• Doyle Graham Jr. and Lone Star Court Capture a Lost Era

    “Having a passion for what you do really elevates you to a higher level and helps you overcome hurdles and barriers,” Graham says. “Believe in what you do, and don’t take no for an answer.”

    FROM THE Winter 2014 ISSUE

Working hard in the hotel and hospitality industry is in Doyle Graham Jr.’s blood. Graham, the CEO and president of privately owned property management company Valencia Group, was inspired by his father’s work developing unique and independent hotel properties across the United States.

Graham graduated with an economics degree and later a master’s degree in finance from Texas A&M University. After graduation, Graham worked in the banking industry.

"I had a knack for finance," Graham says of the years he spent in Houston as president of Eland Investment Corporation and cofounder of Molke & Graham Inc.

The opportunity to work in the hospitality industry came though Graham’s father, and Graham discovered working with hotels and properties was a gratifying experience that he was passionate about.

Valencia Group is most well known for its luxurious European-influenced properties, including Hotel Valencia in San Antonio and San Jose, and Hotel Sorella in Houston and coming soon in Kansas City, Mo.

This fall, Valencia Group adds another unique hotel to its collection, this time veering away from European themes and sticking to nostalgic Americana. Lone Star Court, a retro-inspired property designed to evoke Texas Hill Country and the simpler joys of days gone by, will open in Austin.

"I want people to feel like they’ve arrived in an oasis in the middle of a city," Graham says. Lone Star Court’s outdoor spaces will feature beautiful courtyards where corporate meeting-goers can gather for a little relaxation by the fire pit and listen to live music.

And Graham says guests can expect Lone Star Court to become an active participant in Valencia Group’s charitable efforts. "I believe there is a responsibility that comes with success," says Graham. "It just seems natural to want to give back to the community."

Cigars, Cognac and Cufflinks is one example of a charity benefit Valencia Group has hosted in the past. The American Heart Association, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Susan G. Komen for the Cure are just a few of the charities Valencia Group has benefitted.

"Having a passion for what you do really elevates you to a higher level and helps you overcome hurdles and barriers," Graham says. "Believe in what you do, and don’t take no for an answer."

Gail Davis, founder and president of Dallas-based GDA Speakers, was working in corporate training for EDS when the phone rang. “One of my mentors called me and said, ‘There’s a position in the events department, and I think you should do it. It would be so easy for a working mom,’” says Davis, before adding wryly, “It was clearly someone who had never planned events.” 


If there is a better hair-of-the-dog drink than a bloody mary, we sure don’t know what it is. Visit Beaumont shared its recipe for a tasty Sunday brunch cocktail, and they even made it for eight, so you can treat your friends!


Born and raised in Bryan, about 90 miles east of Village of Salado, Chadley Hollas, Village of Salado’s director of tourism, says he came to the town with one goal: to help Salado become Texas’ best small destination. His favorite thing about his adopted hometown is the people. “They are quirky, creative and hospitable—a neat combination that makes for many good conversations,” says Hollas.