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El Capitan Hotel

El Capitan Hotel is located in southern Texas in the city of Van Horn. Near several national parks, such as Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe National Park, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The property has 50 rooms and has an outer exterior that appears to be constructed with adobe material. Each room has a private bathroom and a king or queen-sized bed. A courtyard with a large fountain joins the hotel and restaurant together. A complimentary breakfast is served at the restaurant to hotel patrons in a continental style. The property has a conference room to hold family reunions, corporate events, and occasionally live bands and small concerts. The establishment is known for its restaurant, and for the architect who constructed the building Henry Straus. The establishment was constructed in the 1930s and has been a hotel, a bank, and various other stores and shops. The staff and owner strive to give guests a memorable experience and to help them relax during their stay.  


The El Capitan Hotel is located in Southwest Texas in the city of Van Horn. Van Horn is in close proximity to the border of Mexico as well as several National Parks. The building is two stories high and has an adobe-like finish on the exterior. On the outside of the property is a relatively large parking lot leading up to a courtyard. The courtyard is landscaped with various flowers and foliage along its sides and in pots. At the center of the courtyard is a large fountain. There are also small trees and a few places to sit. The courtyard joins two parts of the property together, the restaurant and the lodging area of the hotel. At the front of the lodging side of the premises is the main lobby where guests can check in. There are 50 rooms at the hotel. Rooms are evenly distributed between the two floors and are decorated in a similar fashion. 

The inside of the hotel has been described as Southern Texas-style. Near the main lobby is a conference room where guests can reserve the space for parties, business meetings, and family reunions. Another place by the main lobby is a small common area with a fireplace, bookshelves, couches, and a recliner where guests can socialize or read a book. There are four styles of rooms at El Capitan. Courtyard rooms, standard rooms, suites, and ADA-accessible rooms. ADA-accessible rooms are on the first floor and have been remolded in the historic building to give occupants more room to get around. Courtyard rooms have balconies overlooking the courtyard and fountain. Standard rooms have no balcony and are slightly smaller. Suites include a larger balcony with seating overlooking the courtyard and come with extra amenities such as a hairdryer, ironing board, and mini-fridge are included with the room. All rooms have a private bathroom stocked with towels, soaps, and shampoos. All rooms have King or queen-sized beds and come with a TV, clock/radio, free Wi-Fi, internet, microwave, and coffee maker. Rooms are pet-friendly, but patrons are asked to call in advance regarding pets before booking a room. 

National parks and forests are popular attractions for the area and border cities in the region. The Big Bend National Park is the most popular and is just north of the town. Guadalupe National Park is south and is also a relatively large attraction. Additionally, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is nearby. Other attractions in the region include the Texas Mountain Trail and Blue Origin Launches, a company that launches aircraft into space. Aircraft that are sent off can be seen from the hotel. Generally, Blue Origin launches are 15 miles from town. Furthermore, a few popular areas to dine in include Van Horn Cattle Company, Cactus Cantina, Moms Kitchen, and Tortilla Lizy. 


El Capitan staff strive to give guests a memorable experience during their stay. They make an effort to help visitors feel more comfortable. They occasionally have concerts and live performances at the hotel as an activity for guests. They also hold parties for the October festival, Christmas, and Blue Origin launches. The staff has described the atmosphere as a Texas experience and small-town culture. 

As part of guests' stay, they receive a complimentary breakfast. Breakfast is a continental style, with foods such as Texas waffles, yogurt, fruits, breads, cereals, pop tarts, and milk. Texas waffles are popular among those staying at the hotel. Dietary restrictions and food accommodations can often be met with advance notice. Guests can dine in the restaurant earlier in the day or they may eat in the courtyard area. Breakfast starts at six in the morning and goes until ten. It then closes for the afternoon and reopens for dinner to guests and the general public at five in the evening and closes at ten at night. The most popular meal at the restaurant is the pistachio fried steak covered in jalapeno gravy. One previous guest commented on the food saying, "Great little gem along the way out west. Historical hotel with all the modern amenities. The bed was comfortable. I had dinner at the attached restaurant, and it was delicious." 

Those staying at the property are generally more mature or couples. Families do visit the El Capitan Hotel as well and often use the conference room for a family get-together. The hotel is family and pet friendly and encourages all to come. They are open year-round but are typically busiest during the fall and holiday season of October to December. People coming to the area are often on their way to the border or visiting national parks and forests in the area. Additionally, guests have come for Blue Origin launches that have become increasingly popular. 


The hotel El Capitan was originally built in 1930. It was one of the original hotels in the area and was built by a famous architect named Henry Strauss. The building was constructed with concrete, but Strauss gave it an adobe appearance to pattern southwestern architecture in the area. The original hotel was initially named El Capitan. The hotel ran for 30 years until 1960 when the owners were approached and sold the property to a local bank. The bank used the property for 30 years as well and rented some of the space to other small businesses in the 1990s.

The property sat vacant for a decade until 2007 when the current owners purchased the establishment. They wanted to keep the history but update the property to modern standards. They decided to rename the business El Capitan. They worked on the grounds for two years restoring the hotel and adding amenities. It opened for business in 2009, along with the restaurant also started by the owners. A gift shop was added to the premises in the bank's old vault, as it was too large to be removed. The owners and staff have continued to update the property but strive to keep its historical culture. They plan to renovate the parking lot and courtyard area to give it new landscaping, in an attempt to brighten the property. 

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100 E. Broadway, PO Box 667
Van Horn, Texas 79855
United States


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