TX Travel Guide

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Another Hotel Shootout, This Time at the Omni Downtown Austin Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 700 San Jacinto at 8th Street [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
July 6, 2015 at 8:36 PM | by | ()

We have a few fears about staying in hotels, usually centered around someone breaking into our room and the hotel overcharging us for WiFi, but now we have "shootout" to add to the list.

A gunman walked into the lobby of the Omni Hotel Downtown Austinand killed a 60-year-old cab driver, before being shot to death by police offers. The incident happened at around 5am on Sunday morning, after 911 received a call from the hotel with a report of a man walking around the lobby carrying a gun. Police arrived on the scene to find a man carrying a rifle and a body on the ground. When the suspect pointed the gun at police, they returned gunfire, killing him near the hotel's restaurant.

The gunman was later identified as Michael Holt, who rented a desk from a start-up incubator called Capital Factory, which has operations inside the Omni Hotel's building. This shooting comes nearly a week after another deranged gunman killed 27 tourists in Tunisia.

We suspect the restaurant will be out of service at the Omni Hotel for at least a few days while the crime scene continues to be investigated but you'd never know that from the Omni Hotel's website which makes no note of the incident or of any closures. Omni Hotel's Facebook page has also remained silent on the matter. We reached out to an Omni rep but have not heard back with a comment on the shooting.

Tomorrow, the hotel is hosting Trailer Food Tuesdays and according to that group's Facebook page, the event is still on. We found rooms at the hotel tomorrow night starting from $269.

[Photo: Omni Hotels]

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Sorry Detroit, Virgin Hotels to Do Dallas in 2018

June 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM | by | ()

The ladies of Virgin Chicago. The garb for Dallas will definitely be shorter and skimpier different.

The fourth property for Virgin Hotels has just been announced and well, grab your cowboy boots and your cowboy hats, because Virgin is heading for Dallas. (But the other D--Detroit--is still a possibility.)

Set to open in 2018 in the Dallas Design District, the hotel will have over 200 guest rooms, er, "chambers", a spa, pool and several places to eat and drink, including The Commons Club, the all-day, everyday lounge first launched at the Virgin Chicago.

Other Virgin amenities will also be found in Dallas including free and blazing fast WiFi, no cancellation fees as long as you call before midnight, early check-in or late check-out without penalty, and mini bar items at street prices. Guests can also socialize during the hotel's Social Hour when complimentary drinks are served, top shelf included.

But before Dallas, we'll have Virgins in Nashville and New York to sleep with, hopefully sometime next year.

[Photo: Virgin Hotels]

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Dallas Icon to Regain Its Mid-Century Glory as The Statler Hilton

May 13, 2015 at 6:43 PM | by | ()

Here’s some news sure to please staunch preservationists and dedicated followers of Mid-Century design. The former Statler Hilton Dallas, a classy 1950s gem in downtown Dallas, is getting a second act.

The hotel is reopen in 2016 after extensive renovations as a new member of Hilton Hotels' Curio Collection .

The Dallas Morning News reports that developers Centurion American Development Group got the official “nod” from City Council along with about $46 million in pocket change to forward the mixed-use project which includes the restoration of the Old Dallas Central Library, another cool 50s building, located next door to the hotel.

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Get Fit on the Road with a Little Help from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

May 4, 2015 at 10:25 AM | by | ()

The first NFL football kickoff might be a few months away, but with the draft and other goings on now is as good of a time as any to train for the upcoming season.

Dallas Cowboys fans—and those who don’t hate America’s Team—should make their way to Omni Dallas Hotel for a little preseason workout. Just note that things might be a little different than those looking to hit the traditional gridiron, as these workouts are probably best for those looking to score a spot on the cheerleading squad.

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One City Block, Two Office Buildings, Three Dallas Hotels

April 23, 2015 at 12:00 PM | by | ()

Two side-by-side outdated office buildings in downtown Dallas are getting a new lease on life. That’s always good news, especially when that new life is a hotel. Or three.

The Dallas Morning News reports that developer NewcrestImage plans to renovate the two towers on Commerce Street and with a little design magic, by the end of next year we can look forward to a Hampton Inn & Suites, Residence Inn by Marriott, and AC Hotels by Marriott, offering a total of about 400 rooms.

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JW Marriott Kicks Off Austin Hotel Boom Tomorrow

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 110 E. Second St. [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
February 12, 2015 at 8:55 AM | by | ()

Let superstition be damned: Marriott Hotels is taking Friday the 13th head on by opening its JW Marriott Austin tomorrow. The largest JW Marriott in the United States (1,012 guestrooms) and second largest in the world (largest being the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai, because everything is bigger in Dubai), there are some dazzling stats that come with its size, but we’ve mostly focused on its walk-up burger window.

A King or Double-Queen Room is still available from $299 a night on opening day, of which the website currently only displays the above artist impression. We like the factory-style rolling doors that return in the headboard design, with the rest showing an expected subdued mix of blues, greys, whites, and browns.

The 1,000+ rooms on East Second Street are only the beginning of a highly-concentrated hotel boom for Austin, with another 1,400 rooms arriving within blocks of the JW Marriott. First up is The Westin Austin Downtown, now scheduled for July 16th on East 5th – a relative lightweight with only 326 rooms. It is making good on its promise of a 2015 opening though, which cannot be said of The Fairmont Austin, now pushed back to 2017, half a decade after it announced its 1,000+ room hotel.

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Another Art Deco Gem Will Join The Autograph Collection Late Next Year

February 10, 2015 at 4:04 PM | by | ()

The owner of a gorgeous Art Deco building in Downtown Fort Worth is eager to convert it to a 165-room hotel, specifically an Autograph Collection hotel. It is not a done deal yet, as there are many a design hoop to jump through, but things appear to moving forward, with an anticipated opening in late 2016.

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If You Text Them, This Hotel Will Place a Pic of Nic Cage On Your Pillow

January 29, 2015 at 10:40 AM | by | ()

A few years ago, hotels began texting their guests during their stay. Often the texts usually come from the concierge desk to follow up with information about a request. Other times, it comes from the front desk, updating the guest on whatever they might need out of the room.

But at the Hotel Indigo San Antonio Riverwalk, the concierge and the front desk teamed up on text to get the guest whatever they wanted, which turned out to be various pictures of Nicolas Cage.

You can read the hilarious text message exchange on Imgur. It all started when the hotel welcomed the guest to the hotel and told them to text if the guest needed anything. To which the guest replied:

Can I please have a framed pic of Nic Cage in Conair on my bed by 6?

Strange wish granted.

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The JW Marriott Austin Will Have a Walk-Up Burger Window When It Opens Next Month

January 12, 2015 at 5:38 PM | by | ()

The JW Marriott Austin is set to open on February 13 and when it does it will be the largest JW Marriott in North America and the second-largest JW Marriott in the world with just over a 1,000 guest rooms.

That's all fine and good but we are far more excited for the planned Burger Bar on Congress restaurant, which is actually a walk-up food truck-style window . Burger Bar on Congress will be open at lunchtime and in the early evening and will serve the holy trinity of burgers, hand-cut fries and shakes.

Right now, we see no other reason to eat anywhere else when staying at the JW Marriott Austin but the hotel does have a few more restaurant options should you be sick of burgers. (Never!)

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Yee Haw, The Dallas Cowboys are Opening an Omni Hotel

November 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM | by | ()

Across the pond, in Manchester, they are building Hotel Football, exactly what it sounds like--a hotel devoted to the national pastime of football. Now, in Dallas, they are building the American version of Hotel Football--The Omni Frisco Hotel, which is being built in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Omni will have 300 guest rooms, meeting space, ballroom, several restaurants and bars, and a rooftop pool deck. It will be adjacent to the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and Frisco's Multi-Use Event Center, which are already under construction (That's it on the far right in the photo above.)

No word on whether the rooms will be decked out in Cowboy gear but we can probably expect an "Ultimate Fan" suite, or two.

While the Cowboys won't be playing at their headquarters on game day, they will be using the spot as their training facility. The headquarters will also the team's administrative offices, coaches' offices and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Ding, ding, ding!

The Omni Frisco, which will be the fifth Omni Hotel for the Dallas/Fort Worth-area, will break ground later this spring and should open in early 2017. Let's hope the Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl that year. No pressure, though.

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Howdy, Dude: Hard Rock to Open in Texas at an Indoor Ski Resort

October 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM | by | ()

Move over Dubai. Americans will now have a much easier way of skiing indoors. They will simply just need to fly to Texas.

The newly announced Grand Alps Village development for Grand Prairie, Texas will have an indoor snow facility on-site. Here's what is expected inside:

This expertly designed facility is 1,220' in length, 570' wide and just under 300' tall featuring the longest indoor ski run in the world. Multiple ski runs accommodate beginner, intermediate and expert skiers, and thrill snowboarders with an Olympic half pipe and snowboarding course. The snow center includes a snow play area, snow tubing, tobogganing, a luge track and a winter wonderland for kids of all ages.

Accompanying the indoor ski resort will be the Hard Rock Hotel Dallas-Fort Worth, a 300-room hotel with a rooftop pool complex, a Rock Spa, a Body Rock fitness center and tons of music memorabilia throughout. Construction will being in January and the hotel is expected to open by January 2018 with 86 of its hotel rooms expected to overlook the indoor ski resort.

At first glance, this might seem like a random sort of move for Hard Rock but when you consider how family-friendly the brand has gotten recently, it makes sense. Having recently announced theirHard Rock Roxstars Kids Program, this indoor ski resort hotel is the perfect follow-up move for appealing to the family travel market.

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Werk It: JW Marriott Houston Downtown Shows Off New Glam Uniforms

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 806 Main Street [map], Houston, TX, United States, 77002
September 9, 2014 at 1:52 PM | by | ()

It's Fashion Week in NYC but down in Houston, Texas there's another fashion show of sorts taking place. The JW Marriott Houston Downtown, opening later this month, has just unveiled their new uniform collection for hotel associates (aka employees).

The seriously stylish collection was actually inspired by the 104-year-old Samuel F. Carter Building, which was Houston's first skyscraper and which now houses the luxury hotel brand. A custom blouse print even features a photograph of the building taken in 1910.

David Peck USA designed the men's and women's line which features classic silhouettes for the ladies in the form of pencil skirts, structured jackets, sheath dresses and blouses with neckties and chiffon panels and for the men, neutral tones with splashes of bright blue and peridot and some dandy accessories like bow ties and suspenders. Both the women's and mens lines features custom, hand-woven and fair trade tweed in several pieces.

“Traditional uniforms can mask individuality so we wanted the JW Marriott Houston Downtown associates to stand out and feel confident,” David Peck said n a statement. “The fashionable designs we’ve created empower the associates, both as individuals and as a team, to provide the guests with a quality of service guests that has become synonymous with the JW Marriott brand around the world.”

Take a look at these uniforms, if you can even call them that. They might just be the best ones we've seen yet. Even better, David Peck USA locally manufactured and custom tailored the women's line and used garments from a local shirt maker and menswear manufacturer for the men's line. #keepingitlocal

Now, we just hope these uniforms hold up after a few months of wear.

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