Our boutique amenities like an urban coffee shop, restaurant, and bar, lending library, and on-site Art & History Collection make our independent property a truly unique hotel experience in downtown San Antonio Riverwalk
Converted into a hotel more than 40 years ago, our historic property has witnessed San Antonio’s growth into a thriving economic and cultural hub. To pay homage to the city’s rich history, the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel has installed an array of photomurals tracing San Antonio’s exciting development. This timeline dates back to the 1930s and can be seen on each floor of the hotel, accompanied by dates and descriptions. Each of the archival photos was retrieved from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute of Texas Cultures.
Art lovers will be amazed by the impressive collection of artwork featured throughout our property. Riverwalk Plaza Hotel has been a celebrated art destination since 1996, when we completed the largest indoor mural in Texas on our magnificent driveway. From the lobby to the guestrooms, each area of our hotel doubles as a gallery, displaying its own unique art pieces. The hotel features an extensive collection of works by artists Curtis Wade, Hal Stanford and Doug Jaques – fine art painters and muralists whose skilled works are highly sought after.
History of the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel
Built in the 1920s and originally advertised as the “finest hotel in the South,” the 12-story Plaza Hotel featured a rooftop restaurant, ballroom, 500 guest rooms and the city's “largest open space for dancing.” Many famous people of the day stayed at the Plaza Hotel, including movie stars, sports stars and even the notorious Al Capone.
The Plaza Hotel’s garage was built on the corner of Soledad and Villita Street, and a miniature golf course occupied its entire roof. When the garage building was about a year old, the Montgomery Ward department store set up shop there. Ultimately, this garage would become the site of the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel.
The Plaza Hotel was eventually sold to Hilton Hotel Properties in 1956, and today the building is used as an apartment complex. The site where Riverwalk Plaza Hotel stands used to be an island separated from the land by the San Antonio River. This island – named Galveston Island, then Bowen's Island, then Central Park – disappeared in 1926, when the river channel was straightened as a flood control measure.
Learn more about the fascinating history of the original Plaza Hotel here
About the San Antonio Riverwalk
Designed at the age of 27 by visionary architect Robert H. H. Hugman, The San Antonio Riverwalk was officially completed on March 13, 1941. It contained 17,000 feet of new sidewalks, 31 stairways, three dams, 4,000 trees, shrubs, and plants, and numerous benches of stone, cement and cedar.
For several decades the Riverwalk failed to become a popular attraction, and many considered the area to be dangerous after dark. The turning point happened in 1968 thanks to that year’s popular HemisFair event.
Today the San Antonio Riverwalk is celebrated as the crown jewel of Texas, and its water flows stronger and cleaner than it has in decades. Tourists come from far and wide to dine, shop and stroll along its picturesque banks.
Learn more about the fascinating history of the Riverwalk here.
ABOUT CURTIS WADE
Born in 1979 to a family of artists in Sante Fe, Curtis Wade was taught to paint as a child by his uncles and aunt. He began selling his art professionally at the age of 18.
Wade’s painting style varies between realism and impressionism, and some of his works have been compared to Van Gogh’s. Wade often enjoys working in plein air, allowing nature to renew and recharge his creative spirit.
Wade's works can be found in several other galleries around Texas, including Texas Treasures Fine Art in Boerne, Main Plaza and Monte Wade Fine Arts Gallery, here in San Antonio.
ABOUT HAL STANFORD
Hal Stanford was born in San Antonio in 1954. Trained at the prestigious Dallas Art Institute, Stanford made a name for himself by selling paintings of World War I airplanes and natural wonders.
San Antonio’s Lone Star Brewery commissioned Stanford to paint a 1,300-square-foot exterior mural depicting the 100-year history of San Antonio. The locally celebrated project took him one year and two weeks to complete. Stanford went on to paint murals for Sea World, Fiesta Texas and the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel. Our 7,000-square-foot mural depicts a colorful Pacific Mexican Coast scene, drawing tourists from the Riverwalk year-round.
ABOUT DOUG JAQUES
Another prominent local muralist, Doug Jaques’ “funky surrealism” style has earned him praise in San Antonio’s art world. Trained at the John Herron School of Art of Indiana University and the University of Illinois, Jaques has exhibited his work throughout the U.S. and in England. He was named the Austin Chronicle’s “Best in Austin” for the Mural Category (1998, 1999) and received the City of Austin’s “Best in Show” for the Austin Design Award in 1990 and 1993. Working with extra-large canvases, Jaques considers himself a “maximalist” painter.
His work is included in collections at St. Antony College, Oxford; Motorola, Austin, TX; All Saints Episcopal Church, Austin, TX; and Concordia University, Austin, TX.