Steeped in the rich traditions of San Antonio, The Gunter Hotel has remained not only a prominent downtown fixture but a part of the city's unique heritage, as well.
Just one year after the battle and fall of the Alamo, the Frontier Inn lit its kerosene lamps and opened its doors to the waves of new settlers surging in from the East. The Inn had the best location in the center of a bustling town that sprawled comfortably along the banks of the winding San Antonio River.
In 1851, the Vance brothers purchased the Frontier Hotel for $500 and replaced the hotel with a two-story building that the Army could lease to house troops stationed in San Antonio. The facility continued to serve as a military headquarters until 1872 when the building was returned to the Vances.
The first railroad arrived in San Antonio in 1877 and increased business 100 percent. Now known as the Vance Hotel, guests could be taken by horse-car from the train depot to the hotel for five cents. Once there, they would relax in first-class accommodations for $2 per day.
Having arrived in San Antonio from Germany only four years earlier, Ludwig Mahncke and Lesher A. Trexler took over the Vance Hotel. Trexler had spent years as a hotelier and knew how to attract both successful businessmen and cattlemen from the Southwest to the Mahncke Hotel.
Officially opening on November 20, 1909, the eight-story, 301 room hotel of steel, concrete and buff brick was the largest building ever built in San Antonio. The Gunter Hotel was named for its investor, Jot Gunter. In 1917, a ninth story was added. Then, in 1926, three more stories were added, with the “Gunter Roof” crowning the new annex.
HemisFair ’68, San Antonio’s World’s Fair, opened on April 6, 1968 and began welcoming millions of visitors. HemisFair put the city’s best foot forward for all the world to see! The Gunter Hotel was instrumental in transforming San Antonio into one of America’s great cities.
In July 1989, the historic Gunter Hotel first joined the global network of Sheraton Hotels. At the time, it was only the fourth historic hotel in the United States to join the Sheraton organization.
Following the completion of an eight million dollar renovation, the famed Gunter Hotel was rededicated in November 1999. Hotel staff released helium balloons with a key to the hotel’s front door attached symbolizing that the Gunter Hotel would continue to provide uninterrupted service to San Antonio visitors.
Today, the historic Sheraton Gunter Hotel offers 322 guest rooms and continues to be a popular destination for visitors to San Antonio.