CONCEPT: When Dallas-based Duncan & Miller Design was appointed to handle the renovation of the La Posada Hotel in Laredo, TX, the goal was to maintain the hotel’s historic Spanish influence but also bring a fresh, more contemporary feel to the entire property. Set on the banks of the Rio Grande River, the building was constructed in 1916 and was originally the city’s first high school before being converted to a hotel in 1961.
“The hotel is very well-known in Texas so the owners wanted to be sure the renovation continued the property’s connection to the surrounding culture and that it disrupted the guests as little as possible,” said Turner Duncan, owner, Duncan & Miller Design and partner on the project.
EXECUTION: The renovation began with the La Posada’s 206 guestrooms, which include 58 suites and 22 concierge club rooms. “For the guestrooms, we took a fresh approach that incorporated the flavor of the area, but at the same time was not overly themed,” said Chad Rogers, senior interior designer, Duncan & Miller and lead designer for the renovation. The hotels previous furniture that was dark solid pine was replaced with more contemporary custom furniture including an enlarged desk that would be better suited for business travelers. A neutral color palette accented with bold red tones was used and colorful fabrics paid homage to the hotel’s Spanish influence.
The most significant change to the rooms however was the guest bathrooms, which were enlarged as part of the refurbishment. “We realized the footprint of the bathrooms wasn’t suited for today’s travelers,” said Rogers. “The bathroom has become a very important feature, so we gutted them completely and made them larger.” The new bathrooms now include six-foot vanities with double sinks as well as all new plumbing and lighting.
The lobby of the La Posada was also completely redone to move away from its previously dark and antique look in favor of a rich red and gold color palette, marble flooring, stained glass and brighter furniture. “The front desk was not functional enough so we created a brand new one and relocated the lobby traffic from the center to the far corner so guests have a better sense of arrival,” said Duncan. The restaurant was also opened up in an effort to connect more with the energy of the lobby. “The entire floor is basically brand new from floor to ceiling.”
RESULT: The renovation celebrates the hotel’s history and has also left it well-positioned for a new generation of travelers, according to Gene Belmares, director of marketing at the hotel, who noted even La Posada’s most loyal guests are thrilled with the finished product. “We host a large number of family reunions every year and everyone has been amazed. The historic façade of the hotel basically remained the same, but when they open the doors and see the bright colors and new design the response is fantastic.”
Project Owner: Fasken Oil & Ranch
Designer: Duncan & Miller Design
Project Cost: $15 million
Theme/Influence: Spanish contemporary
Signature Features: Stained glass, wood and marble lobby; enlarged marble bathrooms; custom-designed case goods; Colonial architecture
Purchasing Agent: N/A
Major Vendors: Templeton Hospitality Carpets, Valley Forge, Duralee, Mason Contract, Sealy, Unilight, P. Kaufman, Integra, NE Textiles, Kimball Hospitality, Neil Allen