The Mayo Hotel story began nearly a century ago with two brothers – Cass A. Mayo and John D. Mayo. Following the great success of their first venture, a five-story furniture store on Fifth and Main, the brothers decided to try their hand at creating a first-class lodging experience in The Oil Capital of the World.
They hired architect George Winkler to design a 19-story building in the Sullivanesque, Art Deco style of a Chicago Schoolhouse. Boasting a base of two-story Doric columns with a terra cotta facade accented by stone etchings, it soon garnered buzz as the tallest building in Oklahoma at the time. Fulfilling their vision of a hotel whose luxurious details would impress even the most discriminating of travelers, its 600 rooms boasted the most modern amenities of the day, including ceiling fans and Tulsa's first running ice water.
When The Mayo Hotel officially opened in 1925, it instantly became the social hub of high society. Known for its champagne brunches and martini lunches, it was the place to see and be seen. Notable guests included President John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis Presley, as well as revered oilmen J. Paul Getty and Waite Phillips who took up residence for a time. As a result, famous deals were often brokered among oil barons in the opulent lobby, private meeting spaces or Crystal Ballroom, while a plethora of other events – galas, weddings, fashion shows and star-studded receptions – also filled The Mayo calendar. It was not uncommon to see even the biggest names just strolling through the building.
Although it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, it closed its doors just one year later. Over the next 30 years the property fell into disrepair as it sat vacant. After countless failed attempts to renovate the long-abandoned building, many feared The Mayo was destined for the wrecking ball until The Snyder family of Tulsa purchased it in 2001 for $250,000. They renovated the lobby and hosted events there until 2008, when they began restoring the remainder of the hotel to its former glory, undertaking the project with the same passion and determination as the Mayo brothers themselves.
After a $42 million dollar historic renovation, The Mayo Hotel re-opened its doors in late 2009, jumpstarting the revitalization of Downtown Tulsa. Steeped in historic detail and modern luxury, the property now offers 102 guest rooms, 76 private residences and the most fabulous event space in Tulsa for hosting weddings, social events, parties, conventions or business meetings.
Today, The Mayo Hotel continues to mean so much – not only to the City of Tulsa – but also to visitors all around the world, who are once again returning to The Mayo Hotel to revive old memories and make new ones.