Places to Stay

Minimalism & Mystery: Experience the Hotel Saint George in Marfa, Texas

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As we approach the Hotel Saint George in Marfa, Texas, a pop-up thunderstorm wanders over the late-summer landscape. Upon arriving, the squared-off exterior looks somewhat out of place, compared to the elaborate Presidio County courthouse and the iconic Paisano Hotel. On a little reflection, however, it fits perfectly. Marfa’s Hotel Saint George, it turns out, is just right for the high desert environment and the bright vein of modern art that runs through this town. It echoes the mock-Prada store and the boxy aluminum and concrete creations of Donald Judd, set out in the desert. It combines minimalism and mystery, not unlike the famous Marfa lights.

Like the town, the hotel reveals bits of its past, if you know where to look. In 1886, three years after the railroad- and water-stop of a town was founded, the original two-story Hotel Saint George was completed. It served its last guest in 1929. Eventually converted to a bookstore, its first floor (the Marfa Book Company) became a cultural draw for residents and tourists alike.

Its past continues to define the present, as the new Saint George was built on the footprint of the old hotel, using many repurposed materials (wood, brick, metal, concrete) from the old structure. The bookstore remained on the first floor, reducing its space but not its status as a literary gathering spot.

Minimalism & Mystery: Experience the Hotel Saint George in Marfa, Texas
Photo: John Spaulding.

The perfect place to refresh body and spirit after a long drive in west Texas (there are no other kinds of drives there) is the hotel’s LaVenture Restaurant. Choosing from a select gourmet menu, a Texan or more far-flung tourist can find multiple food and drink temptations. Try the seared scallops or the on-trend cocktails made from sotol, a west Texas plant beginning to compete with its tequila-source cousin, the agave.

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