Former historic Braniff flight attendant dorm being turned into new luxury hotel in Dallas

Nov 7, 2020

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Love the jet-age vibe of the TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK airport?

Get ready to pack your bags to do it again only this time with a Texas twang. Plans are afoot to restore the former Braniff International Hostess College building in Dallas as a new luxury hotel for avgeeks and mid-century design buffs alike.

The new hotel will feature 75 luxury rooms featuring Braniff’s jet-age design themes, according to Braniff Airways Foundation president Richard Ben Cass. Guests could begin checking-in in two years if all goes according to plan.

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The Braniff International Hostess College. (Photo courtesy of Braniff Airways, Inc. 2020)

Braniff, which shut down in 1982, is probably best known for its “end of the plain plane” campaign by mid-century designer Alexander Girard. His designs featured a broad palette of colors from pastels to bright primaries prompting the tag line: “You can fly with us seven times and never fly the same color twice.”

Girard’s schemes were introduced around the same time the “hostess” college opened on Wycliff Avenue adjacent to the then-new Dallas North Tollway in 1968. Designed by local firm Pierce, Lacey and Associates, the five-story building featured a “mid-century internationalism style,” according to the Texas Historical Commission.

“Colorful textiles and artworks from Mexico and South America… gave the space a decidedly mod vibe,” wrote Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster in 2014. “Even the walls were sexy, being made of a sprayed concrete… left in a deliberately rough state but with a slick plastic coating. Their curvy profiles were set off dramatically by black travertine floors.”

One of the most striking features is the “Passion Pit” where future flight attendants could visit with suitors.

Related: The lost airlines of the US; from Pan Am to Braniff and Piedmont

The “Passion Pit” where gentleman callers could visit future flight attendants at the Braniff International Hostess College. The Braniff International Hostess College. (Photo courtesy of Braniff Airways, Inc. 2020)

Braniff outgrew the college shortly after the building opened and sold the property in 1975. The building had a series of owners over the past four decades before being bought by Dallas-area developer Centurion American Development Group in 2019. The developer is known for its restoration of the Statler Hilton in Dallas.

Specifics of the new Braniff-themed luxury hotel are still up in the air including who will run the property and whether it will be independent like the TWA Hotel or part of a larger hospitality group, like Hyatt or Marriott.

One thing is clear: there will be no views of planes like at the TWA Hotel. Located about three miles from Love Field, future Braniff Hotel guests will have a better view of tollway traffic than Southwest Airlines jets at the nearby airport.

Related: The TWA Hotel is open — and it’s gorgeous

Featured image courtesy of Patrick Smith.

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