The Barfield opens today, gets new life after 30 year vacancy
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - After a 30 year vacancy, the historic Barfield opens its doors today, making itself Amarillo’s first luxury boutique hotel.
Today at 10:30 a.m., the Chamber of Commerce is hosting a ribbon cutting at The Barfield, marking a new era for one of Amarillo’s most historic buildings.
“This is one of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is downtown,” said Beth Duke, executive director of Center City Amarillo. “We’re aiming to make downtown a destination that bridges the past and the future, and this building does it all. It’s such a glorious past.”
Prohibitionist M.D. Oliver created The Barfield back in 1926, and despite her crusade against alcohol, had a speakeasy in the basement.
“We’re paying homage to M.D. Oliver,” explained Michael Farr, The Barfield’s director of sales and marketing. “She was a crusader against alcohol, yet she knew where the revenue came from so she had the Paramount Recreation Club, the speakeasy. It’s very important [Amarillo residents] have this in their back packet. Another historical part that were bringing back to life for everyone to enjoy.”
To pay homage, The Barfield preserves the original speakeasy room and renovated it to modern luxury standards.
“We want to give homage back to the 1920′s. It would be a poor design choice not to,” said Patrick Dougherty, The Barfield general manager. “M.D. Oliver was fully against liquor, but had a speakeasy. The Chicago mob came down here and tried to take her out multiple times...so she carried a gun, a Daranger gun in her purse, and actually throughout the hotel you’ll see that sprinkled in. We’ll have bullet holes (and) we’ll have guns crossed. We’re going back to this M.D. Oliver, the matriarch of progress, which is our mark. She’ll be throughout the hotel.”
The Paramount Recreation Club is full of secret pool tables, poker rooms and pass codes.
“We’ve made every attempt to keep things as close to what they were when the building was built in 1926,” explained co-owner, Christie Beyer. “It’s important. It’s a really hard word to describe, but it’s just a really unique feeling. You kind of get the little chill bumps and think, ‘so this is how it was back in 1926.’”
The Barfield lobby features a ballroom, social space, Amarillo’s first bourbon bar and Toscana, a high-class Italian steakhouse.
“We’re not just trying to put heads in beds every night, we’re trying to make this part of the community...a social space where people want to spend time,” said Dougherty.
The Barfield incorporates West Texas culture throughout the building, using cowhide rugs, luxury Texas furniture, and Toscana to give guests a taste of West Texas luxury.
“It was real important to bring the cattle industry and make an area where when the cattlemen come to town they’re going to be in a room where they feel comfortable but I also wanted something, for someone who’s not in the cattle industry, when they walk in they’re going to [think] this is really cool and this is really neat,” said Christie Beyer. “I wanted it to talk to everybody.”
Owners say they want The Barfield to be a great first impression of the Texas Panhandle for those visiting outside of town.
“You’ll see a lot of livestock, cattle, ranching, farming inspiration in this building,” said co-owner, Jason Beyer. “Because were Texans. I never thought of anything besides Texas. It’s who we are.”
Upstairs you’ll find the hotel portion of The Barfield.
The hotel features 96 specialty designed king rooms, 16 doubles and two expanded suits with parlor rooms.
All rooms are filled with furniture designed specifically for the hotel by award-winning firm, Flick-Mars.
“We are a luxurious hotel, but we have the grit of Amarillo,” added Dougherty. “We have a cattle background, there’s leathers, deep dark colors. It’s very warm in here. Everything was made for this room.”
The rooms also feature streaming services such as Netflix, a master light switch to save you from getting out of bed and a full valet service.
The Barfield’s restaurant, speakeasy and bourbon bar are open to all, even if you’re not staying at the hotel.
A mix between roaring 20′s aesthetics, west Texas culture, and modern luxury, The Barfield believes they represent Amarillo’s history, both to community members and tourists.
“We’re right here on our main street, Polk Street and Route 66. This is the crossroads of America,” said Duke. “Route 66 has so many attractions, but not a lot of lodging. So this is exciting because this is going to give us just a showpiece of lodging on Route 66.”
A part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, visitors will be able to use Marriott reward programs, bringing more tourists to the city.
“I think it’s just going to set us apart. Someone stays here, they have an amazing first impression of Amarillo, and because of all the work of our downtown restaurants and downtown retail, downtown offices,” Duke. “They can walk to work, or walk to a cafe or coffee shop, and they’re going to be able to see the best of downtown all in one square mile.”
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