Antique recovered as part of larger plan to restore the hotel’s golden age grandeur
San Antonio, TX – March 22, 2013 – BC Lynd Hospitality, a growing hospitality investment and management firm, has announced that the antique piano that once adorned the Peacock Alley cocktail lounge of the St. Anthony Hotel will soon be returning home. The beautifully ornate Steinway Model L Player Piano was sold Monday for $220,000 by Bonham’s auction house in San Francisco to a member of the investment group that acquired the hotel last May. The purchase comes at the commencement of a remodel project that plans to reintroduce the landmark as a premier hotel in 2014.
“We want this to be a place where San Antonians come to enjoy downtown and everything it has to offer.”
As the winning bid was announced, St. Anthony partners shook hands and celebrated. The acquisition of the piano is considered a major victory in recent hotel efforts to recover authentic period décor, including antique French furnishings and original artwork, which have been lost in past renovations and shuffles of ownership. Brandon S. Raney, CEO of the investment firm, said phones were “ringing off the hook” Monday with calls from supporters, one of which was former St. Anthony General Manager Nick Ghawi.
“The piano is part of the hotel, and I’m happy it’s back in San Antonio where it belongs,” says Ghawi, who made sure to pose for a photo with the piano before it left the hotel in 1993. During his tenure, the piano was a fixture of the hotel’s popular Sunday brunches, where musicians were often commissioned to play. Says Ghawi, “The piano was the center of attention. Professionals would come to play it. Guests would occasionally sit down and play it. It was very special.”
The recovery of the piano comes at a historic time of change for the St. Anthony. The hotel is in the early stages of a major remodel project and just this month asked former and current patrons to help contribute stories and photographs to the hotel’s history. This focus on preservation fits in with BC Lynd Hospitality’s vision of the St. Anthony as a vital component of San Antonio’s past and future.
“Our main goal with this revitalization is to make the St. Anthony Hotel the community focal point that it once was and to do something meaningful that creates opportunity in our hometown,” says Raney. “We want this to be a place where San Antonians come to enjoy downtown and everything it has to offer.”
The Louis XV styled, gilt bronze mounted grand piano was completed in 1924 before being sent to Paris for decoration. Though much of its early past is unknown, the piano is rumored to have been made for the Russian Embassy in Paris, and purchased from the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. by San Antonio railroad magnate and former St. Anthony owner Ralph W. Morrison in 1938.
About the St. Anthony Hotel
The St. Anthony Hotel is located at 300 East Travis Street at the intersection of Navarro Street in downtown San Antonio. The 10-story property offers 22 meeting rooms totaling more than 33,000 square feet and amenities include a full-service restaurant, two bar/lounge areas, 24-hour fitness center, business center and outdoor heated pool. Built in 1909, the property is set to undergo a significant renovation and will be re-branded as a Starwood Luxury Collection property.
About BC Lynd Hospitality
BC Lynd is a full-service national hospitality platform with integrated skill sets that combine expertise in management, investments and development. In developing a hospitality platform, BC Lynd integrates The Lynd Companies’ outstanding management infrastructure and proprietary technology systems with the extensive hospitality experience of BC Commercial Partners.