Renovations Underway At Historic Lancaster Hotel

Historic shot of the Auditorium Hotel (r), built in in 1926 and reopened as The Lancaster (l) in 1983.
One of Houston's historic hotels is getting a $10 million dollar makeover. The Lancaster Hotel has been in the same family since it was built in 1926.

The Lancaster Hotel sits on the edge of the Downtown Theatre District and has been a landmark across the street from what used to be the City Auditorium and is now Jones Hall for 87 years.

It was the Auditorium Hotel until it underwent a name change and transformation in the early '80's.

But it never underwent an ownership change, although other companies did manage it over the years.  

Brenda Anderson is the hotel's general manager. She says these days the original developer's great-grandchildren run the Lancaster.

"They had a management company and the hotel was just, you know, not kept up. And the family decided in 2006 to take it back over and there was a lot of family members. I think sometimes they had meetings and there may have been 50 people that had to make a decision. And so finally over a coin toss, Charlie Lusk won the Lancaster in a coin toss."

The Lancaster is a Texas State Landmark and because of its historic nature, the family won't be changing much in terms of structure.

But the $10 million overhaul will upgrade the hotel's inner workings like air conditioners and boilers, along with cosmetic changes to guest room decor and a remodeled lobby.

Anderson says one thing they don't want to do is take away the hotel's old-world charm.

"We're not making a big change to the guest rooms to introduce these new ultra-modern guest rooms that a lot of hotels are doing. People come here because it's a very homey feel and we want to ensure that we don't take that aspect away. It's amazing how many of our guests are so opinionated about what we're doing with regard to the rooms. And they want to see that same feel that currently makes the Lancaster."

The Lancaster Hotel is the only Houston hotel on the list of Historic Hotels of America.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...