San Antonio’s Riverwalk is one of my favorite places to visit. Even if I’m in San Antonio for meetings, I always find time to stroll along the Riverwalk and take in the sites: a sidewalk café, a passing riverboat, public art glimpsed from under a Riverwalk bridge. Another favorite stop is Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. For the past 14 years of the boutique hotel’s operation, I’ve come to know its sleek and modern style—and this is all about to change. The hotel is being redesigned by internationally acclaimed architect and designer, Lauren Rottet. The $10 million renovation is slated for completion in mid-March 2017.
Rottet, along with her team at Rottet Studio, will fully immerse the property into the charm and heritage of San Antonio and the hotel’s Riverwalk location. The resulting design concept will be a blend of Spanish Colonial and Modern Mediterranean styles. The Spanish Colonial influence represents a nod to San Antonio’s Spanish Colonial heritage dating back to the time the Missions were built, while the Modern Mediterranean flair reflects the building’s Tuscan-style architecture and the hotel’s namesake, which is Valencia, Spain.
“On January 19, 2003, Hotel Valencia opened its doors as the first boutique hotel in San Antonio,” says Roy Kretschmer, executive vice president of operations, Valencia Group. “Today, Valencia Group is creating a completely new hotel experience.”
The top-to-bottom renovation incorporates warm, rustic woods, elegant ironwork, hand-crafted tiles and textiles that reflect the design sensibilities of Spanish Colonial style, along with the color palette and elegance of modern Mediterranean design. The public spaces on the hotel’s second floor will undergo the largest makeover, including a new concept for the former restaurant and bar, Citrus and VBar.
The hotel’s entrance will feature lighting on the front columns flanked by citrus trees in large pots. Just inside the entrance will be a redesigned fountain with a new water feature to create an inviting area where people can relax for a moment.
The reception desk, now more visible from the stairs and elevator, is a statement piece—a custom hand-carved desk will include scalloped detailing. Behind the front desk the Alhambra-inspired plaster treatment, titled Esgrafiado, features a historic technique found in Spanish Colonial design.
The hotel also will debut Dorrego, a restaurant named for the famed Plaza Dorrego, a public square located in the San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s Executive Chef, Anthony Mesa, is developing a new menu for the restuarant that will be inspired by the culinary heritage of Argentina. An extensive wine list, which includes a wide variety of Argentinean wines, will be a main focus for diners.
“Dorrego’s menu will capture the unique blend of Italian and Spanish cultures that is the cornerstone of Argentina’s heritage and cuisine,” says Kretschmer. “As a result of a major influx of Italian immigrants to Argentina over the years, Argentina’s cultural roots lie in both Spain and Italy. Hotel Valencia Riverwalk and Dorrego personify this distinctive fusion in both the hotel’s design and in the restaurant’s offerings.”
Guests will find new public spaces on the hotel’s second floor, including a library space where the former registration desk was located. This cozy space is reminiscent of an old-school cigar lounge, with wood paneling and wood shutters. Artwork on the walls depicts graceful flamenco dancers. Artist Maksim Koloskov has been commissioned to paint a map of San Antonio on the spines of the books in the bookcase spanning one wall of the library. Another grouping of commissioned artwork will showcase the bridges of San Antonio found along the Riverwalk.