Culture / Travel

Historic Texas Hotel Reopens After Mega Renovation

Glamorous Facelift Harkens Back to Movie Star Past

BY // 01.25.16
St. Anthony Hotel
An elegant entrance

The historic St. Anthony Hotel, which opened in San Antonio in 1909, was constructed by a trio of Texas cattle barons and was so technologically advanced for its time that it was considered one of the world’s most modern hotels; after all, it had automatic doors and electric lights that turned off when guests locked their room doors. Now managed by Starwood Hotels as part of its Luxury Collection, the St. Anthony has reopened after a two-year, multi-million-dollar renovation.

The glamorous hotel, which was once frequented by presidents, princesses, and movie stars, has received a facelift that nods to legendary decorator Dorothy Draper, whose history with the establishment inspired its fresh parrot-green and gold palette. During the 1950s, Draper designed a collection of china in green and gold for use in the hotel’s ballrooms and its exclusive St. Anthony Club. During the renovation, a handful of remaining pieces were found, says Colletta Conner, with Dallas–based Forrest Perkins, which oversaw the hotel’s refurbishment. Forrest Perkins recently joined its practice with international design firm Perkins Eastman.

While most of the new furnishings are custom, an edited selection of antiques has been restored, such as a pair of gilt, carved 18th-century settees and a 1927 Steinway & Sons piano, which was returned to its original spot in Peacock Alley lounge and bar overlooking Travis Park, where San Antonio’s chicest once gathered. The hotel’s original artwork has all been refurbished and put back into play, along with photographs of famous patrons (Eleanor Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and John Wayne) and those gloriously gowned Fiesta debutantes, who have made their debut at the hotel for 75 years.

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