Escape the Ordinary: 7 Unique Places to Stay in Galena IL

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As the skies brighten with sunshine and warmer days approach, I recall several fond memories of our numerous weekend escapes to Galena, IL.

If you are looking for unique places to stay, this article will provide some personal insight into distinctive lodging options in this charming town.

What Makes a Place Unique

woman standing in front of Galena train station

What makes a place unique or one-of-a-kind can vary and mean different things to different people. So I’m sharing my thoughts on three things that make these places unique, based on my stay at these hotels.

  1. Historic character: the hotels are restored or heritage sites that provide a distinctive ambiance.
  2. Architectural design: the hotel and rooms are uniquely designed with uncommon architecture, layouts, or striking visual elements.
  3. Themed accommodations: the hotels have immersive themes around a specific concept or era to offer a truly unique stay.

Many travelers prefer the comfort and privacy of a vacation rental over a hotel when traveling with family or a group of friends. In this case, I recommend VRBO (vacation rental by owner).

Unique Stays in Galena Country

Ulysses Suites

view of kitchen with blue cabinets and 3 bar stools facing countertop

πŸ“214 S Bench St, Galena

10.0 Exceptional (see reviews)

Check availability at Ulysses Suites, Suite 303

If there were ever a handsome group of suites (there are 7 in total), this would be the place to find them.

The lodging is in the historic JG Schmohl building (circa 1850) which was previously the Grant Hotel circa 1895.

The apartments are like a home away from home with all the amenities you can expect — a fully equipped kitchen, onsite laundry, and satellite TV.

Goldmoor Inn

lobby with plaid chairs in front of fireplace
Credit: Goldmoor Inn

πŸ“9001 W. Sand Hill Rd, Galena

8.8 Excellent (see reviews)

Check availability at the Goldmoor Inn

If I had to pick one thing that’s quite unique about Goldmoor Inn, it’s that it looks almost like a European castle. It is said that the inn is a former signal point for riverboat captains to stop and get firewood or fuel for their steamboats.

The rooms are uniquely decorated like cabins but have a boutique style. The sophisticated decor in the lobby is attractive and inviting.

It is one of the most unique places to stay in Galena and it is also a great choice for a romantic getaway.

Some rooms have views of the Mississippi River. Cozying up next to the fireplace with a glass of local wine and a good book is may ideal way to wind down.

DeSoto House

downtown galena
hotel room with cream and gold victorian decor
hotel room wtih cream high chair and tv console

πŸ“230 S Main St, Galena

The DeSoto House is located dowtown and was the main place where people in Galena gathered for important social events and political meetings. Its most famous visitor was Abraham Lincoln, who gave a speech from the balcony facing Main Street in 1856 becoming the President.

What attracted me most about the Soto House was the exterior and proximity to restaurants and shopping. When we checked in, the staff were very polite, and because our room wasn’t ready, we sat in the bar and restaurant area to rest from the road trip.

The front desk gave us drink tokens (one per person, per day). It was really nice to be able to sit and relax and have a glass of wine or soda while planning new things to see in Galena.

The room was very comfortable and quiet. The high ceilings made the room feel grand. There were some parts of the hotel that obviously needed more updating, but it was unique in the sense that the hotel was not only historic, but it had character.

With all the amenities, we enjoyed our stay immensely. There are on-site restaurants and parking was available in the garage next door.

The Steamboat House Bed and Breakfast

pool table in room with fireplace in background
Credit: Steamboat House B&B

πŸ“605 S Prospect St, Galena

9.6 Exceptional (see reviews)

What makes this place unique is that the bed and breakfast was originally built by a steamboat captain.

Some of the rooms have a garden view and guests enjoy it from the rear porch. The gourmet breakfasts are amazing!

Farmers Guest House

bedroom with lots of windows and victorian decor with bathroom.

πŸ“ 334 Spring Street, Galena

8.8 Excellent (see reviews)

Check availability at Farmes Guest House

I recall the game room, library, spa services, and free parking being the main amenities that drew me to book the reservation.

The room that we stayed in reminded me of my childhood and growing up on my grandfather’s farm. It had warm, floral-patterned bedding in shades of burgundy and cream, creating a romantic and old-time ambiance.

I loved the plentiful natural light that filtered into the room and provided a view of the greenery outside.

I especially enjoyed wine time with complimentary cheese, crackers, and cookies in the late afternoon.

Irish Cottage Inn & Suites

bar with mahogany wood and chairs and tiffany-style lamps
Credit: Irish Cottage Inn & Suites

πŸ“9853 US-20, Galena

9.4 Exceptional (see reviews)

Check availability at Irish Cottage Inn & Suites

The rooms are nicely decorated in traditional furniture and soothing colors. But most of the uniqueness at this inn is in the public areas. I remembered the bar, dining area, and lobby having an old-Irish flare.

There were rich wood tones like mahogany on the furniture and wainscoting with pops of color like emerald green, vibrant red, and deep blues.

Inn at Irish Hollow

beedroom suite with green tones and irish theme

πŸ“2800 S Irish Hollow Rd, Galena

9.4 Exceptional (see reviews)

Staying in this room felt like I was transported to a era of sophistication and indulgence. It looks European and is richly decorated like a manor or chateau.

Truth be told, I was feeling like a rich mom. The inn offers a lux experience and is also known for its culinary expertise. You’ll have tons of privacy in one of the cottages.

Directions to Galena, IL

Galena is an easy 3-hour drive westward from Chicago.

No matter which direction you’re coming from, all routes will eventually merge onto the main IL-84/Franklin St to arrive in the heart of downtown.

From the East

  • Take I-80 W toward Iowa.
  • Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 301A to merge onto I-88 W toward Rock Falls/Moline. Then take exit 61 for IL-84 N/IL-92 W toward Savanna/Hanover.
  • Turn left onto IL-84 N Continue onto IL-84 N/Blackjack Rd and follow for about 26 miles into Galena.

From the West

  • Take I-80 E Take exit 45 for US-67 N toward Savanna/Dubuque Continue on US-67 N for about 53 miles.
  • Use the right lane to take the ramp toward Galena Merge onto IL-84 S/Franklin St and continue into downtown Galena.

From the North

  • Take US-20 W toward Dubuque/Rockford
  • Cross into Illinois and take the US-20 W/IL-84 S exit toward Galena Merge onto IL-84 S/Franklin St and continue into downtown Galena.

From the South

Take US-61 N toward Dubuque

  • In Wisconsin, take the exit for WIS-61 N/WIS-35 N toward Prairie du Chien/Dubuque Cross into Illinois and take the IL-35 N exit toward East Dubuque Merge onto IL-35 N and continue for about 14 miles.
  • In East Dubuque, take the exit for US-20 W/IL-84 S toward Galena Merge onto IL-84 S/Franklin St and continue into downtown Galena.

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Final Thoughts on Unique Places to Stay in Galena

While Galena has a lot of nice and unique places to stay, my favorite area for lodging is on historic Main Street because it offers the flexibility of seeing all the main attractions of Galena as well as access to the boutiques and restaurants.

The town is so quaint and friendly that I was tempted to purchase vacation property for our family getaways.

The decision on where to stay really depends on what kind of experience you want to have.

There are historic, Victorian homes, which are beautiful. Some homes are more modernized.

I recommend that you decide what type of experience you want to have while staying in Galena.

Whether it be richly decorated for a romantic stay, or a cozy room with attention to details and room service, these unique stays in Galena unveil options tailored to your aesthetic preferences.

Safe travels.

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