The Hotel Bentley was constructed in 1907 by Joseph Bentley, a native of Pennsylvania who became wealthy in the lumber industry in Central Louisiana. Bentley was an eccentric fellow, and legend has it that the only reason he built the hotel is because he was turned down for a room in the former Ice House Hotel. Bentley was particularly impressed by the Capitol Hotel in Little Rock Arkansas, and asked architect George R. Mann to design him a hotel in Alexandria, opened to the public on August 10, 1908. In 1933 Bentley built a massive eight-story wing fronting Third Street to his hotel, adding more than 80 rooms, which was constructed by a local firm, Tudor-Ratcliffe. Bentley ensured the hotel could also serve as his personal residence. He carved out a large apartment on one of the top floors and installed a personal elevator; both the apartment and the private elevator remain today.
During World War II, the United States military trained over a half of a million troops in the Alexandria area. The commanders of these troops Dwight Eisenhower and George S. Patton resided for long periods of time at the Hotel Bentley, sometimes joined by Omar Bradley and Henry Kissinger planning the historic Louisiana Maneuvers.
Throughout the 1950s, the hotel continued to flourish, but by the late 1960s the hotel closed for business for nearly a decade. On November 15, 1979, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and then in early 1980’s Buddy Tudor, a local developer, purchased and renovated the shuttered hotel, reopening it after millions of dollars in repairs to national acclaim in 1985. Mr. Tudor remained as owner for nearly 15 years and in the late 1990’s he sold to a group out of New Orleans, and less than a year later, they sold the hotel to Bob Dean who eventually closed it’s doors in 2004.
On August 1, 2012, plans were announced for local developer Michael Jenkins to renovate and reopen Hotel Bentley, with luxury condos, a 96-room hotel, meeting rooms, and restaurant. On October 11, 2012, the sale from Dean to Hotel Bentley of Alexandria LLC, headed by local entrepreneur and preservationist Michael Jenkins was completed. The hotel has undergone a multi-million dollar restoration which included converting the seven-story tower portion of the property into condominiums. The original portion of the property will remain a hotel with 92-94 rooms.
Various entertainers and Hollywood stars have been registered guests at the Bentley over the years, including John Wayne
and Roy Rogers.