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I always appreciate reading about an old building finding new life – especially when it’s history is as interesting as the Cabana Motor Hotel. Steeped in Hollywood royalty, with a dash of mobster, and a *significant* and unexpected turn, the Cabana Motor Inn has taken quite some time to turn back around!

“What do Doris Day, Raquel Welch, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hoffa, and a jail all have in common? Well, that would be the former Cabana Motor Hotel in Dallas on North Stemmons Freeway in the Design District. The modern and lavishly appointed hotel opened in 1963 and has a history just as fascinating as its avant-garde design.”

I have to be honest – I’ve driven past this building numerous times and never knew of it’s original glory!

“The Dallas hotel cost $6 million and had 300 rooms—57 of them suites—and numerous amenities for guests including an outdoor pool, health clubs, restaurants, night clubs, a ballroom, and more. The exterior featured a brise-soleil, which covered the entire upper façade in a latticework pattern of delicate concrete X-shape blocks. In contrast, the lobby was designed with two-story glass walls connected to a porte cochère with an arched roof under which neon glowed.

The interior décor was lavish and colorful with a Roman bent. The spacious lobby featured aqua tones with gold and white accents throughout, a grand sweeping staircase, and a check-in desk with marble panels. A sunken circular conversation area was fully carpeted in aqua with a crystal chandelier. Striking lobby artwork included replicas of Michelangelo’s David and Bacchus along with replicas of Venus de Milo and Winged Victory.”

“Waitresses in the club and lounge were referred to as “goddesses” and were required to wear short, lacy togas with gold accents. The most famous goddess was a young Raquel Welch who, while working there, was offered a contract to become a Hollywood actress by a man who pledged to make her a movie star.”

We’ve definitely seen and heard of worse uniforms and nicknames for waitresses. Am I the only one who thinks the uniform is kind of cute?

Linda Tilley, one of the goddesses at Nero’s Nook cocktail lounge pictured in her toga inside the hotel.

Here’s the best part….

“Despite its lavish décor and A-List guests, the hotel struggled by the end of the 1960s and fell into debt. It was sold in 1969 to Hyatt House for $4.35 million and was renamed the Hyatt House Hotel. In 1976, Hyatt sold the property to Holders Capital Corporation which renamed it DuPont Plaza. Dallas County purchased the building in 1984 for $9.2 million and converted it into a minimum security jail, which remained in operation until 2013.”

A JAIL, FOLKS! This former luxury hotel, with it’s above average sized rooms and suites, became a JAIL! Wild.

The building is now under new management, who plan to return this property to it’s original purpose as a boutique hotel. Full circle. I can’t wait to see it!

Here’s the full article.

Thanks Preservation Dallas for posting this article!