How to act like a local in Marfa, Texas (Part 2: Hotel Paisano)

Iron archways lead from the Texas Street sidewalk into the courtyard and from here guests may enter the hotel lobby, restaurant, and gift shop or fitness center of Hotel Paisano.

The history that surrounds Hotel Paisano in Marfa is unparalleled. Groundbreaking occurred in the fall of 1929. The hotel was one of five of the Gateway hotels being developed by Charles Bassett from El Paso. Less than a year later, Hotel Paisano would open with 65 rooms, a neon sign that could be seen from Highway 90 and would soon be called "the most elegant hotel between El Paso and San Antonio."

Hotel Paisano would become the main social hub for the area through the 1960s as an oasis for travelers on the busy railroad circuit.

Perhaps the coolest story that you may not know about Marfa is that the iconic James Dean would film his last movie while staying at Hotel Paisano. Along with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and 150 others, cast and crew for the Warner Bros. movie "Giant" would take over the town in the summer of 1955.

Unfortunately, James Dean would never see himself on screen in this film, as he died in car crash in California later that year.

"Giant" was released toward the end of 1956 and would go on to win an Academy Award for Best Director while being nominated for nine other Oscars.

The hotel has changed hands periodically throughout the years. In 2001, the county foreclosed on the property due to back taxes. News of the sale was published in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, and other newspapers and periodicals around the country. More than 800 timeshare investors forfeited ownership, and the building was sold on the courthouse steps at a tax auction. The move would mark the most monumental sale of real estate in Presidio County.

Today, the hotel provides a beautiful backdrop where "old Hollywood glam" meets west Texas desert. Hotel Paisano is completely renovated with 41 rooms including a number of suites as well as original historic rooms. Accommodations also include a heated pool, a ballroom (where Taylor, Hudson and Dean would watch director clips daily while shooting "Giant") and so much more.

Make sure to bring some cash when traveling to Marfa. Many of the smaller restaurants only accept cash and this includes breakfast at Hotel Paisano which sells a variety of burritos in the bar area for $5 each.

The hotel is a non-smoking hotel and there is no elevator on-site. Complimentary locally-made Big Bend Coffee Roasters is available alongside a Keurig in every room.

Hotel Paisano is pet-friendly. You may even find the resident Beagle roaming the lobby during the day. Word is that he belongs to the general manager. He's a friendly fella. Make sure to stop and give him a back scratch.

Jett's Grill and Bar provides a full menu and bar. Treat yourself with the 12 oz. Black Angus GIANT burger and have a seat in the courtyard while sampling one of their house margaritas.

In case you missed it:

How to act like a local in Marfa, Texas (Part 1: Prada Marfa)

Venture onward:

How to act like a local in Marfa, Texas (Part 3: Eat like a local)

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