Hotels can often look and feel like the same place – no matter what room you sleep in or what chain you visit. A standard room delivers all the necessary accouterments you need for a good night’s rest, but that’s it. And while that’s an OK setup for your average business trip, staying overnight in a hotel could so much more!
Have you ever enjoyed a hotel stay complete with unique historical architecture, history of a bygone era, and truly authentic Texan vibes? Now you can! Let us take you out on the road to rest your weary head at these incredible historic hotels across the Lone Star State. You’ll leave with more than just a good night’s rest.
1) Paisano Hotel in Marfa
In far west Texas, in the dusty, minimalist art town of Marfa, the Paisano Hotel stands as one of the town’s oldest and most celebrated structures. If the walls could talk at this historical landmark hotel (built in 1930), you’d hear high tales from both old Texas ranchers and some of Hollywood’s most marquee names from the 1950’s.
Designed by the famous El Paso architect Henry Trost in 1929, the hotel was once a destination for those traveling between San Antonio and El Paso. It was the perfect place for cattle ranchers stopping in Marfa to buy and sell their herds.
By 1955, Warner Brothers Studio came to Marfa, and made the Hotel Paisano its headquarters for the film Giant, starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson. While the main actors moved to private residences after two weeks at the hotel, they continued to socialize and dine at the Paisano, while watching dailies that film director George Stevens set up in the ballroom on a projector.
From the moment you walk into the Hotel Paisano, you can feel the history and glamour. From the tiled floors and huge leather couches to the chandeliers and the tiered fountain in the Central Courtyard, you’re awash in the feeling that you’re in another time. Marfa does that on its own, but this hotel is a slice of real West Texas class.
Jett’s Grill is on the ground floor, and there you’ll find their famous 12 oz burger and the best margarita Marfa has to offer. Not only does the vibe feel great, you’re bound to meet real “Marfans” when you sit up at the bar, as opposed to the throngs of hipsters and New Yorkers merely vacationing.
2) Driskill Hotel in Austin
Smack in the heart of downtown Austin is the gorgeously old and famous Driskill Hotel. A 12-minute walk from the State Capitol, it also resides on one of the busiest streets for nightlife in Austin, Sixth Street.
Built in 1886, the Driskill has maintained its level of luxury in the Live Music Capitol of the World for many years. Several historical events have occurred at the Driskill, including two featuring President Lyndon B. Johnson. There, he awaited news of his successful 1960 election to the office of Vice President, and he returned there in 1964 to learn about his election as President. The Driskill also hosted inaugural balls for many of Texas Governors, including Sul Ross and William P. Hobby.
But politics aside, the Driskill oozes luxury and timeless Texas class. Opulent décor and rooms wrapped in comfort, the Driskill is a place to park the car and head out on foot for the rest of your time in Austin.
Much of the city’s attractions are within biking or walking distance from the Driskill, and dozens of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and music venues are just a short walk away. The Driskill Grill, established in 1929, is also an excellent place to dine, as it’s rated by Zagat as one of the top 25 hotel restaurants in the country.
Treat yourself to a few nights at the Driskill and dissolve into the heart of Austin.
3) The Gage Hotel in Marathon
The Gage Hotel is something special.
It’s located in West Texas in the town of Marathon, positioned 4,000 feet above sea level in the Chihuahuan Desert with a population less than 500 people. You are truly a world away from everything. Why it has such an incredible hotel like the Gage makes it all the more charming, and all the more reason to make this a destination.
Marathon is the gateway to Big Bend Country, so if you’re planning to rough it in nature and head for one of our state’s most gorgeous National Parks, then treat yourself to the down-to-earth extravagance of the Gage. You can even bring your pet!
Built by cattle rancher Alfred Gage in 1926, it was designed by famed architect Henry Trost, just like its contemporary Paisano Hotel in Marfa. Featuring beautiful Mission and Spanish style architecture, the hotel has since built an added wing of additional guest rooms, along with a pool, the White Buffalo Bar, and the 12 Gage Restaurant, by far the best restaurant in Brewster County. The added wing of the hotel has a Santa Fe feel, with buildings made from adobe and walls lined with the skulls of cows and hanging chili peppers. It’s truly a beautiful structure against that bright indigo blue West Texas sky.
All around the hotel, you’ll find porches and courtyards with lounge chairs, perfect to relax and take in the dry desert air. Succulents, cactus, and flowers pop out of nooks and crannies, and when the stars come out at night, there is a community fire pit where guests gather to roast marshmallows and swap stories as to what brings them to this far flung gem in the middle of nowhere.
4) The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas
The city of Dallas asked St.Louis beer baron Adolphus Busch to build a hotel in Texas as grand as the Lone Star State itself, and The Adolphus Hotel was born. The rustic elegance of the other hotels we’ve profiled are far from this ultra-grand hotel in the heart of Dallas. Think about the Gilded Age of glamour and Baroque architecture where critics, soon after it was built in 1912, named it “the most beautiful building west of Venice.”
The red carpet is rolled out for all, including Queen Elizabeth II, the Vanderbilts, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, and Babe Ruth, who have each laid their heads to rest during their stay in Dallas. The façade of the building features gorgeous sculptural figures, timeless and oh so opulent, surrounded by watchmen on guard also molded into the front. Their warm and gracious staff offer a hospitality reminiscent of a bygone era.
Within walking distance of much that downtown Dallas has to offer, you can also stay in and dine in The French Room, a critically acclaimed restaurant considered by many to be the best restaurant in Dallas. Fine French dining in a room filled with Rococo styled furniture and décor, there’s no question you’re in for an exceptional dining experience.
5) The Crockett Hotel in San Antonio
Named for the defender of the Alamo and one of America’s most famed frontiersman, The Crockett Hotel is a landmark in San Antonio, just a few steps away from where Davy Crockett fought one of our state’s greatest battles.
Built in 1909 by The Three Link Fraternity, this landmark building was intended as a lodge for its members and as a hotel. By 1982, San Antonio native John Blocker purchased the building and mounted a detailed renovation using historical photographs to remain faithful to the design and intricate details.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Structures, The Crockett is a comfortable and romantic hotel in the heart of San Antonio, specifically within walking distance of the River Walk. Old and full of character, its comfort and proximity to some of San Antonio’s attractions make it an ideal place to explore the Alamo City by foot.
Next time you leave home to vacation in one of these areas of Texas, you now know where to book more than just a simple overnight stay.