Visitors to Las Vegas, NM can’t help but hear the history whispering from the stones, bricks, mortar and adobe of our historic buildings, over 900 of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the spots in town where the past is the most alive and accessible is at the Historic Plaza Hotel. Built on the northwest corner of the Old Town Plaza in 1882, the Italianate-style structure houses a casual Victorian dining room where you can taste local cuisine and Byron T’s Saloon which features live local entertainment most weekend nights and often has a ‘real’ cowboy or two perched on a barstool! Also, the Ilfeld Ballroom hosts conferences, banquets and, of course, features entertainment and dances! Upstairs you'll find our lovely guest rooms with historic décor and ambiance.
Back in the 1800's the Plaza Hotel became the center of commerce in th young New Mexico Territory. The hotel provided elegant lodging for prominent and affluent travelers arriving by train on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. The period from 1879 to 1900 also brought some of the most notorious outlaws and infamous characters of the Old West to the Plaza, among them were Doc Holliday and his companion Big Nose Kate Bender, Jesse James, Voodoo Brown, Vincente Silva and Billy the Kid.
A million-dollar renovation in 1982 returned the century-old hotel to its former glory as the "Belle of the Southwest" keeping true to its roots. Entering the lobby you can't miss the two sweeping staircases that lead to the upper floors. In 2009, the hotel purchased and renovated the adjacent Charles Ilfeld building. The new addition provided 35 additional guest rooms, the Ilfeld Ballroom and meeting space, making the Plaza Hotel the ideal choice for receptions, reunions and conferences in northeast New Mexico.
William Slick, former hotel owner, received two “Lifetime Achievement” awards in Historic Preservation – one from the New Mexico Preservation Alliance and another from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division in large part for his work at the Plaza Hotel. Slick was with the hotel from 1982, when the original Plaza Hotel was restored to its former glory, through the 2009 renovation of the adjacent Ilfeld building.
“What happens in a historic renovation like this is that you can put together the best of two centuries – the best of the nineteenth century and the twenty-first century,” says Slick, known to locals as Wid. “The original hotel could offer a restaurant, lounge and 37 historic rooms, but it was limited in what it could do and by adding the second end of the ‘bookends’ 30 years later, we are now truly full service with 72 rooms and where we can host weddings, conferences and live entertainment."