Oklahoma City is in the midst of a tourism renaissance, with award-winning restaurants new and old, massive new museums and attractions, sprawling park expansions and festivals aplenty. To meet the needs of all the city’s new visitors, hotels have followed suit, popping up all over the city, from shimmering new towers to refurbished classics. That momentum is just getting started, too — in the months and years to come, OKC is poised to welcome several new hotels, including new towers in Bricktown, a colossal development by the First Americans Museum and even a brewery-run hotel in a historic armory. The hotel boom is just getting started in the Modern Frontier, and there’s never been a better time for a vacation — or a staycation. From a gilded downtown tower to an artsy neighborhood boutique, here are seven unique lodging experiences in Oklahoma City in 2023.
The most stunning — and soaring — hotel in town, The National bowed with a bang in 2022, filling out a historic skyscraper that once housed a bank building in the ‘30s. Today, the art deco adornments remains as decadent as the day it was established, but the interior has received a thorough glow-up -- posh guest rooms offer sweeping city views, a plethora of high-end boutiques offer everything from real-deal cowboy boots to whimsical mercantile goods and a stunning collection of restaurants that range from the jaw-dropping Great Hall bar to a Parisian patisserie, a swanky steakhouse and a subterranean cocktail bar in a former bank vault.
Another new hotel, located on the north side of town in bustling Nichols Hills, is The Ellison. From its posh perch, overlooking shops like Anthropologie, Warby Parker and Whole Foods, the handsome hotel boasts a sleek rooftop pool and bar, contemporary rooms and Milo restaurant, a destination in and of itself for its distinctly take on modern Oklahoman cuisine. Open all day, the restaurant from Top Chef alum Josh Valentine features items like bison picadillo sopes, pimento cheese tots, buttermilk fried quail and roasted cauliflower steak with winter squash-coconut curry.
The prettiest hotel in town is undoubtedly Bradford House, a twee mansion-cum-hotel that pops with color, vibrancy and chic decor in every possible nook and cranny. Located on a nondescript corner of Classen Boulevard on the northwest side, the property features rooms upstairs in the historic abode, along with a smattering of rooms — from king rooms to twin bunks — in the surrounding guesthouse along the serene courtyard. In the main house, guests can linger in one of two eclectic lounges, perfect for coffee and pastries from on-site bake shop (don’t sleep on the cardamom bun) or seasonal cocktails from the lobby bar. Even better, savor brunch or dinner at one of the most underrated and impressive restaurants in the city, where dishes range from sweet potato bisque to chicken roulade.
A hotel that’s also an art museum, strewn with adorable purple penguins, sounds almost too good to be true. Which is what makes the 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City such a singular sensation on the local lodging scene. Housed in a former car assembly plant in the warehouse-filled West Village, the hotel features lofty metropolitan rooms, a spa, a quirky gift shop, and most impressively, a free-to-visit art museum with rotating exhibits. The current exhibition, The SuperNatural, explores the melding of the post-industrial world with the digital age. Then there are the restaurants, including chic Mary Eddy’s, all-day Bodega cafe and bar, and Pool Bar, an indoor-outdoor oasis with cocktails, snacks, and frozen cocktails fittingly garnished with penguin gummies.
Of the spree of new hotels that have debuted over the past year or so in OKC, none are larger than the Omni. Rising 17 stories over the northeastern edge of downtown’s Scissortail Park and connected to the architectural juggernaut that is the new Oklahoma City Convention Center, the staggering resort is the largest hotel in town in terms of rooms (605 in total). Within its shimmering, glassy walls reside a see-and-be-seen rooftop pool deck, a slew of bars, a stately steakhouse, a serene spa, retail and a cute coffee shop. Ample rooms offer some of the best skyline views in town, especially from one of the 29 suites.
The newest hotel in the city, aptly dubbed Renaissance Oklahoma City Bricktown, represents a major renaissance for Bricktown Entertainment district. Billing itself as a luxury lifestyle hotel and the only full-service resort of its kind in the rapidly growing neighborhood, the 10-story property offers stylish rooms, expansive city views and a steakhouse called Culprits, a veritable surf & turf mecca of sushi rolls and prime filets.
Old meets new at the Classen Inn, a self-described “superette” and retro-fitted motel on the edge of Midtown. Colorful, cute and quirky, the two-story abode serves up mid-century vibes with some of the coolest rooms in town, where palm tree wallpaper shares space with hot-pink carpeting and vintage lamps. Although modest in size and scope, the bodega-style superette rounds things out with a curated selection of snacks and drinks, which can be enjoyed in-room or on the playful patio.