Abilene Travel Guide
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Bored of cutesey B&Bs and faceless motels? We feel your pain. Want to sleep where Elvis once did? Us too. That’s how we ended up making an unscheduled stop in Abilene, Texas last week. Not because we wanted to visit Abilene, but because of a place to stay that sounded pretty special: the Sparhawk Art Gallery B&B.
In its previous incarnation as the 1930s Sunset Lodge Motel, it was Abilene’s premiere motel and the place of choice for the likes of Elvis, Al Jolson, and the magnificent Marlene Dietrich, all of whom stopped by when they were touring Texas. A few years ago, all but the front annex of the motel was demolished. That was set to go as well, but a local artist, Donovan Sparhawk (we hope that’s his real name), fell in love with it, bought it, and opened up an art gallery inside, along with three rooms to rent. So now, although it’s on the main road into Abilene, it feels like you’re staying in a nice secluded cottage surrounded by lots of trees.
There are only three rooms here and they’re all pretty simple but tastefully done. We took the cheap one on the end—it had a tiled floor, lots of rugs and throws and funky blue furniture and a tiled table and mirrors in the corner of the room—definitely a step up from other motels. The bathroom had the original green tiles and bathtub left over from the motel days, so although the tub was a little stained from the decades, we were very excited to think we could be sharing Elvis’ bath (they don’t know which room he stayed in, but we decided it was definitely ours).