The Belmont Motor Hotel was built in 1946 for $400,000. Designed by Charles Stevens Dilbeck, the hotel is an interesting example of Art Moderne design with emphasis on horizontal lines, rounded corners, and stucco facades. Art Moderne was considered the counterpoint to the Art Deco trends of vertical lines and more angular, polychromatic elements.
When construction began, nearly 8,000 cubic yards of earth and rock were moved to sculpt the cliff site to allow guests unparalleled views of the Dallas skyline. All the latest building technologies available were incorporated into the design and planning of the hotel. Built of fireproof masonry, it was one of the first hotels to offer year-round air conditioning. Similarly elaborate motor court hotels had been successful in California, and architect Charles Stevens Dilbeck took his inspiration from those examples.
Since the 1950s, the Belmont Hotel had fallen prey to time’s abuses. An impressive restoration was completed in late 2005, bringing the hotel back to its original glory, and additional renovations are to begin in 2016.
Considered to be a regional treasure, Dilbeck was a self-taught architectural designer who helped shape the architectural heritage of Dallas. Arriving in Dallas during The Depression, Dilbeck began designing homes in the new, affluent neighborhoods of Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Lakewood, and Oak Cliff. As a designer, he immediately sealed his reputation through his interesting and complex use of detail and architectural materials.
As the career of Dallas’ most idiosyncratic architect progressed, the style of his work evolved from Ranch into the French Eclectic idiom, and finally into Art Moderne. By the 1940s, Dilbeck was as renowned throughout Dallas and North Texas for his motel architecture as for his residential work.