Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is undergoing a dramatic transformation with the first major renovation in the boutique hotel’s 14-year history. The hotel, long recognized for its distinctive sleek and modern style, is being completely reimagined by internationally acclaimed architect and designer, Lauren Rottet. The renovation is scheduled to be completed in mid-March 2017.
Rottet, along with her team at Rottet Studio, immediately envisioned an opportunity to fully immerse the property into the charm and heritage of San Antonio and the hotel’s serene River Walk location. The resulting design concept is an alluring 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, Valencia, Spain.
“On January 19, 2003 – almost exactly 14 years ago — Hotel Valencia opened its doors as the first boutique hotel in San Antonio, thus launching a trend that has transformed the downtown hospitality landscape,” said Roy Kretschmer, Executive Vice President of Operations for Valencia Group. “Today, Valencia Group is investing an additional $10 million into Hotel Valencia Riverwalk to create a completely new hotel experience and reset the bar for the entire San Antonio hospitality industry.”
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 are receiving the most dramatic makeover, with a complete reimagining of the former restaurant and bar, Citrus and VBar.
“This new incarnation of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk represents the next chapter for this unique and very special property,” said General Manager Trent Freeman. “Our completely reimagined approach to providing timeless hospitality and modern luxury will entice visitors and locals alike to come and enjoy a hospitality experience unlike any other in San Antonio.”
New lighting on the front columns, flanked by citrus trees in large over-scale pots, will make the entrance more dramatic and prominent. Just inside the entrance is a redesigned fountain with a new water feature that is more visible than before. This is an inviting area where people can relax for a moment if they wish before going up to the second floor lobby. On the wall next to the elevators are four black and white mosaic-patterned cow skulls created by Shannon House of “Of the Earth Boutique” based in Northern California.
The Reception Area
The reception desk, now more visible from the stairs and elevator, is a statement piece – a custom hand-carved desk featuring scalloped detailing. Behind the front desk the Alhambra-style plaster treatment, called Esgrafiado, utilizes a historic technique widely used in Spanish Colonial design. This stamped process creates a three-dimensional relief on the featured wall. Typically, the impression is used on an exterior façade, but here it is utilized on the interior. A laser-cut leather tapestry created by Miami-based Artehide is hung on the wall opposite the front desk. Columns throughout the second floor are cladded in warm walnut woods.
The new restaurant, Dorrego, is named for the famed Plaza Dorrego, a public square located in the historic San Telmo neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Plaza Dorrego is filled with cafes, bars and pubs, and is a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike.
Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s Executive Chef, Anthony Mesa, is developing an innovative new menu for Dorrego that draws its inspiration from the rich culinary heritage of Argentina. An extensive wine list, which includes a wide variety of Argentinean wines, will be a focal point for diners. The restaurant’s décor reflects the Spanish Colonial design and architectural heritage of Argentina, with a touch of Parisian bistro panache. It features Argentinean-style tile work and woods with dark metal accents. The new dining space includes a private dining area that showcases a Talavera Mexican tile accent wall, a tin tile ceiling and a dramatic chandelier. Dorrego also features a new restaurant bar, and the welcoming space is ideal for gathering and lingering.
“Dorrego’s menu will capture the unique blend of Italian and Spanish cultures that is the cornerstone of Argentina’s heritage and cuisine,” noted 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.”
Dorrego’s appealing terrace features additional seating topped with comfortable Spanish/Mediterranean-style cushions. The terrace features numerous planter pots, which blend the space into its tranquil River Walk setting.
New Bar and Café
The former VBar is being transformed into a soon-to-be-renamed bar and café. This re-energized space is now enveloped in Modern Mediterranean flair. Among its features are a hammered metal ceiling, Mediterranean-style textiles and hexagonal porcelain tiles and hardwoods on the floor. In the evenings, the space remains an ideal spot to meet over cocktails and small bites in the evening. In the mornings, the bar becomes a café featuring specialty coffees and a complimentary European-style continental breakfast for hotel guests.
Other public spaces on the second floor
Rottet Studio has created a new library space where the former registration desk was located. This cozy space is reminiscent of an old-school cigar lounge at a gentlemen’s club, 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 River Walk.
The Living Room
The central area of the lobby, which formerly featured a “Candle Wall” and cozy seating, now features a dramatic wrought iron chandelier and inviting Spanish Colonial-style furnishings and seating. A welcoming fireplace flanked by wrought iron scones replaces the previous “Candle Wall.”
Guest rooms showcase Spanish Colonial design
The focal point of the redesigned guest rooms is the curved iron headboards. This rustic style is reminiscent of San Antonio’s Mission-based Spanish Colonial influence. New bathroom vanities with a custom gray-brown wood stain, integrated mirror and bronze fittings were designed specifically for the hotel.