Hotel San Marcos Builds on the Past and Looks Forward SanTan Sun News
By Paula Soria
The San Marcos Hotel continues to be not only an enduring landmark of downtown Chandler, but an incredible experience for guests.
When it opened in 1913, Dr Alexander Chandler knew how to sell the hotel to the public.
The views, weather, amenities, entertainment and recreation have helped it market the hotel as a sporting destination.
With recent renovations, the hotel still aims to do just that.
“It was the center of the community,” said Nate Meyers, collections coordinator and curator at the Chandler Museum. “This is the company that the city was formed around and it sits in the heart of downtown, so it is at the heart of everything that has happened in Chandler since its founding.
Chandler had dreamed of opening a resort for over a decade and he originally planned to build one in Mesa, but it failed.
For its general manager, he hired Grace Perley Robinson, who was manager of the Ingleside Inn in Scottsdale for five years. She stayed at San Marcos for 19 years.
The hotel quickly gained a reputation for having amenities that many hotels lacked – such as electricity and telephone lines in every room. It also included a golf and tennis course, horseback riding and car rental.
“I think the entertainment, the recreation opportunities, the parties and all that stuff was kind of like the engine for its attractiveness – and the climate of course,” Meyers said.
The resort was the winter vacation home of the rich and famous – including actor Jimmy Stewart and President Herbert Hoover. Australian actor Errol Flynn spent his honeymoon here with his then-wife Nora Eddington.
In 1913, the hotel had 30 rooms. Today, it has 249 rooms.
Over the past two years, all 1980 bathrooms. The bedrooms have new beds.
Andrew Fishburn, deputy general manager, said the teams are also working in the field to bring back the lush gardens, although they make sure to use plants native to Arizona that don’t consume a lot of water.
Wifi and security have been improved and the exterior lights in the main building have been replaced. The building itself has been repainted, the walkways have been revisited and all the furniture has been replaced.
The historic pergola that surrounds the building has been restored, as have the original wooden windows. All signage has been replaced and the 80s canopies on the main building have been upgraded with more traditional structures in a modern color.
Going forward, the resort will continue to improve with the mission of improving the guest experience as well.
“The lobby, bar, restaurant, meeting rooms, ballrooms and additional field work will all begin within the next two months,” Fishburn said. “We are also adding a market in the main hall which will offer a wide selection of wines and spirits for retail sale.”
Even now, the San Marcos still has its share of repeat visitors.
“What I like most about the San Marcos is that it is centrally located in the old city center. It is within walking distance of so many great places to eat and drink. The people at the hotel treat you like family; they’re awesome, ”guest Steve Mehring said.
“I have been coming here for a long time over the past few years on business and come every one or two months and it feels like there is no other place I would rather be,” he said. added. “Even though it’s a bit far from where I have to go to work, it’s the place of choice.”
Fishburn said the San Marcos will continue to thrive.
“This property has gone through two world wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression, 20 sitting presidents, multiple owners, renovations, abandoned in the 1970s, renamed several times, September 11, economic ups and downs major and now the uncharted territory we entered in 2020, ”Fishburn said.
“Regardless of what happened around her, she has continued to welcome guests and with the love this property is receiving now, she will continue to do so for a long time to come.”