Known for its simplicity, the Hot Lake Springs is a quaint bed and breakfast located on Hot Lake Reservoir just outside of La Grande, Oregon. There are no fancy amenities, and the rooms are somewhat dated, but it is clear that the current owners have dedicated significant time and energy in order to restore Hot Lake Springs to its former glory.
Hot Lake Springs opened as an expansive hotel featuring 105 guest rooms, a barbershop, a drug store, and a ballroom at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1917, the property was purchased and converted into the Hot Lake Sanitorium. The healing mineral water was used as a method of treatment for the hospital’s patients, making Hot Lake Sanitorium a leader in early western experimental medicine.
After the death of the property owner in 1931, the hospital faced a sharp decline spurred on by a fire in 1934 that destroyed a large portion of the building. After this, the property was home to a variety of different ventures before being officially abandoned in 1991.
Finally, Hot Lake Springs was purchased in 2003 by David Manuel. From here, the property was slowly restored, and the current bed and breakfast began in 2010.
Today, Hot Lake Springs is often known for its potentially haunted past. Many guests, as well as the former owners, report hearing voices coming from the abandoned operation room. In 2001, the property was featured on The Scariest Places on Earth, an ABC documentary series that features famously haunted locales.
Hot Spring Pools
Hot Lake Springs features a wide variety of hot spring pools and soaking tubs situated around the edge of Hot Lake. There are two brick or stone-lined pools, an antique hot tub, and three plastic, covered hot tubs.
Due to the age of the pools, and the resort in general, the hot spring pools and tubs are filled with geothermally heated mineral water from a hose. This prevents guests from being able to dial the tubs to a specified heat, but the water is naturally at an appropriate temperature for soaking.
Interestingly enough, the position of the hotel allows it to be heated geothermally by the same water that is pumped into the pools. Hot spring water is pumped throughout the hotel in pipes, providing natural-heating to the entire building.
The rooms at Hot Lake Springs are decidedly simple. Each room features a bed large enough for two people and a bathroom with a bathtub or shower. Linens and basic toiletries are provided, as well. While the rooms are heated geothermally, the hotel does not have air conditioning, so, during the warmer months, the rooms are often hot.
Included with the nightly rate is a daily homemade breakfast cooked by the owner. The menu varies daily and is served between 8 AM and 9 AM.
For those hoping to learn about the rich history of the property and its various owners, Hot Lake Springs offers a simple museum and tour for a fee. On this tour, guests are shown around the expansive hotel, and they can peruse the owners’ collection of Native American and United States War artifacts. Additionally, the tour includes a short video providing a brief introduction to the property.
Note: The Hot Lake Springs is undergoing renovations currently, launching new features, and a website, in late 2020.
Address: 66172 OR-203, La Grande, OR 97850