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Legendary Central Texas hotel reopens following multi-year renovation

Legendary Central Texas hotel reopens following multi-year renovation

Stagecoach Inn Salado bed
The Stagecoach Inn guestrooms sport wood paneling and custom beds. Photo by Cody Graham
Stagecoach Inn Salado bench
The furniture and textiles in the rooms reference midcentury modern design. Photo by Cody Graham
Stagecoach Inn Salado exterior restaurant
Rattan chairs line the patio outside the Stagecoach Inn's restaurant. Photo by Cody Graham
Stagecoach Inn Salado restaurant interior
Clayton & Little's design for the restaurant pays respect to its 19th-century roots. Photo by Cody Graham
Stagecoach Inn Salado pool
The pool is surrounded by lush landscaping. Photo courtesy of Stagecoach Inn
Stagecoach Inn Salado bed
Stagecoach Inn Salado bench
Stagecoach Inn Salado exterior restaurant
Stagecoach Inn Salado restaurant interior
Stagecoach Inn Salado pool

One of Texas' storied hotels is now riding in a new direction. On August 27, Salado’s iconic Stagecoach Inn announced the completion of a multi-phase overhaul with the reopening of its swanky renovated guestrooms, available for booking as of Labor Day weekend.

“We are excited to finally be able to share what we’ve been working on the past two years,” says co-developer Clark Lyda in a release. “Stagecoach Inn and its generations of guests hold a special place in our hearts and we hope the efforts to revitalize and honor this treasured landmark will be appreciated by all who walk through its doors.”

The 157-year-old hotel has a storied history that began with the opening of the Shady Villa Hotel on the Chisolm Trail in 1861. Over the years, the inn reportedly hosted a who’s who of Lone Star travelers, including Sam Houston, Sam Bass, and Jesse James.

In 1943, Dion and Ruth Van Bibber purchased the more-than-6-acre property and opened the Stagecoach Inn restaurant in the main building. During the 1960s, motor court lodging was added to the property to capitalize on the traffic from the then-new Interstate 35.

In 2015, it was acquired by developers Austin Pfietser, David Hays, and Lyda, who enlisted Austin’s La Corsha Hospitality Group to bring the grounds back to their former glory. Well known for restaurants like Boiler Nine Bar + Grill and Second Bar + Kitchen, the company has frequently tackled restoration projects, like the Driskill Hotel and Green Pastures in Austin and the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio.

That first phase was unveiled in June 2017 with the reopening of the Stagecoach Inn restaurant. The design introduced a contemporary aesthetic that was still period appropriate and made great use of the building’s bones. In revamping the menu, executive chef JJ Maldonado, in collaboration with La Corsha vice president of culinary operations David Bull, stayed true to the restaurant’s roots, giving traditional dishes like the inn’s famous tomato aspic a fresh spin.

For the 48 guestrooms, architectural firm Clayton & Little — renowned for its preservationist work including Eberly, Green Pastures, and Jeffrey’s in Austin, as well as several projects in San Antonio’s showstopping Pearl development — time traveled from 19th century to the 20th. Drawing inspiration from Cliff May, the creator of the California ranch-style house, the designers outfitted each space in midcentury modern glamor. Like the architect's coveted homes, the rooms were designed to bring the outside in.

Diagonal Saltillo tile anchors the rooms and sets the warm, neutral palette. In the sleeping area, light wood wraps the walls behind custom hand-built beds. Renderings of farm equipment perched on a ledge harken back to the property’s heritage.

Outfitted with luxury linens, the bathrooms give another midcentury nod with mosaic tile showers that would look right at home in one of May’s ramblers.

In 2019, the team plans to add more event space and guestrooms to a packed list of amenities that already includes the restaurant, more than 7,000 square feet of private halls, a swimming pool, and a full-service courtyard bar.

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