The Adolphus was opened on October 5, 1912, built by the founder of the Anheuser-Busch company, Adolphus Busch in a Beaux Arts style designed by Thomas P. Barnett of Barnett, Haynes & Barnett of St. Louis. Busch's intention in constructing the hotel was to establish the first grand and posh hotel in the city of Dallas. Under the management of Otto Schubert from 1922–1946, the hotel grew to national prominence. With 22 floors standing a total of 312 feet (95 m), the building was the tallest building in Texas until it was dwarfed by the Magnolia Petroleum Building (now the Magnolia Hotel) just down the street in August 1922. The building underwent a series of expansions, first in 1916, then 1926 and finally in 1950, at the time giving the hotel a total of 1,200 rooms.
The Adolphus has been the host of many respected leaders of business, government and entertainment, including presidents, from Warren G. Harding to George H. W. Bush. Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also stayed at the hotel in 1991. Acclaimed British Milliner Nick Smith resided at the hotel for several months in 2007 to write his début novel "Rock Royalty: Diary of a Supermodel". This hotel was a Dallas hub for entertainment and provided a platform that helped developing careers, such as Bob Hope, Jack Benny and others. North American Aviation (P-51 Mustangs, WWII) and others benefitted from its position as a Texas business hub. During the 1980s, the Adolphus underwent a US$80 million renovation, enlarging and modernizing the already-luxurious guestrooms. It also shrunk the total number of guestrooms to 428. The Adolphus was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
The hotel is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a jilted bride, who has been seen wandering the 19th floor of the hotel. She was due to be married one day during the 1930s, but her fiancé didn't show, leaving the bride-to-be embarrassed and broken-hearted. Later that day her body was found, hanging a few feet from the spot where she was due to say her vows.