Living in an oil town, I'm always intrigued to hear stories of booms + busts, and how that impacts the community. I mean, last year we saw the price of oil plummet to negative values for the first time in history. We saw many for sale signs around our neighborhood. Since then, the industry is picking up and construction has resumed again...
Thus, the story of Hotel Settles begins in the 1930's, built by Will R. and Lillian Settles after they 'struck it rich', finding oil on their ranch. The hotel was built with 130 rooms and a pharmacy - making it the largest hotel between El Paso and Ft. Worth at the time.
Hotel Settles in Big Spring, TX
As with the booms, come the busts...two years later, the Settles sold the hotel when the Great Depression hit. The hotel went between owners and actually closed in 1980 due to another oil field lull and the closing of the Webb Air Force Base in 1978.
Brint Ryan, a native of Big Spring, purchased the hotel in 2006, in addition to several other nearby shops with hopes to revive the downtown. His work on Hotel Settles has revived it, yet kept its historic feel.
Today, you can still walk upon the original terrazzo floors and sit in the original phone booths.
Overlooking the lobby and a vintage Ford at Hotel Settles: Big Spring, TX
The hotel is such a beautiful example of preserved history - they display old photos of the hotel and the original menu to pay tribute to its past.
We had the pleasure of staying in the Sunrise Terrace Suite on the 4th floor which had a beautiful balcony facing East. The Suite was spacious - the entrance area had a wet bar off to the side with a mini fridge. The room opened up to the left with a sitting area and king sized bed.
Photos from inside and outside the Sunrise Suite at Hotel Settles: Big Spring, TX
Unfortunately, we experienced incredible winds during our stay, so we were unable to take full advantage of the stunning balcony. Additionally, the outdoor pool / hot tub were under construction, as a result of the winter storm a few weeks ago and the Spa was unavailable due to COVID. (What a year, hey!)
The outdoor terrace and pool at Hotel Settles: Big Spring, TX
We did, however, get to indulge at the Settles Grill on site. Reservations are highly recommended on the weekend - it was completely full during our visit. Not listed on their website, is the kids menu. As a parent of a picky eater, this is much appreciated.
They serve Brunch (7AM - 2PM) and Dinner (5 PM-9 PM) - we went for dinner. We both ordered steak dishes that were both cooked to our liking. We also thought it was unique to see 'shooters' listed on the cocktail menu and tried the Lemon Drop (dangerous!!).
Sadly, little ones are not allowed in the Pharmacy Bar & Parlor, so we were unable to experience this part of Hotel Settles. We did get a peek inside and they have some very comfortable sitting areas in the back with a pool table and TV - this would be my spot to relax!
Photos from our evening at Settles Grill at Hotel Settles, Big Spring, TX
The other amenity I would mention is the fitness center. Located on the bottom floor is a small fitness center with some cardio equipment, weight machines and a rack of free weights. The area was a little small, but I didn't see anyone in there both mornings I went.
Fitness center at Hotel Settles: Big Spring, TX
Overall, our stay at Hotel Settles was refreshing. It's just a short drive from home, so that was a bonus. I also really appreciated our stay in such a historic building - you can find glimmers of the past in every corner. The hotel provides a fun fact sheet when you arrive so you can learn about all the famous people who have visited, including Elvis! If you find yourself in this part of West Texas, you need to check it out!
Other notes on Big Spring:
As mentioned previously, the winds were extreme during our stay.
We had plans to play golf at the Comanche Trail Municipal Golf Course, which is 18 holes, but opted out due to the weather.
We did visit the adjacent Comanche Trail Park in the morning. The park has a small section of trails for walking. Visiting with a 3 year old, we ended up at the playground, which really was impressive. They had a section for toddlers with smaller obstacles and then a larger section for the big kids.
The park also is home to the "Big Spring"; this section of the park is really nicely maintained and has a large pavilion close by that would be perfect for a picnic or snack stop.
Photos around the Comanche Trail Park : Big Spring, TX
Although we didn't go during this trip, Big Spring State Park is also nearby. This park is further from downtown, situated up high to give you some really neat views of the city. To be noted, the park does not have challenging trails for serious hikers; the nature trail is maybe a mile both ways and the paved loop is 2.4 miles. We did visit back in May and the Nature Trail was just perfect for our small human in length and difficulty. They also have a pavilion area and playground at the park.
The scenic loop overlooking the city (L) and the Nature Trail at Big Spring State Park, TX
I definitely want to go back to play the city golf course and Russ McEwen Family Aquatic Center looks like a great place to be in the dead of Summer (heat).
So although Big Spring is not the most thriving place you'll find in West Texas, don't count it out!