CEDAR CITY — Under the watchful care of the mountains and tucked quietly on a tranquil street sits a majestic blue house with a charming garden and a welcoming veranda that almost beckon you to come and stay awhile … this is The Iron Gate Inn.
Located at 100 N. 200 West in Cedar City, this elegant bed and breakfast offers travelers a unique stay in a piece of Cedar City’s history.
Built in 1897 by David Thorley for his wife and family, the Victorian home originally had three bedrooms and one bath and was approximately 1,900 square feet, information from the Iron Gate Inn’s Web page said.
The beautiful home is described as a “grand lady” of its time and many guests were entertained within its walls. The home remained in the Thorley family until the 1960s when, with the death of last remaining daughter-in-law, the property passed to her relatives.
The property was purchased in 1996 by C.R. and Susan Wooten who began renovations in 2000 to turn the historic home into a bed and breakfast inn. Over the course of a few years the Wootens restored and renovated the home turning it into a charming bed and breakfast that won the affection of many guests including its current owners, Donna Shattuck-Johnson and her husband, Brian Johnson.
Originally hailing from California, Shattuck-Johnson and Johnson first fell in love with The Iron Gate Inn as guests in 2006 when they came to Cedar City and the Shakespeare Festival on vacation.
“I felt the house and it was a spiritual thing,” Shattuck-Johnson said. “The house just said ‘one day you’re going to own me.'”
Struck by the charm of the house, the city and its residents, Shattuck-Johnson said the pair decided to look for an opportunity to make Cedar City their permanent home.
That opportunity came in May 2015 when the couple acquired The Iron Gate Inn. Since taking over ownership of the bed and breakfast, the Johnsons have heightened the already special experience for guests by adding a fire pit to the garden patio area and an outdoor Jacuzzi for guests to soak in after a long day of skiing, hiking or sightseeing. The two also had the fruit trees pruned and they help to provide fresh fruit-filled breakfasts.
Despite its historical roots and themed décor, the inn has all the amenities that today’s travelers need including modern and spacious bathrooms and wireless internet access.
More than a place to stay
The Iron Gate Inn is conveniently located within easy access to most of Cedar City’s major attractions making it an ideal place to stay for visitors wishing to take in the Shakespeare Festival, participate in the Utah Summer Games or visit nearby Brian Head or Cedar Breaks National Monument. But more than just a convenient place to stay, the inn is a total experience where guests can relax in the comfortable rooms, enjoy the beautiful gardens and partake in specially crafted breakfasts made from the freshest ingredients available.
“This particular house resonates calmness and peace and love,” Shattuck-Johnson said of the feeling guests can experience as they enter the walls of the home.
Armed with an event planning background and driven by a strong philosophy on hospitality Shattuck-Johnson has embraced her role as innkeeper of The Iron Gate Inn with both arms.
“This isn’t an easy job,” Shattuck-Johnson said, “but it is a very fulfilling job.”
Shattuck-Johnson has a small staff at the inn that work hard to keep it looking pristine and who help to accommodate their guests’ needs whether it be making dinner reservations, recommending a good shop or pointing them to the Iron Gate Winery, located on property, for a wine tasting.
New guests often don’t know what to expect of a bed and breakfast, particularly of The Iron Gate Inn, Shattuck-Johnson said adding that she often hears that they were expecting something more akin to a hotel stay and not the level and quality of service found at Iron Gate.
An above average service level is something Shattuck-Johnson takes great pride in, she said, and is part of her philosophy – that guests should feel as much at home as possible.
Another part of her hospitality philosophy centers on nutrition. A cancer survivor herself, Shattuck-Johnson said she is acutely aware of the need for guests to receive proper nutrition that also tastes good.
To that end, she uses the highest quality ingredients taking care to not use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or gluten. Breakfasts are prepared with organic food wherever possible, Shattuck-Johnson said, and she can cater to guests with food allergies, lactose intolerance, vegetarians and vegans.
And breakfast is just one small part of what guests will experience at The Iron Gate Inn whether you are there for a weekend getaway or getting married.
As an event planner, Shattuck-Johnson knows how important it is to create the ultimate experience for her guests, she said, and she applies that ideology to every aspect of the inn.
“I have kind of made a motto,” Shattuck-Johnson said, “and that is: ‘My mission is your memory.'”
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