What’s Old Is New Again at This Re-imagined 1940s Motel By Brackenridge Park

Credit: JoMando Cruz

I can’t resist the come hither blinking of an original neon sign. So, I’ve been watching the one at San Antonio’s iconic Ranch Motel as it reclaimed its flicker recently. 

Credit: JoMando Cruz

Reopened—and relit— at last, the cleverly re-imagined motel on Broadway in Alamo Heights near the Pearl Brewery is the brainchild of consummate hotel lover and reviver of bygone motel/hotels Jayson Seidman. He’s responsible for such relaunched gems as Columns in New Orleans and Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa—and he clearly fell as deeply in love with the footprint and soul of this 1948 beauty as I did. 

Credit: JoMando Cruz

Seidman, with the help of architect Evan Morris and Vida Design Studio, refurbished this historic motor court with the care akin to lightly applying makeup to a beautiful face. That is, the team did as little as possible to alter its perfect bones (think: retaining its tile work, the scalloped edges of desk nooks, its arched ceiling, and preserving its historic, regionally-produced D’Hanis bricks with a sheath of stucco) while still whisking it into the future with contemporary elan. 

Credit: JoMando Cruz

Renaming it The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club, they strategically reoriented the property’s entrance to face the park—rather than the busy thoroughfare—peppering the courtyard with local plants and adding a stunning swimming pool and festive pool bar. A portal leads to an ample field, redeveloped to boast pickleball courts, fire pits, and socializing nooks. 

Credit: JoMando Cruz

Check-in for delights such as the retro Pacman machine, located in the Courtyard King Suite’s living room, the creative frozen cocktails, the Thuma beds, midcentury modern chairs, Parachute linens, and a perfect location near everything you want to do in San Antonio. 

Credit: JoMando Cruz

Top Takeaways

Location: San Antonio

Rating: Four-Star

Food + Drink: The hotel’s lobby, kitted out in a former motel room, features a 24/7 grab-and-go bodega packed with local products. A super exclusive speakeasy-like Mezcal lounge up a flight of stairs features vintage couches and seductively herbaceous libations. The creative cocktail program is run independently with creative alchemist Bryana Garcia at the helm. A pool bar serves up creative cocktails—don’t miss their frozen libations, unlike any drink you’ve swilled on a hot day. Think: a frozen Moscow Mule-ish delight called Broadway Burro and an icy take on a Frenchie: Pomelo Frio, rife with grapefruity bitterness. 

Our Favorite Part of the Hotel: It’s the whole vibe—especially how heyday glamor melds with modern yearnings and whims, such as pickleball courts and mezcalerias. I love the original neon signs, the Hifi/vinyl listening room, and the sparkling pool. The fun fact that Ranch Motel & Leisure Club offers local pool and pickleball memberships also lends the place a buzzy, clubby feel, just the sort of place you might meet that person you’ve been looking for…you know—the one. 

Amenities: Check in, and you’re automatically a member, so grab your pickleball racquet or a pool lounger and join the “leisure club.” Rooms have Thuma beds, Parachute linens, and Le Labo fragrances and bath amenities. Super fun, vintage-style, colorful terrycloth bath and pool robes seal the deal.

What’s Nearby? Everything. The famous River Walk, the vibrant Pearl Brewery entertainment district, all of Alamo Height’s fun restaurants, bakeries, coffeehouses, shops and bars,  Brackenridge Park, Witte Museum, The DoSeum, the McNay Museum,  St. Mary’s Strip, the airport—and so much more. 

Any personal neighborhood recs? An extravaganza of quality restaurants, shops, bars, spas, food vendors, hangout hotspots, and fun. The Historic Pearl, a re-envisioned and brilliantly re-crafted 19th-century brewery complex on the river, is the best example of a retail complex I’ve seen anywhere in the world. It writhes and wriggles with personality and excitement. On a quieter note, art lovers must visit The McNay Museum, born from a private collection set in a 1929 Italianate villa, hung with Dufy, Monet, Picasso, and some 20,000 more masterworks. 

Rooms: 26 guest rooms

Pricing:  Room rates start at $250

Closest Airport: San Antonio International Airport

Other Articles You May Like:

About Hotels Above PAr

My Photo

Subscribe to our newsletter

Privacy Policy