Stewarts open Best Western Plus in Brownwood
After yearlong renovation, hotel finds new life as Best Western Plus
Bill Stewart thought he had retired from the hotel business.
But when the former Holiday Inn Express in Brownwood came up for auction in January 2020 on the courthouse steps, Stewart bought it.
“I guess I couldn’t help it,” Stewart said Thursday. “I had to get involved. But it worked out great.”
After more than a year of renovation, the hotel, at 504 W. Commerce, now bears the name Best Western Plus. Stewart and his wife, Bertha, are the hotel's owner-operators.
The Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for the modern, sparkling hotel Thursday afternoon.
“We’re doing really well,” Stewart told representatives of the chamber and other businesses. “We’re about 75 percent occupancy since we opened in March. I’m real pleased. It was a long 2020 for us.
“We bought it on the courthouse steps. We came in and it was a total wreck. I didn’t really realize just how deep the wreck was. We finally had to just start over from the bottom. Anything in here is new. It was a real stressful year.”
The hotel has a staff of 14, and Patricia Henry, who previously owned Poppy Sweets — which consisted of an ice cream truck and a concession stand — is the hotel’s general manager.
Stewart said he spent 20 years as a hotel developer, and he previously owned the Hampton Inn in Brownwood, which he built.
“This was a Holiday Inn Express for quite a few years and was a very popular place,” Stewart said of the Best Western Plus. “The original owner sold it to a group, and this group didn’t keep the hotel up. The owners just walked.
"The bank foreclosed and I bought it off the courthouse steps in January of 2020."
In October 2020, as the renovation was under way, Stewart said, “If you have ever wanted what a five-star room looked like but did not want to pay $400 or $500 to find out, come by here and see what we have done.”
He said the hotel’s amenities include high tech bluetooth lighting, LED backlit mirrors, reading lights on each side of the beds and large suits.