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History

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A hotel worthy of its history

Handbuilt by European craftsmen in the early 20th-century, The Adolphus was the passion project of Anheuser-Busch cofounder Adolphus Busch. The German immigrant had made his brewing fortune in St. Louis throughout the late 1800s, but saw Dallas as the city of the future. He began investing in the booming Texas real estate market in the early 1900s. And in 1912, he debuted the city’s first true luxury hotel, modeling the building on a Germanic castle, only taller: The 22-story tower remained the state’s tallest building for a decade.

Since opening, the Beaux-Arts hotel has welcomed such esteemed guests as presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, as well as British royalty, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

For more than 100 years, The Adolphus has been a Dallas icon, playing an incontrovertible role in the city’s history and culture. Now, following an extensive renovation, The Adolphus is inviting in a new generation of discerning, cultured travelers who will appreciate both the extraordinary narrative and luxe, contemporary touches that set The Adolphus apart from the rest.

1910 to 1912

1910 to 1912

A Grand Vision

Beer magnate Adolphus Busch sets out to build the first luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Dallas. Architects were commissioned to design the property in the elegant style of the Ecole de Beaux Arts, which emphasized classical forms and features, elaborate details, brazen ornamentation and heavy masonry.

Adolphus Hotel Iconic Key.

For a tune of $1.87 million—or roughly $50 million in today’s dollars—The Adolphus debuted on Oct. 5, 1912.

1920s to 1930s

1920s to 1930s

Strike Up the Band

When the 19th-floor Century Room opened, the venue became a national sensation in an era of big band music and bootlegged whiskey. The most sought-after entertainers, including the Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Harry James, performed for standing-room only audiences

1930s

1930s

Live From the Studio

KRLD radio began broadcasting live from The Adolphus in 1936, with a steady stream of stars and celebrities flocking to Dallas for in-studio appearances, such as Bob Hope and Kate Smith.

1940s

1940s

Ice Queen

For 35 years starting in 1930, The Adolphus housed a retractable ice rink used for touring revues in the grand Century Room. In 1943, The Adolphus hired former speed skating powerhouse and Broadway on Ice legend, Dorothy Franey. She choreographed, directed, produced and starred in her “Dot Franey Ice Revue” show that opened in October of that year and ran for more than a dozen years afterward.

1950s

1950s

Window to the World

Just a short drive from The Adolphus is the Neiman Marcus flagship, which began its themed fortnights in the 1950s. From Bavaria to China, the store was transformed into a two-week celebration bringing the country of origin to live in the store. On every floor, Neiman Marcus showcased food, performances, animals and artisans, giving Dallas a glimpse of some of the finest goods and destinations on Earth.

Adolphus Hotel Iconic Key.

Coco Chanel even made her very first visit to Texas to take part in the department store’s first fortnight, “France Comes to Texas,” in October 1957.

1970s

1970s

Aloha From Dallas

The Adolphus has long celebrated Hawaiian culture. In the 1940s, the Century Room was completely renovated to feature tropical murals and live palms, and in the 1970s, the Century Room reopened with an act called “Meteliko.” A Hawaiian singer accompanied by five Hula dancers would perform, followed by a fire-and-knife drummer, Enoka Fetui, and the Johnny Scat Davis Band.

1980s

1980s

A New Era

In the 1980s, Dallas-based Began & Shelmire Architects restored The Adolphus to its dignified mantle as the hotel to beat in North Texas. During this time, The Adolphus counted dignified guests including presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, as well as First Ladies Rosalyn Carter and Barbara Bush as VIP guests.

1991

1991

Fit for a Queen

Buckingham Palace selected The Adolphus for the official state visit when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip traveled to Dallas in 1991. At their request, the Queen and the Duke were formally introduced to every staff member who personally served them during their stay, and the
Queen, in a show of gratitude, gifted an official portrait to be hung in the hotel lobby.

2016-2018

2016-2018

New Beginnings

The first luxury hotel in Dallas underwent an extensive two-year renovation starting in 2016. Helmed by local Dallas creative and design firm SWOON the Studio in partnership with Makeready, the multimillion dollar refresh included careful historical restoration work. During this time, The Adolpus also inked a deal with Marriott to enter the brand’s luxurious Autograph Collection portfolio of highly distinct properties.

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