In mystic Marfa, down a gravelly desert road, under a neon sign, sits Thunderbird Hotel. But there’s more to this retro-chic, 24-room roadside inn than its arty setting. This Design Hotels™ newcomer has history, style, and whirlwinds of swagger.
Ginsberg stayed at this atmospheric roadside hotel, so the story goes. It was the Sixties. They were driving to California, him and Neal Cassady (of Jack Kerouc’s On The Road). For kicks, Neal swung off toward the Chihuahua mountains and Marfa. The two poets holed up here, playing Ravi Shankar records, drinking wine, and humming bizarre mantras. It was a hell of a time.
The Thunderbird Marfa was previously repositioned by Lake/Flato Architects, and now by Jayson Seidman, founder of Sandstone, to retain the beatnik vibe but with added style and simplicity. Guest rooms are put together in soothing tones and textures, with queen-size beds, cowhide rugs, and record players stocked with vinyl. Outside is a peaceful garden, terrace, and friendly swimming pool, with the picture-perfect TransPecos mountains as backdrop. Dogs and poets always welcome.
In 1971, the artist Donald Judd left New York in search of a place to make and house his ever-larger sculptures. He landed on Marfa, and started there The Chinati Foundation, now a renowned art museum. Since that time, Marfa has grown into the world’s most famous desert home of contemporary art, a fascinating clash of conceptual and cowboy vibes. Around town you will find cool installations, like the oft-seen Prada Marfa, an art piece that looks just like a Prada storefront. Let’s not forget the natural desert all around. Marfa’s remote setting, some three hours from Big Bend National Park, creates the perfect haven for folks seeking a quiet retreat, or a good hike.
The Fine Print
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