Originally designed by local El Paso architects Trost & Trost in the 1930s, The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park has recently reopened after a historic rehabilitation project. The project includes 130 guest rooms, 7,600 sf of event space, a lobby bar, and a rooftop bar overlooking the Franklin Mountains and Mexican border.
The hotel’s design motif represents a hybrid of the Art Deco style of the 1920s and the naturalistic, Native American adobe architectural styles. The design team worked to accommodate modern hotel operation and amenities while also rehabilitating key aspects of the original design, including all of the historic signage, brick facade, precast deco reliefs and signature medallions, the bronze on many of the storefronts and second-floor windows, interior wood trim surrounding the tower windows, the clay and tile roof, and the Spanish-tiled pyramidal crown.
Upon entering the lobby, guests are greeted by the reinstated double-height atrium (which was previously enclosed during a mid-century renovation), stained glass, skylights, wood beams, decorative stenciling, and an original railing on the historic staircase connecting the first and second levels. The design team used old newspaper stories and photographs published around the hotel’s first public opening to reinterpret many of the original elements with custom light fixtures, materials, and color choices. In areas where the original terra cotta tile flooring was missing, Cooper Carry used concrete flooring to create a layered texture.
The Ámbar Restaurante and Lobby Bar includes a 40-foot-high back bar that displays one of Texas’ largest tequila collections being a sheath of amber glass and polished stainless steel. A contemporary style staircase is partially concealed behind the bar and amber glass to provide server access to the wall of tequila as well as secretly connecting the main dining room and exposed theater kitchen to a cellar-like private dining space located in the former trunk and boiler rooms. Check-in is located to the side of the bar. La Perla, a 5,000-sf rooftop bar and restaurant, is located on the 17th floor in the former penthouse suite. The space includes tiered-seating and built in garden planters to create intimate seating areas.
The project officially opened on June 17.