casino for anyone who want to try their luck at the slots or tables.
For those who prefer to shop or eat, there’s the Bedré Cafe, Chickasaw Tobacco Store, Essentials, Luxe boutique with men’s and women’s fashion, Pinkitzel Cupcakes & Candy, the Woodland Emporium and Smith’s Okie Twister Co. showcasing locally made products.

The Chickasaw Visitor Center will open soon across the street from the hotel.
Located near the entrance to scenic Chickasaw National Recreation Area and on the same corner as the original hotel, the new Artesian opened with fanfare and anticipation in early August.

While the hotel looks much like the original in scale and design, including the distinctive corner turrets, it’s a state-of-the-art facility with gentle reminders of the past. Each room has historic photographs of the area, reflecting a time when mineral springs, natural surroundings and a grand old hotel welcomed thousands of visitors.
Starns said from the outside, the tie back to the original hotel is apparent, but the new Artesian has a contemporary and luxurious feel inside,
Guests often express surprise that such a beautiful hotel is 12 miles east of I-35 in a small town and no large city in sight.

“People coming from south Texas, Oklahoma City and Dallas can’t believe this is here,” he said. “People are shocked and amazed.”

The Artesian was built in 1906 and became a hot spot for visitors and celebrities. Guests included prohibitionist Carrie Nation, President William Howard Taft, actors John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and Oklahoma Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray. It also served as summer home for Oklahoma’s first governor Charles Haskell.

The hotel boasted one of the largest, most ornate hotel lobbies in this part of the U.S., complete with marble floors, mosaic tile and massive columns. It became the place to go in Oklahoma for a red carpet stay and a mineral bath.

The Artesian burned in 1962 and a more modern Artesian Motor Hotel was built in 1965. It was purchased seven years later by the Chickasaw Nation and renamed Chickasaw Motor Inn. In its place is the new hotel.

Once again, the luxurious Artesian is poised to become a popular destination, a beautiful complement to the other area attractions including the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Lake of the Arbuckles, Lake Murray, Turner Falls and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

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