Rebirth Of A Classic St. Anthony Hotel   |   San Antonio, Texas   |   275,000 GSF

The St. Anthony was originally built to be one of downtown San Antonio’s grand destination hotels. After decades of decline, Overland was enlisted to restore the forgotten gem to its rightful prominence.

The Decade Of Downtown
Like many of San Antonio’s historic city center buildings, The St. Anthony suffered from neglect as civic and entrepreneurial attention focused elsewhere throughout the 1980s and ’90s. When city leadership declared 2010–2020 the “decade of downtown,” it spurred a reinvestment that would uncover architectural treasures, invigorate parks, and invite new businesses and residences throughout downtown. As a destination for the new millennium, downtown once again found itself in need of grand spaces for events and discerning clientele.
Luxury In Context
The property was to become part of the Starwood Luxury Collection of hotels, and with that brand came a set of high expectations. To set themselves apart, the luxury hotels of the world are moving away from uniform, international aesthetics and looking for the hyper-local character that makes each experience unique. Beneath piecemeal additions and quick-fix updates, Overland knew that The St. Anthony held exactly that kind of character to match its ideal central downtown location.
The Beauty That Lies Beneath
St. Anthony Hotel Staircase
The historic hotel had been through six major additions during its lifetime. Each had continuously degraded the hotel from a destination luxury accommodation toward a subpar efficiency experience. The ad hoc additions had also reduced the hotel’s operational capacity by carving otherwise functional space into unusable portions. Meanwhile, bathrooms and guestrooms had not been updated to the expectations of today’s discerning travelers. Rooms and bathrooms needed to meet the Luxury Collection’s high standards but also preserve the character of the hotel at is zenith. Overland scraped away the layers of interventions made over the decades to recapture the hotel’s essence. They used themes from San Antonio culture to expand on the character. Interior details recall Fiesta traditions—a two-week festival commemorating the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto—as well as famous San Antonians.

To emphasize the best features of the hotel, Overland used a high degree of architectural restraint. The team simplified things like columns and molding to make visual room for interiors that recall Dorothy Draper’s midcentury designs for the hotel. To reclaim the event spaces in the hotel, the ballrooms, meeting rooms, restrooms and main lobby needed complete reorganization. Offices were moved to a less conspicuous part of the hotel, and the hotel’s showpiece, “Peacock Alley,” was restored as a standalone event space, instead of the functional hallway it had become.

Overland identified the rooftops as the hotel’s most underutilized resource. A messy deck area surrounded an anemic pool, and views were blocked by storage and restrooms. By opening up the pool deck and the tenth-floor rooftop as an event space, the team created a true resort atmosphere with urban views. A larger pool, lounging cabanas, and glass railing now communicate a more leisurely atmosphere for guests to relax and socialize in their down time. Weddings, receptions, and events on the tenth-floor roof now look through an accessible arcade toward the brilliant San Antonio sunset skyline. With improved functionality and consistent luxury from foundation to rooftop, The St. Anthony debuted its renewed identity to rave reviews, becoming a local hotspot and prime destination to complement its storied past.

Awards
  • Historic Tax Credit: Preservation’s Best 2016
  • Power of Preservation San Antonio: Best Preservation Project 2016
  • AIA San Antonio Design Award 2017
Publications
  • Hospitality Design, “Perspectives, Trends, Historic Renovations,” March 2016
  • The Rivard Report, “A Legend Reborn as The St. Anthony Hotel,” November 2015
  • Culture Map San Antonio, “San Antonio’s Historic Luxury Hotel Undergoes Grand Transformation,” November 2015
  • San Antonio Express News, “A Face-lift Worthy of Queen of S.A. Hotels,” November 2015
  • The Rivard Report, “St. Anthony Hotel a Treasure Trove of San Antonio History,” July 2015
  • San Antonio Express News, “St. Anthony was called ‘Waldorf on the Prairie,'” March 2015
  • Hospitality Design, “Starwood Hotels&Resorts Set to Expand to 200 Luxury Hotels,” February 2015
  • The Rivard Report, “Grandeur Returns to The St. Anthony Hotel,” May 2014