Imperial Hotel in Amador City
Photo © Kurt Andersen
In 1879 the California Gold Rush was in full swing and Amador City was a bustling mining town in the midst of rebuilding after a devastating fire the year before. The Sanguinetti family was building a two-story brick and stone building at one end of town which opened as the Italian Hotel, later renamed the Imperial Hotel, to serve prosperous Victorian visitors and successful miners. The ground floor housed a dining room and bar (with separate entrances so the ladies would not have to go through the bar to reach the restaurant); lodging was upstairs and in a wood-frame addition in the rear of the building.
Today the miners are gone, but Amador City retains its historic character, and the beautifully restored Imperial Hotel still offers a warm and gracious welcome to the California Gold Country. Visitors and friendly local residents still mingle over cocktails and local wines in the original bar and enjoy hearty 4-star gourmet meals in the hotel dining room or on the hundred-year old native stone patio surrounded by greenery and flowers. Overnight guests have a choice of a room on the second floor of the historic hotel building or one of the larger suites located in a 1930s-era house on God’s Hill at the other end of town that once served as the residence of the superintendent of the Keystone Mine. All rooms are air-conditioned and have private baths, fine linens, and free wi-fi access. A full gourmet breakfast is included.
Described as “both elegant and whimsical”, with a “rich, seductive opulence”, the Imperial Hotel is a place where time does not stand still, but it does slow down. Guests can while away an afternoon with a book or magazine selected from the hotel library. For wine aficionados, the hotel is within a 10-minute drive of the many award-winning, family-owned small wineries in nearby Shenandoah Valley and Fair Play, and the knowledgeable hotel staff will gladly share their favorites. There is no charge for wine tasting at most of the wineries in this part of the world! Antique and specialty stores in Amador City and Sutter Creek provide an afternoon shopping excursion. Fishing, golf, gold panning and fascinating small museums are close by.
Restaurant hours: Dinner: Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5:00pm Lunch: Saturday and Sunday 12-2 pm
Seasons Open: Year round
Range of Rates: $105 - $189; special packages available
The McCamant family acquired the Imperial Hotel in early 2006 and operates it with the help of a (mostly) young, enthusiastic staff who grew up in Amador County and enjoy sharing their knowledge of the area with visitors.
The restaurant can accommodate guests in wheelchairs.
The restaurant features locally grown produce, fresh meats and sustainably harvested fish and seafood. Recycling and composting are routine and small plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner have been eliminated in favor of larger dispensers in the guest rooms.
Service dogs are welcome.