Paisano Hotel

Never did stay at the Gage, too rich for my blood, but I have a new favorite hotel – in the world: Paisano Hotel in Marfa, TX.

It’s a Trost & Trost Hotel, and at one time, correctly billed itself as the finest hotel between El Paso and San Antonio – arguably famous for housing all the movie stars during the making of the epic film Giant.

I’ve stayed (visited guests) in Austin’s (landmark) San Jose. I can only imagine what Marfa’s Thunderbird is like – same folks, same philosophies. What makes the Paisano different is that not much has changed. There’s a low-flow shower head, but some of the plumbing appears original, replete with rust stains on the tile – West Texas “water” is notorious laden with minerals and saturated with dissolved deposits. Maybe vitamins, too.

The tub in my room had been resurfaced with a process I’m more than passing familiar with, sort of a spray-on “new bath enamel,” which, to be honest, doesn’t really work over time. However, with proper adjustment, the shower proved plentiful and warm, and the next room? When they flushed, the water in my shower didn’t sear.

I listened while a departing patron complained bitterly. It’s not the Ritz. It’s a defunct cow-town, off the beaten track, in the middle of gods’ know where. Partially updated. There isn’t, like, a Home Depot or Wal-Mart within a hundred miles. There’s a cowboy store and a world class art installation, if you’re into that crap (I am).

It’s way better than a ‘Motel 8’ or ‘La Fonda’ and about the same price. Eccentric in its way.

Highly recommended for the discriminating traveler who no longer wants to camp out, and favors local color and charm over homogenized, sanitized, plastic-wrapped sameness. Not recommended for people who can’t abide a few, local oddities and certainly not recommended by anyone who doesn’t understand a remote location.

On my previous visit, the James Dean suite was still shod in burnt-orange “sculpted” shag carpet. That’s a real history of style.

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