Historic Elegance to Chico
By Lindsey Hall
October 31, 2006 - It began with a dream of restoring the Hotel Diamond to its once magnificent splendor but what was found was a 100 year-old connection to Chico's past. Opened in 1904, the original Diamond Hotel became the "only strictly first-class house in Chico, and the superior of any north of Sacramento."
Newspaper articles of the day and historic accounts establish the Diamond as an elegant hotel, bar, and restaurant which became 'the' center of Chico's fashionable social life. "There were many fabulous dinner parties and dances, rich enough to lure guests from as far away as San Francisco." The Diamond Cafe was described as "richly-fashioned with crystal chandeliers, white linen, polished silver, white-jacketed waiters, and live orchestras which rendered 'sweet strains.'"
Not all of the activities at the Diamond were dignified, formal affairs. Several articles cite a reputation for boisterous indulgence and free spirited living. One story cites the time "one of Chico's liveliest blades rode a white horse into the ballroom during one of the year's most elegant parties." Colorful and spectacular, the Hotel Diamond is connected to the idea that some things are too magnificent to let fade away and be forgotten.
Not even a fire, which destroyed the original structure in 1916 could burn down the memory of a place where people could leave their individual worries behind and relish in elegance and luxury. Wayne Cook, a local businessman, resurrected Hotel Diamond from the dilapidated state as a result of years of neglect and disrepair. Now, a gleaming historic building in the heart of downtown Chico, Mr. Cook, made the dream of such a place into a reality.
"Hotel Diamond is connected to Chico and the community of Chico is tied to the hotel," exclaimed front desk employee and CSUC resort and lodging student Lauren House. "The building has been around forever, and walking into the lobby, anyone can see the living history of the place," comments House.
Now, visitors to Chico can use the same entrance that guests used 100 years ago and stay in luxury suites with hardwood flooring from the original hotel. The warmth of the dark wood used for the elegant staircase and lobby antiques not only creates an intimate, cozy atmosphere but also incites an appreciation for the time it takes to create a product worthwhile. The result is quality craftsmanship and the quintessence of elegance as seen in the inviting environment of the Hotel Diamond's junior or executive suites, which include a wet bar, plasma screen televisions, large soaking tubs, private balconies, and king size beds which are the essence of comfort.
Despite the so-called 'free spirited' living found at the original Diamond Hotel, the newly restored Hotel Diamond has created an atmosphere of quiet relaxation. "Anyone and everyone can expect to be taken care of, to be treasured as a guest in the best hotel in Chico," says frequent return guest Kay Brawley. "And I love the robes! It's hard to go home after staying here."
With a rich history and a bright future, Hotel Diamond continues to be a 'jewel' for the local community and visitors alike, bringing past sentiments of decadence and old-fashioned entertainment to life for all guests.