small logo     Updated 7 December 2001 URL is /marfa/paisano.html

El Paisano Hotel: Home of the Stars

by Magdalin Leonardo

All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo, email

Hotel Paisano, front



Hotel Paisano is open! Please check the new official website-  Use our toll-free phone number  866-729-3669.
As of September 3rd, 2001, Joe and Lanna Duncan, owners of  Hotel Limpia in Ft. Davis, Texas, are the new owners of Hotel Paisano in Marfa, Texas. Information regarding rooms and reservations listed on are incorrect and not applicable. Please visit the new official website and phone our toll-free number.


Magdalin's 1998 Report Continues:

In its heyday, El Paisano Hotel (as it used to be called) was a pretty popular place in Marfa. Not only was it the scene of many high school proms, it also acted as home base for cast and crew during the 1955 filming of "Giant." It was here that James Dean, Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson gathered for meals, mingled with locals, and unwound after a hard day's work. And if you look close enough, you can still see remnants from their legendary visit.

El Paisano lobby

In the entrance to the lobby on the right, there's a tall, glass case that houses old magazine clippings and autographed photographs from "Giant's" cast. This huge showcase was made from actual wood from Reata! (According to the new update, I don't know if the Deanabilia is still at this hotel.)

shoeshine stand      Here's an old shoe-shining bench nearby, which Jimmy no doubt used after spending hours in the dusty Texas desert.

lobby memorabilia In a corner of the sun-drenched lobby, there's another showcase that contains various props used in the film. Unfortunately, none of them were marked or identified in any way, so I have no idea which ones were used by our favorite rebel. (The grey canteen on the top shelf DOES bear a striking resemblance to the one Dean used in the film, though).

shirts for sale      (Remember, this is from the 1998 visit.) Surprisingly, El Paisano, which is probably one of Marfa's most famous Dean sites, has little Dean or "Giant" memorabilia in its gift shop. Such a disappointment! All I could find--besides this one (count 'em, one) T-shirt--was a few postcards and a couple of small, framed posters. Perhaps, like most Deaners, I've been spoiled by the seemingly endless array of quality Dean merchandise at The James Dean Memorial Gallery in Fairmount, Indiana. I guess the only real way to pay tribute to Dean at El Paisano is to simply book a room there.

Courtyard     Back in the '50s, this towering pink hotel had 60 rooms. Since then, El Paisano has been (and is still in the process of being) completely renovated, with large, breathtaking suites fit for a king (or queen). Some of the kitchens are beautifully decorated in hand-painted Mexican tile. Others have sunken bathrooms and pretty outdoor patios overlooking the outdoor courtyard. (As of 1998.)

brick wall      Perhaps the most beautiful part of these rooms are the doors leading into them...each one has a round, stained-glass window at its center. And each window is more dazzling than the next.

If you don't believe me, consider some of the modern-day celebrities who have stayed at El Paisano: Sylvestor Stallone, Melissa Gilbert, and my favorite Hollywood couple Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. They've all been guests at El Paisano in recent years for various film projects.

Stained glass      All prices previously listed here are now changed. Make sure you make your reservations in advance before you pay a visit. For further information, contact at (800-662-5517). (See update at the top of this page.)

All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo, email

NEXT: Borunda’s Bar and Grill

Continue Your Voyage:

  1. Overview: Where the heck is Marfa?
  2. Getting There
  3. The Arcón Inn
  4. Part one, Reata Ruins
  5. Part two, The Ruins of Reata
  6. Little Reata
  7. El Paisano Hotel
  8. Borunda’s Bar and Grill
  9. Part One, Faces and Places
  10. Faces and Places Part Two
  11. “Jimmy Beans”
  12. Part One, Reata Restaurant, Alpine
  13. Reata Restaurant, Alpine, Part Two
  14. About the Author


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