The Artesian Hotel Casino and Spa invited Chickasaw Nation members, hotel guests and local residents to its first birthday celebration last Friday, an event that was the icing on the cake after a successful first year of operations. And that cake turned out to be a remarkably realistic replica of the landmark hotel.

To celebrate the hotel’s first birthday, Artesian Area General Manager Nick Starns and Artesian Hotel General Manager Bryce Chitwood commissioned a cake from Dallas’ Frosted Art Bakery that replicated the grand architecture of the hotel, located at 1001 W. 1st St. Starns said the Artesian commissioned the cake to express the management and staff’s gratitude to the community and visitors for bringing unprecedented success to the year-old hotel.

“Words cannot truly describe the feeling, but ‘jubilation’ is a good start,” Starns said. “We knew the Artesian would be a great property and we knew it would be successful, but to see this hotel achieve 80 percent occupancy for its first year and 90 percent for this summer, well, it’s simply unheard of.

The Artesian Hotel opened on Aug. 2, 2013 at the site of the original Artesian, serving as both a reminder of the original’s opulence and a leap forward for boutique hotel accommodations in south-central Oklahoma. With 81 rooms and suites, the Artesian features rooms, a lobby, the Sole’renity Spa, the Springs at Artesian restaurant, the Fountain Club Lounge, an indoor-outdoor pool and an expanding group of retail shops.

The original Artesian Hotel opened in 1906 and served as the social focal point for Murray County, the Artesian hosted governors, presidents and movie stars as well as thousands of visitors who came to Sulphur to experience the natural springs. But in 1962, a fire in one of the parlors destroyed the original Artesian. Thanks to the efforts of the Chickasaw Nation, which broke ground on the property in 2010, the new Artesian Hotel is reviving the spirit of the original and bringing new focus to the Sulphur area.

“This success didn’t just surprise us. It surprised everyone,” Starns said. “People started saying, ‘Wow – what is going on in Sulphur, Oklahoma?’ The Artesian is revitalizing the area, with new restaurants wanting to come in, new businesses and retail that are opening in downtown Sulphur, and that will continue. There is a big market here and people want it to succeed, and we’re going to see more of it.”