Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Historic Haunted Lunch (lots of pics)

My best friend Lisa and I have been planning to have lunch at her hotel for weeks now. Today we finally did it! After I finished up at my office I hopped in the car and headed downtown to the Gunter Hotel.
I have briefly blogged about the hotel but just to give you a brief rundown, the hotel is haunted. It has been featured on the Travel Channel and Lisa tells me about occurances that happen, the last one being as recent as October. The hotel opened in 1909 and is named after Jot Gunter. Many celebs have stayed here including, Mae West, John Wayne, John Mellencamp and Robert Johnson. You can read more on the history of the hotel here, it's definately worth reading!
This is one of medallions on the ceiling. Beautiful chandeliers hang from them and they grace the lobby and are visible on the second and third floors. The architecture is just beyond amazing!
Ok.. bet you didn't think we'd go straight to the hauntings. But we do. I am giving you the pictures as I took them.. from beginning to end. This is actually a locked and closed in staircase. I took this picture from the one side looking through to the meeting room on the opposite side. The door in the meeting room opens to this staircase and the stairs lead you to the bar on the next level. Now, the hotel had to close and lock this staircase because too many people who used this staircase complained that something pushed them down the stairs. It only happened when they went down the stairs alone. So, to prevent people from getting pushed they closed it and locked it and you can only use it when going down in groups. Who is pushing people? The story goes that a lady hung her self in this exact area and her spirit doesn't want people using these stairs! Now, you can believe it or not. But all I'm saying is I hope that is just a glare on the photos that I took or at least smudges from them cleaning the glass!
Do you not see that shape on the right hand side of the picture?
I took this next picture from the opposite side to get a better view of the staircase and I think I STILL see something in the picture. What do you think? Is it something there or just glares?
This is one of the meeting rooms used for weddings and large events. One entire side of the hotel is facing Houston Street. There are little cafes and store and best of all a PERFECT view of the beautiful and historic Majestic Theatre. Lisa said during the holidays is so sooooo beautifully decorated and lit up. I plan to go back and get those pictures!
I took this picture through the window so I apologize for the glare, but here is the Majestic. Parts of the Selena movie were filmed here. The marquee reads "San Antonio Symphony Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet."
I couldn't take pictures of the sconces and chandeliers in this one ballroom. They are all original to the building. But there was a company holding a meeting there so I couldn't photograph them. They were amazing! Too beautiful for words. This hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels I have seen. The architecture is just so amazing there are truly no words to explain it!
I took these next pictures from the rooftop heated pool. I love to look at the high rise buildings. It's an amazing contrast, an almost 100 yr old hotel with so many contemporary features surrounded by old and new construction.
Frost Bros.... this high end fashion retail opened in San Antonio in 1917. They were known for personal service such as name recognition and personal shoppers. They were on the same level as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. However, they had to file bankruptcy in April 1988.
I loved this detail on above the pool. I should have made a close up of the picture. See, this hotel has all the extras that make it a surprise around every corner. Those breathtaking details will keep this hotel on your mind and definately a destination you will want to return to again and again! But we're not done yet... scroll down.. there is LOTS more!
There is a spiral staircase from the pool that leads to an exercise room. I didn't get photos of that though. However, the equipment was nice and new and situated very nicely!
Here is a picture of Mr. Gunter and a brief history of him and the hotel. You might be able to read it if you click on the picture.
This was a large painting set in a beautiful ornate, somewhat rococo style gilded frame. Amazing! See what I mean? Litteraly EVERY corner is something beautiful! This hotel is like a museum! I wished I hadn't gotten that glare on there though!
I was shown some guest rooms on the fourth floor I think. This is the original mail chute (sp?) for the hotel. It is still serviceable, however, most people probably just send an email. Wouldn't it be neat to get a postcard from the hotel gift shop and drop it down the chute? I think I might do that next time I'm there. Would you like me to send you one?
This is the EXACT room where John Mellencamp recorded his latest record in August of this year. Read more about it here, it is super interesting! And there is a picture of him recording his music!
I'm guessing they moved this entertainment center for his recording equipment, at least that is what it looks like from the picture in the above link.
The king size bed. This suite is really neat. It has two bedrooms accessible to it, two bathrooms and a large sitting/living room area.
The opposite side of the king bedroom.
And yes, my friends, ALL rooms serve Starbucks coffee! Now is that PERFECT or what?
The two-bed bedroom is on the other side of the wall where the entertainment center was.
Now..... on to the spooky part. Room 636. The sixth floor is the floor that has all the hauntings reported. It was in that particular room a man checked in with the alias Mr. Knox. He murdered a woman there. (Gruesome part) He chopped her up, put as much as he could in the meat grinder and the larger body parts he put in wet cement around the areas outside where new hotels were being built. This room get LOTS of activity.
The door to 636. These are all original doors. They are beautiful!
Now, maybe it's just me, but it did feel spooky walking that floor. It certainly gave me the hibby-jibby's! Would I feel that same way if I didn't know the history of that floor? You know, probably I would. It just feels "dark." Just this past October, two completly different guests complained that the shower turned on by itself. One guest thought her husband got up early and started taking a shower. Nope! He was in bed beside her. Another couple, same day, same floor, placed a DO NOT DISTURB sign on their door and went out sight-seeing. When they returned to their room all their clothes were scattered and thrown on their floor and the shower was turned on. The housekeeping manager did an audit and the computer showed NO housekeeper (or anyone else) had opened their door (with the keycard...the only way to get in) and entered the room! Both of these occurances happened the week of Halloween? Coincidence? Maybe? Who knows?
Also, on the third floor there is a restroom that gets lots of activity as well. The sink faucets turn off and on and the lights turn off and on by themselves. I didn't take a picture of the restroom because there were guests in there, but I will tell you that restroom was VERY cold!
This is the actual switchboard for the hotel. Of course it is not in use anymore. It stopped being operated in 1979. It stands in the lobby area of the hotel. It was really neat looking at it. I was thinking it seemed more confusing with all those buttons and switches than our transfer buttons we use today. How did they do it?
This photo was taken on the lobby floor near to the hotel restaurant. I wanted to show those beautiful chandeliers and the gorgeous ornate ceiling medallions. Can you believe how beautiful they are? You HAVE to see this in person. These pictures just don't do it justice!
Mr. Robert Johnson, well, after you read this you might wonder if he deserves the "Mr." in front of his name. The story goes that he sold his soul to the devil to be a famous jazz musician. He recorded his jazz record at the Gunter Hotel just after the deal was made. This plaque tells more about his story. There is also a meeting room named after him on the ground level.
A shadow box built into the wall with his record "The Last Fair Deal Gone Down." There was another window box that had a drawing of him in one of the rooms recording. Why didn't I get tht photo as well?
Another look at the magnificant chandeliers. Can you tell I am throughly in LOVE with them? I didn't know this beautiful treasure of a hotel existed in San Antonio. It is just stunning... stunning, beautiful, magnificent, gorgeous, there just aren't words to descibe it... litteraly!
Look at the detail and the design. You just don't see this anymore these days. There is NO comparison to this kind of detail!
So to finish off our tour we stopped at the Gunter's restaurant. My goodness! Oh Lord! Since the hotel has Starbucks in every room it would only make since that there is a Starbucks cafe INSIDE the hotel! (A view from our table.)
My dessert. Neapolitan. Oh. My. Word. .... DELICIOUS! Why does it look like my coffee cup is empty? I swear it was full!
They have an all-you-can eat pasta and cafe bar. And desert bar. You pick out the ingredients and the chef sautees it for you while you wait. My creation... chicken, olive oil, pesto, fresh tomatoes andmushroons and crushed pepper (just a dab) and penne pasta. Delicious! And the price.. even more unbelieveable! $9.95! You can't beat that!And finally me and Lisa... today we were Ladies Who Lunch!
I had a wonderful lunch with Lisa and I can't wait to go back. If you are planning a visit to San Antonio or live here and want a beautiful and exciting get-away, THIS is the hotel for you. You will be amazed at how very beautiful it is! There are so many fun attractions near by, walking distance. You really HAVE to see this. And if you do decide to book with them, ask for Lisa York. She will be sure to give you the best deal available! Just send her an email at and let her know that you are from my blog. I guarantee... you won't be disappointed!
One more thing.. you can get a sneak peak and the beautiful pillow I won on Eddie Ross' give-away here. I swear... when I checked my email and found an email from him telling me that I won I started to cry! This pillow is beautiful and you better believe you will see tons of pictures of it once it arrives. I've been checking my mailbox faithfully.


Mrs Twins

This was an interesting post April! Golly. So weird. You went into a lot of detail it must have taken you ages to do this post. Well done. That photo definitely looked as though there was something there on the right. I thought so.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Please try the Butterflies they are brilliant.
Hugs and Love Suex


Hi April, thanks for coming by. I'm afraid I didn't have time to finish reading the whole post but I will be back. My daughter is standing in the hallway whining something about dinner...

I got chills just looking at the first couple of photos!


I'm back. Dinner was a disaster. Tried to cook a 5 burner meal on a 3 burner stove. And of course tonight would be the night my son decides he WANTS to help with dinner! I should have taken Hubby up on his offer to go out tonight!

The details in the hotel are amazing! I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to stay though! But I would stop in for desert!

Andrea at Opulent Cottage

Oh my gosh April, I can't believe you won that gorgeous pillow!! Lucky girl! I think Eddie is amazing, too. Congratulations!
Cheers, Andrea
p.s. Your hair looks great!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101

glad to hear that your mantel is singing... your pasta dish made me so hungry. Thanks for visiting and don't be a stranger.


What a great lunch date. The photos are excellent of th ehotel, i would love to see it some day. We have a haunted hotel here and my DH and I went there a few years ago for Valentine's day. It is in San Diego and called the Hotel Coronado.It is a beautiful hotel and has been published too as haunted... :)

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