Conrad Hilton’s first high-rise hotel, complete in 1930, is now home to El Paso’s most authentic experience, The Plaza Pioneer Park Hotel, completed April 2020. Business tycoon and owner Paul Foster of Franklin Mountain Management purchased the abandoned hotel with the goal of restoring its original beauty. Now housing 130 rooms and suites, the historic renovation adds a modern border vibe to the fully restored historic ballroom, atrium, and meeting rooms.
Beckoning El Paso’s border culture, the ForrestPerkins design team reimagined the hotel to meet modern-day demands of social gathering, a food-centric destination, and the border’s craft tequila scene. Breaking the paradigm of following historic plans to the letter, the designers used the expansive original historic lobby to craft a new bar and restaurant venue. The seventeenth-floor penthouse—once home to Elizabeth Taylor—now boasts El Paso’s chicest rooftop bar. And what was once the hotel’s street-front retail stores underwent extensive foundation work to create new reception, lobby, and library spaces.
Pueblo Deco influence carries through the public and guest areas, creating modern luxury balanced with West Texas artistry. Using a collection of historic resources with a palette of rich walnut wood, velvet and mohair fabrics, warm brass metals, and hand-tooled leather, the interior design feels crafted, honoring Hilton’s original vision. Public gathering spaces have stately features such as floating mahogany clouds, a grand fireplace, leather-wrapped portals, and teardrop light fixtures. Larger-than-life curio cabinets line the lobby and library space and feature an expansive collection of historic books, antique paintings from Mexico, and an eclectic collection of relics creating a place for locals to come home to.
Guests will journey among these dynamic experiences that celebrate artistry, diversity, history, and West Texas border culture. Local and Mexican artists were commissioned to create public-area and gues-troom art embracing the authentic story and the important relationship El Paso holds with Mexico. Conrad Hilton described the 1930 hotel’s opening party as a night where everybody called everybody by their first name. That notion provided a north star to guide our design teams. We hope guests and locals alike feel that sense of convivial atmosphere, where all are welcomed and celebrated, for the next century.