Talk about historic.
This venerable hotel stands just behind the Alamo, where, in 1836, Col. William B. Travis, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and a ragtag band of settlers, Texians and Tejanos fought valiantly for 13 days before being slaughtered by the vastly superior forces of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
You can practically smell blackpowder and hear the roar of cannons from the aptly named Crockett Hotel in downtown San Antonio.
“Just 19 steps and across the street and you’re at the back entrance of the Alamo,” says Ernesto Malacara, spokesman for both the Crockett and Menger hotels.
Although the land on which the Crockett would eventually be built was converted from agricultural to commercial use after the Texas Revolution, the Order of Odd Fellows did not build the six-story hotel until 1909, utilizing the top two floors for lodge purposes. The building’s seventh-story west wing was added in 1927. The hotel and its 138 guest rooms were completely renovated in 2007.
One of the most striking features of the Crockett today is its seven-story-high atrium, created when the hotel enclosed its outdoor courtyard in the 1980s. The atrium, a signature space in downtown San Antonio, is as elegant as it is lofty.
Lyndon Baines Johnson and his bride, Lady Bird, spent their honeymoon night at the Crockett in 1934, general manager Bill Brendel tells True West. Today, the Lady Bird Johnson Fountain splashes merrily on Crockett Street, just outside the hotel’s windows.
Ernie’s Bar offers a selection of Texas-made beers, including the popular Ziegenbock, made “for Texans by Texans.” The bar also features two made-in-Texas vodkas: Enchanted Rock and Tito’s. But the bar’s signature drink, Malacara says, may well be its mango pineapplemartini, made with Haagen-Dazs mango sorbet.
After you’ve thrown back a few of those, head a block away for a stroll along San Antonio’s renowned River Walk and its many restaurants.
John Stanley, the Arizona Wildlife Federation’s 2007 Conservation Media Champion, is a former travel reporter and photographer for The Arizona Republic.