This elegant historical building, with 10 stories of brick accented by decorative terra cotta and limestone, was originally built in the late 1920s as extended-stay housing for oil barons and their families. (Where else would one stay while one's mansion is being built?) At one point the hotel closed down altogether, but thankfully it avoided the wrecking ball long enough for some savvy entrepreneur to snap it up and restore it. The common areas are still awash in the elegance of the 1920s, with soaring ceilings, heavy draperies and a rich, clubby atmosphere that’s an excellent stand-in for having one's own mansion. But the huge rooms are beautifully current, decorated in masculine neutrals with just the right splashes of color.
Not everybody needs a personal touch or individual attention. If you just want a huge property that you can wander around and get lost in, if you like your elegance to be shiny and consistent instead of tenured and historical, the Renaissance could be just the answer. Located on the southern edge of the city (technically in Broken Arrow rather than Tulsa proper, although still pretty close to Woodland Hills Mall), the Renaissance has one of those big, behemoth atrium-style lobbies with floors and floors of rooms looking down on it. What it lacks in charm, it makes up for with having all the bells and whistles, like an on-site restaurant, room service, a pool and hot tub, a fitness center and a business center. Business travelers will feel right at home.
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Funny what a difference a few blocks can make. The Kennedy Mansion is just a few blocks from the heart of the city, but its surroundings have more in common with the serenity of the Tulsa Country Club than with the congestion of downtown. This is a fine mansion, indeed, built in 1925 by a prominent doctor who got rich during Tulsa's oil boom. (A city pioneer, Dr. Kennedy's signature was on the original charter for the City of Tulsa.) These days, the home is decorated with antiques in a traditional B&B style: think floral wallpaper, pedestal sinks and rich wooden bed frames in the five rooms accessed by—what else?—a grand staircase.
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Talk about curb appeal. The McBirney Mansion has a definite wow factor from the moment you pull up. The stately Tudor-style building looks like something out of a fairytale—or at least the English countryside—with multi-colored shingles and elegant brickwork punctuated by gabled dormer windows. Each room is individually decorated, some more opulently than others; be sure to check the website to make sure your room will keep you in the style to which you'd like to become accustomed. As for location? It could hardly be better: the inn is tucked into a historic residential neighborhood located just blocks from downtown, giving you easy access to everything Tulsa has to offer.
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Tulsa's not much of a walking city, but if you like to get out and stroll, this is the best-located place in town. The inn faces one of Tulsa's most photogenic parks, Woodward Park, where you'll find riotous azaleas putting on a show each spring. Just a couple blocks north is picturesque Swan Lake, a nice place for an evening constitutional. And just a couple of blocks to the east is Utica Square, an outdoor shopping center with tons of shops and restaurants to explore. If you're feeling slightly more ambitious, Philbrook Museum of Art is less than a mile away. With only three guest rooms, the inn itself is small enough to make you feel right at home. The rooms are comfortable and pleasant enough, subtly decorated in different themes—an unlikely mix of Jazz, Moroccan and Hollywood—and all with great views of the park.
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There just aren't enough remnants of old Route 66 left in Tulsa, but the Desert Hills Motel is one place where you can still get your kicks. The rooms offer some of the lowest prices in town without having to resort to chain-motel schlock. And while there's no Wi-Fi and no pool, the vintage neon sign with its glowing cactus provides a great photo op that lets you know you've gone back in time to the 1950s. The motel is surprisingly well located near the University of Tulsa and less than 5 miles from downtown. The rooms were remodeled just a few years back, but they're still appointed in a style that's consistent with their bargain-basement prices. No matter: For lovers of kitsch and nostalgia, Desert Hills sure is a fun little bargain.
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