New Braunfels, Texas
Don and I just returned from an 8 day road trip and our first night was spent at the Faust Hotel. Our west Texas trip included Big Bend National Park, a day trip to Mexico, some great music venues and lots of curious dining, but our main goal was to experience some unusual and even challenging overnights!
There's nothing overly grand about the hotel which opened in 1929, just 2 weeks before the stock market crashed. But this sturdy looking hotel with the Spanish revival façade, managed to stay strong throughout the depression. During WWII, the hotel became known as the Honeymoon Capital of Texas. Evidently a large number of soldiers from nearby bases brought their brides here, before shipping off to war.
The entrance is on the left and there's no bellhop or doorman. There is a circle drive, but no elegant covering or staircase. The windows have a bit of an institutional look with their less than lovely air conditioner units... but there are some wonderful details to the building.
You have to take a moment to enjoy the details! I love the carved stone above both doors.
Lions and a Fountain
I'm a sucker for any kind of lion and the two by the door had sweet faces. I love fountains, too. Maybe in warmer months the fountain has water. I really wanted to hear that thing gurgle! I'm sure when the trees have leaves and the weather is warmer, the chairs on the patio must be very pleasant.
I like a lobby that is welcoming and not too dark. There was a lot of dark wood, but plenty of window light. I loved all the antiques like the old cash register and pretty amazing light fixtures. But the desk staff was fairly young, which meant there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm when I asked about hotel history. "Well, I don't really believe in ghosts." Said the young woman who assumed I was asking about the hotel's haunted history.
I was impressed by the designs on the tile floor. The stairs leading up to rooms also had some unique tile work. We were happy to have the attractive stairs as an option when we returned from dinner and noticed an elevator repair truck. We could have had a very memorable hotel experience if we'd been caught in the elevator! I read up on a little ghost history at the Faust and there have been a number of ghost sightings that involved the elevator. Very creepy... and fun.
I've got a thing about old phones, so I loved discovering this old phone booth next to the stairway. It was just a replica phone, but the sliding door and wood walls looked original.
Halls and Doors
When I walked down the hall of the second floor I was eerily reminded of my great Aunt Ruth's retirement apartment building years ago. I half expected to see some potted African violets on the windowsill. The thin carpet had a wrinkle or two and there were no fancy light fixtures. But sometimes I have to appreciate the authentic. I did like the door, though! You have to love the shuttered area that once allowed air to circulate. On the inside of the door, the slats were covered by a mirror, which was good I guess. That would have been a bit odd.
Our Tiny Home Away From Home
We stayed in Room 219, which is one of their European Rooms. That is a fancy way to say The Cheapest. The satiny bedspread clashed a bit with the busy carpet design, but the bathroom tile made me smile. Just like my grandma, Daw's house! There was a high step up to the bathroom, which could prove tricky for folks who take trips in the middle of the night. The little corner sink was pretty darn cute. In fact the size of the bathroom was cute...kind of like a bathroom on a train! And speaking of trains, there were tracks nearby. They do give you earplugs if needed. But the ceiling fan and the handy dandy window unit fan, did the trick for us!
Our night's stay included a breakfast which was nice. We had the usual continental options along with some breakfast burritos wrapped in foil. The area itself was pleasant and gave us time to take in some more details, painted trim and sconces and old doors with stained glass.
Faust Brewing Company
I should mention, there is a pub in the back of the building. It was added a few years ago in an area that had once been a courtyard. Since the town of New Braunfels is known for it's German heritage and culture, it makes sense for the historic hotel to have a brew pub on site. We did stop in for a beer and free popcorn, but didn't sample their menu.
If only we had had a ghost encounter! I would love to report that. But what will we remember about the room and the hotel itself? I would say the most notable thing about our room, was the comical size. There were some funny moments trying to climb over our bags and each other. As for the hotel, the building details were impressive, but we had no people encounters at all, to make us bond with the place. Perhaps the most notable part of our stay was the location and being able to walk to numerous places. Naegelin's Bakery (1868) was just across the street and The Phoenix Saloon had great atmosphere, food and music. We definitely enjoyed our one night stay and our location helped us explore the town that we've always been curious about. But if we ever returned I would pay more and have an upgraded room.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!