This first installment of Historic Hotels of the Big Bend takes an informal tour of the Gage Hotel.
Marathon is a handsome little town of 400 souls here in Brewster County. J. P. Bryan has done an excellent job of nestling this luxury hotel in a small Texas town– it accents Marathon as a whole rather than overpowering it.
Designed by Trost and Trost, the Gage is a living tour of that era; it is a powerful example of Ranch Revival tempered by the masculine wrought iron and leather of the 19th century. Each room is unique and offers authentic Mexican, Native American and Cowboy furnishings.
The Portales are an excellent addition to the original hotel; each room opens onto a beautiful courtyard. The murmur of running water and cool breeze scented with honeysuckle will make the most ambitious guest succumb to an afternoon siesta.
But the Gage Gardens were what won me over. They are primarily native plants cared for with an impressive attention to detail. To me, this is the essence of harmonious development. I laud Mr. Bryan for avoiding showy, exotic transplants and sticking to the yuccas, agaves, and West Texas wildflowers that he has cultivated there.