I had the opportunity to visit Oklahoma City for a site visit last week – it was my first time in Oklahoma. What a quaint little city! No offense to Oklahomans, but I’m from New York and I live in the Washington, DC area so OKC definitely seems “quaint” to me. But in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City is a hotel full of history and charm – the Skirvin Hilton.
The hotel dates back to 1911 and is named after its original owner. From the moment you walk into the Skirvin you can tell that it’s special. It’s probably the most unique Hilton I’ve ever been in – in a good way. My colleague, Christina, said it was just like walking into The Great Gatsby. The lobby was full of red velvet and plush (a tribute to Mr. Skirvin’s daughter, Perle Mesta who would go on to be the US Ambassador to Luxembourg) and it smelled amazing. It reminded me of how Kimptons always have interesting scents.
The Gatsby-esque Lobby:
I was in a king standard room which was very comfortable. There was a desk and chair plus an armchair. The decor was a bit darker than you find in most modern hotels, but it worked perfectly with the historic vibe.
My favorite part of the room was the blanket with the Skirvin Hilton story. I love tributes to a property’s history!
The bathroom was nice – I liked the terrycloth shower curtain but I’m probably just weird like that. I appreciated the nicer than average robes as well.
My only complaint was the room was SO COLD and I couldn’t find a thermostat to adjust. I could have called to ask about it but I didn’t – I just used the cold as an excuse to cuddle up under the blankets and fall asleep earlier than I intended while binge-watching HGTV.
The meeting space
Here is where the Skirvin really shines. Much of the meeting space in the hotel is perfectly aligned with its historic character – even the newer space has great detail.
My favorite room was the Venetian Ballroom on the top floor (14th). The room was original to the hotel and is on the historic register. There are windows on all four sides overlooking the city. It has carpet now instead of the original floor but that’s better for acoustics anyway. The room just feels historic and I love that!
Also on the 14th floor was the Continental Room which was smaller but also had some great views.
The 2nd floor of the hotel had some smaller rooms, such as the Crystal Room, and then the back of the hotel (the most recent addition, I understand) has the two ballrooms. Even though these are interior ballrooms without natural light, they felt at once modern but with an homage to the historic roots of the property.
The Hilton HHonors Lounge (which is available for meeting and event use):
A section of the ballroom:
I absolutely adored the grand entrance with the Skirvin “S” shaped chandelier. It would be an amazing entranceway and place for wedding pictures (they do a ton of weddings at the Skirvin, it seems).
The hotel is perfect for small to medium sized meetings. The largest ballroom is 6100 square feet and the hotel has 225 sleeping rooms. For larger events in the city you would likely be at the Renaissance and Convention Center.
The only downside is that the space is pretty divided between the 14th and 2nd floor. This is good for giving your guests some different scenery, especially since the 2nd floor has a very different vibe than the 14th, but can prove challenging for scheduling if you have a lot of breakouts. The program we were finding space for on our site visit goes back and forth between general session and breakouts quite frequently, which will mean guests having to travel back and forth from the top to the (almost) bottom of the hotel. This certainly isn’t a deal breaker for us.
We ended up eating two lunches and one breakfast in the hotel restaurant, Park Avenue Grill. The food was good – the breakfast buffet was above average. The most important thing that you need to know about the food is that the truffle fries are amazing – that might be why we ended up there a second time for lunch. We didn’t sample any banquet food but the prices looked good (but this might just be because I’m used to DC and NY menus).
There aren’t a ton of hotels in downtown Oklahoma City but the Skirvin still manages to shine. I would definitely come back!
Have you been to the Skirvin Hilton? What did you think? Any other recommendations for Oklahoma City, I’ll be back in September!