Explore America / Hot Spots To Stay

From Bank to Hotel – A Historic Stay in Trinity Hotel in Carlsbad, New Mexico

Originally First National Bank, the Trinity Building dates back to 1892. Now, it’s a wonderful historic hotel in Carlsbad, New Mexico. This was my home for a night while visiting Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Parks. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this swanky of a spot in Carlsbad. It was an unexpected treat and so was the town.

Here’s the backstory on the building built with local brick and materials brought in by train and wagon from Texas. When First National Bank of El Paso moved into the Pecos Valley Land & Ditch headquarters it was the first bank in the region. The building also housed the first newspaper and the offices of Sheriff Pat Garrett, who’s claim to fame is killing Billy the Kid.

In 1899, the community of Eddy changed its name to Carlsbad after the famous European health resort in Karlsbad, Bohemia, in hopes tourists would visit the springs running through town. The venture failed then floods in 1902 and 1904 devastated the town. First National Bank closed in 1907. The building was sold to the Bureau of Reclamation for ten cents on the dollar. Years later Carlsbad Irrigation District took over building. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1965, then quickly fell into disrepair. From 2007 to 2009, three partners restored the dilapidated building to its original grandeur.

Today it’s home to a hotel, restaurant, wine bar, and coffee shop. There are nine luxurious suites. I stayed upstairs in Room 201. It has a king size bed, sofa and desk. The bathroom has a frameless glass shower and stand-alone tub. The decor is classic antiquity with a modern twist.

After a nine hour drive from Denver, I was grateful I didn’t have to go far for dinner. I just wandered downstairs and sat at the bar. Chatting with the bartender I had to ask if the historic building has any hauntings. He told me the story of Ruby, a mistress to someone in the bank in the late 1800s. She was shunned and her spirit apparently returned to where she worked. The mischievous ghost is Normally in Room 206, but she does wander too. That room is called the “Safe Room” because a second-story vault has been turned into a one-of-a-kind media room with a 47″ TV and sleeper sofa. It was a fun tale to hear while sipping Spirit of Seven Rivers Tempranillo wine. The Bolzano Vineyard is near the ghost town of Seven Rivers along the Pecos River, about halfway between Carlsbad and Artesia.

The next morning I caught a spectacular fiery sunrise as I ventured out for an early morning walk to explore the historic area of downtown Carlsbad. I walked along the Pecos River and stopped on a bridge to enjoy the view of the sun coming up over the river. That bridge is the Bataan Bridge, named to commemorate the lives lost on Bataan Death March in 1942 during World War II, including soldiers from New Mexico.