Designed for the Statler Hotels chain, the hotel opened after that chain's sale to Hilton Hotels and was completed in 1956 at a cost of $16 million as The Statler Hilton Dallas. It was the first major hotel built in Dallas in nearly three decades and the largest convention facility in the South. Opening day included luminaries from both coasts converging on Dallas for a four-day celebration.
Architect William B. Tabler introduced several new construction techniques and materials. The first full application of its kind, a cantilevered reinforced flat-slab system reduced the number of columns needed and created a soaring building. Tabler was also one of the first in the country to use a thin-skinned curtain wall design consisting of 1 3/8" panels made of glass and colored porcelain coated metal. Its innovative features made it a significant contributor to the Modern movement in Dallas, and for the state of Texas. The Y-shaped building contained 1,001 guest rooms over 20 floors and a ballroom capable of hosting 2,200 people. The room count was reduced to 710 after numerous renovations.
The hotel itself was proclaimed “the last word in hostelries.” The Statler Hilton boasted many firsts for the hotel industry such as elevator music and custom 21" Westinghouse TVs in every room. It was one of the first hotels to have its ballroom and conference rooms located on lower floors, and a heliport was located on the roof to shuttle guests from nearby airports.
The outdoor patio located above street level along St. Paul Street contained a large rotating sculpture by José de Rivera. "A Wishing Star," 12 feet high and 15 feet across, was made of triangulated arms whose undersides were stainless steel and top gold plated.
The Statler played an important role establishing Dallas as a business center for the Southwest. It was the largest hotel in the Southwest, and helped attract convention business to Dallas for many years. According to Dallas’ AIA Guide to Dallas, the Statler and next door’s former Dallas Public Library, designed by George Dahl in 1953, make-up the “best block of 1950s architecture in the city."
On May 1, 2015, it was announced that the building, and the adjacent Old Dallas Central Library, will be redeveloped as the Statler Hotel & Residences. It will again be managed by Hilton Hotels, under their Curio Collection banner.
The new hotel accommodates 159 guest rooms on the first five floors, and 219 apartments on the upper 11 floors. The hotel features meeting facilities, as well as retail and office space, four restaurants and a lounge. A music venue; 14,500-square-foot ballroom was a recent renovation at The Statler.