Hotel Valencia Riverwalk Completes $10 Million Renovation

Share Article

Iconic boutique hotel undergoes the first major renovation in its 14-year history

The library inside Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

"Today, Valencia Group has invested an additional $10 million into Hotel Valencia Riverwalk to create a completely new hotel experience and reset the bar for the entire San Antonio hospitality industry," says Roy Kretschmer, Executive VP of Operations.

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk has just completed a dramatic transformation with the first major renovation in the boutique hotel’s 14-year history. The hotel, long recognized for its distinctive sleek and modern style, has been completely reimagined by internationally acclaimed architect and designer, Lauren Rottet. The renovation was completed in late April 2017.

Rottet, along with her team at Rottet Studio, immediately envisioned an opportunity to fully immerse the property into the charm and heritage of San Antonio and the hotel’s serene River Walk location. The resulting design concept is an alluring blend of Spanish Colonial and Modern Mediterranean styles. The Spanish Colonial influence represents a nod to San Antonio’s Spanish Colonial heritage dating back to the time the Missions were built, while the Modern Mediterranean flair reflects the building’s Tuscan-style architecture and the hotel’s namesake, Valencia, Spain.

“On January 19, 2003 – almost exactly 14 years ago -- Hotel Valencia opened its doors as the first boutique hotel in San Antonio, thus launching a trend that has transformed the downtown hospitality landscape,” said Roy Kretschmer, Executive Vice President of Operations for Valencia Group. “Today, Valencia Group has invested an additional $10 million into Hotel Valencia Riverwalk to create a completely new hotel experience and reset the bar for the entire San Antonio hospitality industry.”

Top-to-Bottom Transformation
The top-to-bottom renovation incorporates warm, rustic woods, elegant ironwork, hand-crafted tiles and textiles that reflect the design sensibilities of Spanish Colonial style, along with the color palette and elegance of Modern Mediterranean design. The public spaces on the hotel’s second floor showcase the most dramatic part of the makeover, with a complete reimagining of the former restaurant and bar into the new Dorrego’s restaurant and bar and the new Naranja breakfast space and bar.

“This new incarnation of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk represents the next chapter for this unique and very special property,” said General Manager Trent Freeman. “Our completely reimagined approach to providing timeless hospitality and modern luxury is enticing visitors and locals alike to come and enjoy a hospitality experience unlike any other in San Antonio.”

The Entrance
New lighting on the front columns, flanked by olive trees in large over-scale pots, makes the entrance more dramatic and prominent. Just inside the entrance is a redesigned fountain with a new water feature that is more visible than before. This is an inviting area where people can relax for a moment if they wish before going up to the second floor lobby. The risers on the steps feature hand-stenciled designs reflecting the Spanish Colonial style. On the wall next to the elevators are four black and white mosaic-patterned cow skulls created by Shannon House of “Of the Earth Boutique” based in Northern California.

The Reception Area
The reception desk, now more visible from the stairs and elevator, is a statement piece – a custom hand-carved desk featuring scalloped detailing. Behind the front desk the Alhambra-style plaster treatment, called Esgrafiado, utilizes a historic technique widely used in Spanish Colonial design. This stamped process creates a three-dimensional relief on the featured wall. Typically, the impression is used on an exterior façade, but here it is utilized on the interior. A laser-cut leather tapestry created by Miami-based Artehide is hung on the wall opposite the front desk. Columns throughout the second floor are cladded in warm walnut woods.

The new restaurant, Dorrego’s, is named for the famed Plaza Dorrego, a public square located in the historic San Telmo neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Plaza Dorrego is filled with cafes, bars and pubs, and is a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s Executive Chef, Anthony Mesa, has developed an innovative new menu for Dorrego’s that draws its inspiration from the rich culinary heritage of Argentina. An extensive wine list, which includes a wide variety of Argentinean wines, is a focal point for diners. The restaurant’s décor reflects the Spanish Colonial design and architectural heritage of Argentina, with a touch of Parisian bistro panache. It features Argentinean-style tile work and woods with dark metal accents. The new dining space includes a private dining area that showcases a tin tile ceiling, a dramatic chandelier and a glassed-in floor-to-ceiling wine storage display that separates the private room from the main dining area. Dorrego’s also features a new restaurant bar, and the welcoming space is ideal for gathering and lingering.

“Dorrego’s menu captures the unique blend of Italian and Spanish cultures that is the cornerstone of Argentina’s heritage and cuisine,” noted Kretschmer. “As a result of a major influx of Italian immigrants to Argentina over the years, Argentina’s cultural roots lie in both Spain and Italy. Hotel Valencia Riverwalk and Dorrego’s personify this distinctive fusion in both the hotel’s design and in the restaurant’s offerings.”

At 10 p.m. nightly, Dorrego’s amps up the energy, with the focus centered on its expansive bar setting. The dinner menu offerings are supplanted with a late night small bites menu that guests can enjoy along with cocktails, wine and beer.

Dorrego’s appealing terrace features additional seating topped with comfortable Spanish/Mediterranean-style cushions and hand-crafted mosaic café tables. The outdoor space also features a rustic large-scale wooden table with benches. The terrace features numerous planter pots, which blend the space into its tranquil River Walk setting.

Naranja, the New Bar and Café
The former VBar has been transformed into Naranja, the new bar and café. This re-energized space is now enveloped in Modern Mediterranean flair. Among its features are a hammered metal ceiling, Mediterranean-style textiles and hexagonal porcelain tiles and hardwoods on the floor. In the evenings, the space offers an ideal spot to meet over cocktails and small bites in a laid-back setting. In the mornings, the bar becomes a café featuring specialty coffees and a complimentary European-style continental breakfast for hotel guests.

Other public spaces on the second floor

The Library
Rottet Studio has created a new library space where the former registration desk was located. This cozy space is reminiscent of an old-school cigar lounge at a gentlemen’s club, with wood paneling and wood shutters. Two dramatic paintings of sensuous tango dancers grace the walls. Artist Maksim Koloskov was commissioned to paint a map of historic downtown San Antonio on the spines of the books in the bookcase spanning one wall of the library. On the opposite wall, a grouping of artistic black and white photos showcase the graceful bridges of San Antonio’s River Walk.

The Living Room
The central area of the lobby, which formerly featured a “Candle Wall” and cozy seating, now features a dramatic wrought iron chandelier and inviting Spanish Colonial-style furnishings and seating. A welcoming fireplace flanked by wrought iron scones replaces the previous “Candle Wall.”

Guest rooms showcase Spanish Colonial design
The focal point of the redesigned guest rooms is the curved iron headboards. This rustic style is reminiscent of San Antonio’s Mission-based Spanish Colonial influence. New bathroom vanities with a custom gray-brown wood stain, integrated mirror and bronze fittings were designed specifically for the hotel.

About Lauren Rottet and Rottet Studio
Lauren Rottet is one of the most celebrated interior architects in the world today. She is the only woman in history to be elevated to Fellow status by both the American Institute of Architects and International Interior Design Association.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Texas with Highest Honors, the Waco, Texas, native began her career in San Francisco, where she practiced with the accomplished residential design firm Fisher Friedman Associates. She later relocated to Chicago to join Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and focus on high-rise office design. She later transferred to Texas to work as Senior Designer for SOM on several major high-rise buildings, museums and planning projects. Next, she started an Interiors practice for SOM in Los Angeles. After successfully building that practice, Rottet and several SOM partners joined forces to create the architecture and interiors firm, Keating Mann Jernigan Rottet. The partners later joined Daniel Mann Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM) to further expand their growing practice. Rottet was Principal-in-Charge of the interiors practice, DMJM Rottet, for 14 years. In 2008, she left DMJM to form the privately held, WBE-certified, Rottet Studio.

Today, Rottet Studio is an international architecture and design firm with an extensive portfolio of corporate and hospitality projects for the world’s leading companies and brands. The firm is consistently ranked among the corporate and hospitality Top 100 Design Giants by Interior Design magazine and was recently recognized as one of the Top 3 Most Admired Design Firms in the World.

About Valencia Group
Houston-based Valencia Group is a fully integrated hospitality company that provides management, development, branding and repositioning services for independent, full-service hotels owned by the company, in addition to third parties. Exceptional service, style and location have become brand trademarks. Earning both national and international recognition for their distinctive designs, amenities and settings, Valencia Group properties are destinations and gathering places within their respective communities, some further benefitting from and enriching their space within the cultural heart of a city. The company continues to forge a niche with hotels that anchor and add value to urban, mixed-use environments, which further support or enhance the guest experience with superior residential, restaurant, retail and office components. The Valencia Group portfolio currently includes the Valencia brands: Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, CA and Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. The Sorella brand includes Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE in Houston, TX by developer Midway. The court concept brands include Lone Star Court in Austin, TX and Midway and Valencia Group’s Cavalry Court in College Station, TX. New openings in 2017 will include: Midway and Valencia Group’s The George™ in College Station, TX and Midway’s Hotel Alessandra in Houston, TX. For more information, please visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Amy Trench

Blithe Wiley