The Autograph Collection by Marriott is a “soft brand” with a number of iconic historical properties and one of these is the ornate Hotel Paso Del Norte located in El Paso, Texas.
On a recent road trip across the vast state of Texas, we decided to give this property a shot. In this review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the property.
Table of Contents
Booking Hotel Paso Del Norte
This hotel stay came at the very end of a two week long road trip across the state of Texas where we were visiting family and also documenting sites related to the JFK assassination.
Interestingly, El Paso actually had a key site that I did not know about until we stumbled upon it: the Hotel Cortez.
Located just a block away from the Hotel Paso Del Norte, it was in this building that JFK met with others in the summer of 1963 and made the decision to come back to visit in November which would be when the assassination took place in Dallas.
We paid cash for this booking and earned 5,278 points for the stay. The nightly rate was $175 and valet parking was only $25 per night.
The Hotel Paso Del Norte is currently a category four which in my opinion is a steal because staying here for 25,000 points per night is definitely a bargain.
Location overview: Downtown El Paso
Hotel Paso Del Norte is located in the center of Downtown El Paso.
It’s located right by a number of big attractions including:
- Abraham Chavez Theatre
- El Paso Convention And Performing Art Center
- El Paso Museum of Art
- San Jacinto Plaza
- Southwest University Park
- El Paso Museum of History
We were only here for one night and limited our dining options to those inside the hotel so we didn’t get a chance to really explore nearby restaurants. However, it did look like there were quite a few options.
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Opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1912, the Hotel Paso Del Norte is an extremely historic hotel.
The original vision of the property came from a prominent local businessman, Zack White, and he intended to create a “first-class hotel that would attract people to the Southwest.”
It was super expensive to build back in the day ($1.5 million) in part because it was so ornate but also because it was designed to be structurally sound enough to endure earthquakes.
It’s a hotel that through the decades many US presidents have stayed at (FDR, George Bush, Hoover, etc.) along with countless influential figures and celebrities.
Interestingly, LBJ also stayed at this hotel and we were visiting his ranch in the Texas Hill Country earlier in the morning the day we checked in. Pretty cool.
Given all the notable people that stayed at this property, it’s no surprise that the property, once called the “Showplace of the Southwest,” was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1979.
In 1986, a 17-story tower was aded on the north side of the hotel, giving the hotel a much more prominent appearance.
The property recently underwent a major renovation when it joined the Autograph Collection in October of 2020.
We had only stayed at one Autograph Collection property (the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas) so it was exciting to try another location and see what it had to offer.
Check in was truly a delightful experience.
Very friendly staff greeted us at the entrance to assist us with unloading our luggage and putting it on a luggage cart.
As we entered the hotel, I was thoroughly impressed with the beautiful birdcage light fixtures and grand staircase.
At the check-in desk, we were offered waters and champagne which we decided to partake in.
According to some, this is a “4 1/2 star hotel” which I don’t think I had ever seen before.
Although I will say with that frame of reference, the designation did makes sense to me by the end of the stay.
The staff confirmed that we would have a complimentary breakfast due to Marriott Titanium status and they also issued us a $10 food and beverage credit which we would end up using at the restaurant.
We were then shown to the elevator which at the time was getting work done.
This would mean that we would end up using the service elevator half the time which honestly I thought was cool because it gave us a bit of a behind the scenes look at the hotel.
After doing so much research on the 13th floor at hotels, I thought it was pretty funny that we were finally given a room on the 13th floor and at that it was room number 13.
Our room was a spacious king room with a great view.
The views especially came alive at sunrise.
The bed and bedding were very comfortable and I had a great night’s sleep on our last night in Texas.
You’ll definitely feel the Southwest-El Paso vibes when you stay at this hotel, as it is hard to ignore the floor to ceiling map of El Paso behind your headboard and Southwest accents found throughout the room.
Personally, I love when hotels exude some type of distinct personality and that was the case with the Hotel Paso Del Norte. Everything down to the robes had a bit of Southwest flair to it.
On each side of the bed you could find a nightstand with a lamp. Each nightstand had two outlets and two USB ports although only one outlet worked on my side of the bed. That was all I needed those since now I use a multi port charger for scenarios just like this.
One thing that I really liked about this hotel is that it really knows how to brand itself. You’ll see the name all over the place including on the custom stationary, the phone, room key, water bottles, etc.
On the other side of the bed you’ll find the alarm clock and remote control.
When I wasn’t using my multi-port charger, I simply utilized a USB condom to charge my device without worry.
There is a decent sized desk facing the TV for you to get some work done. You’ll also find outlets and USB ports on the desk, along with one of those old-school lamps.
In the corner of the room you’ll find a nice chair along with a small table and lamp. I took a couple of conference calls here and was able to relax and enjoy the view while taking care of some business.
Next to the entrance of the room, there was a cabinet with a mini fridge, coffee maker, and a couple of bottles of hotel-branded water. This property is one of the few that I’ve ever seen offer chamomile tea in the room which was a nice surprise as a big tea drinker.
Once again, more solid branding.
At one point, we requested four more water bottles and they brought them up properly without any questions which was just another instance of great service during our stay.
Next to the mini fridge cabinet you will find the wardrobe with an iron, iron board, safe, and a very interesting Southwest style robe.
Overall, the room, while offering a unique type of Southwest Texan charm, did not have that five star feel to it which is why I think the 4.5 star hotel rating is probably pretty accurate.
The bathroom was spacious and modern. There were no issues with water temperature, water pressure, toiletries, etc.
The hotel has a few different dining options.
- Sabor Cocina / Tequileria / Panaderia
- 1700° (steakhouse)
- El Mirador
- The Dome Bar
Although we did not order one of the pre-prohibition style cocktails, we did check out The Dome Bar which was truly a gorgeous setting with a Tiffany-style, stained glass dome over twenty-five feet in diameter.
It’s truly a sight to behold and they also serve up lite American bites so even if you don’t drink you can enjoy a light meal down there.
We were not able to try out 1700° which is the highly rated steakhouse but we did enjoy a meal at Sabor Cocina.
We tried out two appetizers: guacamole and the tuna tartare. We were not feeling the tuna tartare (the restaurant happily took it off our bill) but the guacamole was fantastic and had a nice little kick to it.
We also ordered a pizza which was extra cheesy and delicious, especially at the end of such a long road trip.
There’s also the coffee shop: Dulce. It’s a bakery café and gelateria offering barista-quality coffees and fresh baked goods. You can also grab pre-made salads, sandwiches, and house-made Gelato.
The breakfast at this hotel is definitely a highlight. If you are Marriott Platinum or above you can enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet.
(Apparently, the hotel offers a pretty amazing Sunday brunch every week and for $39 you can enjoy the buffet plus unlimited mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.)
The buffet had a lot of options including things I rarely ever see at a hotel buffet like fried chicken and waffles.
Gym & Pool
The gym is located up on the 10th floor and is a very nice looking gym with plenty of cardio equipment and free weights.
I really love hotel gyms with great views and this gym does not disappoint, especially from the treadmills. You should have a great view of the sunrise (if you are okay with hitting the gym that early).
The gym has plenty of towels in it as well as lots of water bottles.
The rooftop terrace pool is another highlight of the hotel. It’s not huge but the downtown views (with mountain backdrops) are amazing and I’m pretty sure it’s a heated pool.
The pool is connected to the terrace that also is part of the rooftop bar, El Mirador. So you can relax out here in the evenings and take in a pretty awesome view of downtown El Paso. There’s a spa and cigar shop up there as well.
Something that is kind of crazy about this property is that in 1914, it was popular for people to watch firefights between the revolutionaries and the Mexican Army from this terrace.
You can only imagine the type of sights and sounds spectators witnessed from up here.
The rooftop bar El Mirador, which serves tapas, was not open during the morning when we visited the terrace so I was only able to snap a photo from the outside. But it has this really cool speakeasy type of feel to it from what I can tell.
Overall, I was a major fan of this property. It’s a great addition to the esteemed Autograph Collection and the fact that it is a category four is also fantastic. The service never let me down and the views and facilities were definitely on point so I would recommend this hotel to anyone going through El Paso.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.