Skip to content

Hotel Bentley

Hotel Bentley

The Hotel Bentley was named for its creator and owner, Joseph Bentley, a prominent businessman, lumber baron, and president of the Guaranty Bank and Trust Company (formerly First National Bank). It was designed in the Beaux Arts (Neoclassical) style by George Richard Mann, also the architect of the old Alexandria City Hall and the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock. The contractor was Hull Construction Company of Jackson, Mississippi, and the construction crew was under the supervision of B.H. Shenk. The cost of construction was $750,000, including the furnishings. Original features included a grand marble staircase, ornamental dome, and fountain in the main lobby. It originally consisted of 96 rooms. In 1937 the Bentley was expanded with an eight story 80- room addition at the corner of Jackson and 3rd streets and the hotel lobby was renovated and redesigned in the Art Deco style. Eugene J. Sterne, Inc. of Little Rock prepared the designs for the 1937 changes to the Bentley with C. Errol Barron as associate architect, a native of Alexandria. The renovation included the addition of a cocktail lounge called “The Mirror Room,” a 175 seat coffee shop, and a private dining room in the basement. One of the most distinguishable elements of the Bentley is the massive loggia supported by Ionic columns at the front entrance of the hotel. The grand lobby is accessible from the loggia through one of the seven sets of double doors. The exterior of the building is covered with gray brick and accented with terra cotta ornamentation in the Renaissance Revival style. Balconies on the second story depict a Union Jack motif. Large modillions adorn the cornice, contributing to the complex roofline. The stained glass windows in the basement level are said to be “salutation windows,” depicting men from different countries each with a raised glass, saluting in his native language.

X
X