During California’s gold rush it was common for guests to walk into a hotel, plunk down some gold and pay for the room. Nowadays credit cards have replaced gold (and are preferred over cash), but there’s still one hotel you can stay at in exchange for the shiny stuff.
Steeped in history, The National Hotel along with the bar and restaurant were some of the first permanent structures in the gold rush town of Jamestown in 1859. The hotel has operated continuously ever since, surviving not only two fires but even Prohibition raids.
Stepping into the hotel is like going back in time, and while the cash register from 1881 still works the maximum that can be rung up is $6.95, which was a princely sum in the early 1800’s.
A gold mine shaft is in the garden courtyard, and for proper measures the owners keep a scale on hand for guests paying for their rooms with gold.
An old gold ring won’t do the trick, but the hotel owners will even allow meals and drinks to be covered. How much will you need? Just a few pinches of gold dust ought to be enough.
If you ride into town without your gold, local activities include panning for gold, and lucky prospectors can use their flakes to pay using an old-fashioned scale located in the hotel’s saloon. It’s a fun way for kids to learn about the precious metal as a payment source, and a good way for adults to save a little bit of money and put to use those flakes they’ve unearthed.
Rooms go for around $140-$160, and credit cards and cash are accepted if your bag of gold is still a little light.
If that isn’t fun enough, there’s one other interesting tidbit about the hotel – it is reportedly also the home of a cheerful ghost named Flo.