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Berry Tramel


Life in the John Wayne Suite

by Berry Tramel Modified: March 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm •  Published: July 24, 2007

Sometimes living right pays off. Sometimes it takes time.

I arrived in San Antonio at 9:30 a.m. Monday, got downtown to our hotel at 10:30 a.m. and got online fully about 1 p.m. Tuesday. I spent 27-plus hours wrestling with the staff at the St. Anthony Wyndham Hotel to get the Internet activated.

But I was rewarded, in a big-time way. I’m now staying in the John Wayne Suite.

The St. Anthony is an historic hotel. Photos of famous guests dot the ground floor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria.  Audie Murphy. Princess Grace. John Wayne.

Frankly, the hotel has seen better days. It’s more quaint than hospitable these days. My phone didn’t work. My keys didn’t work. My Internet didn’t work.

I can get by without a phone. I can get by without keys if security will let me in. But the job has changed; I need my Internet.  I need it to blog, and I need it to finish the final installment of our Centennial series, the 100 best teams in state history, which I’ll figure out tonight somewhere around 3 a.m.

I was staying in a suite anyway at the St. Anthony. When we checked in Monday, they were running out of regular rooms, so they gave me a suite, since I had booked the rooms for The Oklahoman. It was spacious and charming, I suppose, except for that danged Internet.

I couldn’t get on, and couldn’t get on, and couldn’t get on. I talked to the Internet provider six times and spent so much time at the front desk, other Big 12 writers asked if they were passing out drinks. Finally, they said they would move me to a room where the Internet worked.

I got the John Wayne Suite. It’s where Wayne stayed while filming “The Alamo” in 1960 and where he returned in 1978 during a convention.

It’s SIX rooms and more spacious than the new apartments in downtown Oklahoma City that are all the rage and going for $1,000 a month.

I’ve got a living area, a dining area; an entry way that’s big enough to serve as a dance floor, complete with bar (unstocked); a bedroom with two closets; a spacious bathroom; and a little room between the bathroom and the bedroom. It’s the dangdest thing you’ve ever seen.

I could have a cocktail party up here. I could have the Big 12 reception up here. You could put 50 people in this suite and nobody would be crowded.

I’m no operator. I’m no conniver. These kinds of things usually don’t happen to me. The next time I sit in first class on an airline will be the first. When a restaurant screws up and wants to comp my meal, I usually decline.

 But I’ve got to tell you. The John Wayne Suite is pretty cool.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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