Meet Our New Spa Director – Hillie Bills!


1. Give us a little history abut yourself. Where are you from?

Im from upstate New York, but spent a lot of my childhood living in Europe where my father worked.

2. Why did you choose a career in the spa industry?

Many years ago when I was living in New York, I began working with nutritionists and body workers in order to seek the best treatment for my own wellbeing. I found myself so interested in information about health and wellness that my focus eventually expanded. What started out as a personal project ultimately turned into a professional career in the spa industry.

Working in this field has led me to believe that an approach based purely on scientific data or acquiring factual information is just one small part of our overall health.  So much of our general well-being is a result of our attitude and behaviors.  Negative self worth leads to stress hormones stress hormones lead to illness. Helping people ease into a positive mind frame is so rewarding to me and is one of my favorite things about working in this business.

3. What brought you out to Marathon?

I drove through West Texas a year and a half ago, and I knew it was the place for me.   My main artistic pursuits outside work are writing songs about cowboys and watching Spaghetti Westerns. Marathon was a perfect fit for my creative life, but what sealed the deal for me was the opportunity to direct the Gage Spa and continue working in the wellness field.

4. How do you like Marathon, TX and the Gage Hotel?

It was love at first sight. Im still in the honeymoon phase and expect that phase to last for a very long time. Im originally from a very small river town on the East Coast.  Subtract the fishing boats and add tumbleweeds, and its pretty much the same place. Needless to say, I feel at home here and the people at the Gage Hotel feel like family to me.

5. How does the Gage Spa compare to other places you have worked?

Ive worked in some very busy places.  In the spa industry we emphasize the cultivation of down-time, balance and stopping to smell the roses.  Following a relaxing treatment at many spas, spa professionals release their clients back into the hectic and frantic grind of every day life.    

At the Gage Spa, I enjoy the experience of providing high-quality services to clients in an exquisitely peaceful environment, and then sending them off into the gorgeous, quiet calm of West Texas.  The combination of such a tranquil spa setting and the natural beauty surrounding us amplifies the benefits of their treatments.  

And the best part for me is that I get to live in this idyllic atmosphere, too! At the Gage Spa, it doesnt feel like a job that I clock in and out of.

6. What services are currently offered at the spa?

Massage, body treatments, skincare treatments and Bridal Hair and Make-up.

I still believe fully in the importance of touch in the spa world, and therefore we dont use any tools or big equipment. Theres a general trend in the spa industry to rely heavily on machinery.  I think we lose something there.  Im happy to be in such a traditional spa where the hands do the work.

7. What changes have you made so far to the spa at the Gage Hotel?

My focus has been on the many little things that add to the greater spa experience, including creating a space and amenity offerings that rival offerings at large destination spas.

Guests now have many more options of treatments including the ability to lounge in your spa robe while drinking our signature organic tea, indulging in a foot soak, having makeup applied after a facial and before dinner, requesting in-room massages and more. Those kind of personalized experiences were important for me to implement at the Gage Spa and guests have loved them.

8. What changes do you see in the future of the spa?

Many!  The Spa is so beautifully designed, all of our guests comment on how much they love the space.  We are looking to take that idea and to expand it so that more time can be spent lounging and soaking in the experience.  

Ultimately Id love for the spa gardens to be somewhat self-sustaining in terms of offering people spa-oriented meals or juices in the midst of a day-long package.  We are becoming more wellness-oriented, which will allow for weekend retreats for folks from the city who are trying to reorient their health on a number of levels.

We are also exploring the idea of incorporating more hydrotherapy elementsbasically adding more water features and activities to the spa, especially since were in an arid climate.  Between the water and plant-based options on the horizon for us, I believe our spa will soon be considered the premiere oasis in West Texas!

9. How do you want customers to feel upon arriving and leaving the Gage Hotel Spa?

Embraced and balanced, respectively.

Gage Spa


The Nichols Photographers- “Why We Love West Texas and The Gage Hotel”

“When I was 12 years old and in 7th grade, I had a phenomenal science teacher who organized summer trips out to West Texas from our small east Texas town. That was the first time I experienced the quiet beauty of the vast, West Texas landscape, which was in such stark contrast to the piney woods and swamplands where I grew up. The wide open spaces that seemed to go on forever opened up my world and fostered my love for heading west.
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Now as a mom of two young girls who love adventure, my husband CJ and I visit our favorite spots in West Texas every chance we get, always capped off with a stay at Marathon’s Gage Hotel.
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The tiny town of Marathon, TX has won our hearts with it’s quiet, charming main street and friendly residents. We like to bring along our bikes, cruise around the sleepy town and take pictures of the desert landscape. The history of the Gage Hotel and their attention to detail makes staying here such a unique experience, and is such a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life in Austin.
NICHOLS (2 of 31)
As photographers, the West Texas landscape offers endless opportunities for photos with it’s unique quality of light and open expanses. Recently, we had the opportunity to document a wedding at the Gage Hotel, and it’s one of our favorites to date.  A wedding at the Gage Hotel is such a relaxed, and festive atmosphere where everyone can come together to celebrate, and practically have an entire town to yourselves! It’s such a fun weekend getaway and unique experience for your guests, and great proximity for exploring Big Bend National Park.
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We were so inspired while documenting this wedding, with the ceremony held at the historic Captain Shepard’s House, and reception at the Gage Hotel courtyard. We were able to steal the bride and groom away for some portraits against the stunning desert landscape, which are my favorite images from the day. We’re looking forward to documenting another wedding here this fall!
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Some of our other favorite West Texas spots include Balmorhea State park, the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. The water is cold and clear and our family enjoys snorkeling and swimming with the catfish.
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We always try to make it to a “star party” at McDonald’s Observatory, the darkest observatory in North America. Astronomers will point out constellations in the night sky and you can view planets through their massive telescopes. It’s a wonderful facility and the stars are spectacular!
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Other spots we love include Big Bend National Park, El Cosmico in Marfa, the Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park, built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp, and we’ll stop off in Alpine to grab a hot dog from “Cow Dog,” a food truck parked on their main street, and pop into Ring Tail Music to browse their records.
Our family loves visiting West Texas and we find something new each time we visit. We can’t wait to head west again!”

NICHOLS (3 of 31)(All photos courtesy of Nichols Photographers)

The Vaquero – Exhibit

The Gage Hotel is very excited to host an exciting exhibit of photographs and narrative text. They are all about the way of life and traditions of the Mexican vaquero, as captured by noted author and screenwriter of the Lonesome Dove series, Bill Witliff. This exhibit is located in the our Reposa Room from February 6-28. Admission is free!Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 4.13.28 PM

Phillip’s Prickly Pear Margarita


Phillip, our manager and food and beverage director here at the Gage Hotel, shared with us his most popular drink recipe that keeps visitors raving and craving, even weeks after their stay. Needless to say, this West Texan knows a thing or two about making an amazing and authentic margarita—and we are lucky enough to have him share his secret with us. Happy Friday y’all!

The 5 simple ingredients are as follows:

1.5 ounces  *Pura Vida Silver tequila

2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 ounces of Cointreau

Splash of simple syrup

1/2 ounces of prickly pear juice (1/2prickly pear juice, and 1/2 prickly pear purée mix)

After combining the above, add the mixture to a shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Salt the rim of the glass (or not—whichever you prefer!), and add ice. Then, strain the margarita into your glass and garnish with lime wedge or fruit of your choice.

Voila! You have your self a delicious homemade Prickly Pear Margarita, courtesy of the Gage Hotel. Enjoy!

7 Spots You May Not Have Seen in Marathon, TX

For those of you who have visited us before, you may think you’ve seen all that Marathon has to offer! However, our little town has a few hidden gems that may surprise you. Next time you’re out visiting our area take some time to check out some of our treasures!

  1. The Milky Way:  As one of the most isolated areas of the country Marathon’s night sky is one of the top star gazing locations in North America. In fact, it has the least amount of light pollution of any National Park in the lower 48 states and is classified as a Level 1 Dark Sky!MilkyWayOverMarathon copy
  2. Captain Shepard’s House: Don’t miss your chance to see one of the first colonial homes built in the late 1800’s in the town that would soon become Marathon, TX. Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 5.06.27 PM
  3. One of a Kind Shopping: Marathon, TX is host to a variety of stores that you won’t find anywhere else! We guarantee that you’ll find great clothes, antiques and one-of-a-kind art.Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 3.01.31 PM
  4. Marathon Coffee Shop: Not only will their delicious and down-home coffees & fresh baked goods perk you up in the morning, but this is the best spot in Marathon to hear our local banjo player Billy Faier (pictured below) play some fabulous tunes!                             Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 5.06.37 PM
  5. Gage Gardens: At the Gage Hotel we have worked so hard to cultivate a “Secret Garden” of our own. The Gage Gardens is a secluded, peaceful oasis perfect for any family picnic or romantic stroll.Double Rainbow
  6. First School House: This is the oldest school building in Brewster County. Built in 1888 it was used not only for schooling, but for all town public meetings and elections. The structure is still in beautiful shape over 120 years later due to a restoration done in 1928 by the ladies of the Marathon Study Club. Hence the school house’s new nickname – The “Club House”! Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 10.54.19 AM
  7. Marathon Jail: While the first “jail” in Marathon consisted of a windmill and a few chains for drunkenness and disorderly behavior, eventually we upgraded to this small, rock structure. Come inside, take a look and try not to get into any trouble! We’d hate to have to dust off those cuffs!Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 3.06.49 PM

(Photo credits: Daniel Self, Andrew Slaton and the Marathon Historical Museum)

Who Is William Roam and What Is He Doing At The Gage?

At the Gage Hotel we strive to ensure that our guests are treated to the best of the best and we think we’ve found that in the William Roam line of products.

William Roam’s signature Roam Collection is now available in our guest rooms. These finely crafted luxury grooming products are formulated with a unique blend of antioxidant phytonutrients, amino acids, vitamins and minerals for incredibly soft and healthy skin and hair. Best of all, the products are 100% conceived and created in the U.S and packaged with recycled materials. Having tried the products ourselves, we are sold, and know that you will be too.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 3.24.26 PMWilliam Roam strive to encapsulate the “spirit of modern American travel: refined but approachable, sophisticated but spirited” and, like the Gage Hotel and our guests, hold themselves to the highest standards of quality and style which is why we are proud to partner with them.

Come visit us soon!

Traveling to El Cosmico? Make the Gage Hotel a Must-Stop Spot!

Attention music lovers and road warriors: are you hitting the road for El Cosmico music festival this weekend?

If so, we have a travel tip for a delicious pit stop along the way – one that includes a Texas Monthly-rated “Best Burger”,  fan-favorite prickly pear margarita, and a famous White Buffalo. And if you have a bit more time, a sparkling swimming pool under the big West Texas sky.

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Whether we are a stop on your way to or from El Cosmico, we hope to see you along the way at the Gage Hotel.

Marathon Marketplace


Culture and history run deep in our little town of Marathon, as does our love for a good ole’ mom and pop shop.

With a range of shops as unique and authentic as the Gage Hotel itself, the towns’ shops are a true reflection of the spirit of the West.

These family-owned and operated local businesses are not only chock full of lovely regional fashion, antiques, dry goods and artwork, it is also a great way to get to know some of the nicest, most interesting people around.

So, break out your shopping bag, take a stroll on down ol’ Main Street, and say howdy to our neighbors!

  • Pitaya Verde
  • Rusty Rabbit
  • San Rosendo Crossing
  • Lechuguilla Liquors
  • French Co. Grocer
  • Klepper Gallery
  • Evans Gallery / Desert Critter Wear
  • High Desert Emporium / Deadhorse Armory
  • Big Bend RV Supply