TX Travel Guide
Keeping up with the trend is Kimpton's Hotel Palomar Dallas, who just launched a new "Travel Lite" wellness package. Among the offerings are: in-room yoga mats, loanable bikes, and, our favorite: a morning run with the hotel GM, Andrew Wright.
We were curious just what makes Wright such a good running buddy...so, we asked him. Here's what he had to say:
Hotel WiFi / Hotel Technology / Dallas Hotels / ZaZa Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Free WiFi / → All Tags
Often times, when we plead our case for free hotel WiFi, we hear that setting up a network or upgrading an existing network is an expensive investment for hotels and in order to recoup the costs, they need to charge guests to use the WiFi.
Now, every hotel is different but there are plenty of hotels out there that have been updating their networks to provide faster speeds and more bandwidth to guests and they still aren't charging for WiFi.
For example, The Hotel ZaZa in Dallas which recently added a new fiber data network throughout the hotel. Hotel president, Benji Homsey, explained the reason for the network upgrade saying:
We designed this network with special attention to the increased presence of Apple iPad, iPhone and Google/Android users in conjunction with the typical laptop usage. We want every Hotel ZaZa guest to have the best, from coverage and access points to best of breed fiber data network to the newly installed bedside power docks in every room.
And the charge to access the internet? It's still totally free.
Hotel Renovations / POTUS Hotels / Holiday Inn / SMU Hotels / Dallas Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
The 42nd president of the United States, George W. Bush is getting his own presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the hotels are expecting to fill up because of it. Yes, differing political leanings aside, President Barack Obama and all living presidents will attend the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum tomorrow though the library officially open to the public the first week of May.
Word on the street is that both the Hotel Palomar and the Hotel Lumen (both Kimpton Hotels), which are within walking distance of the library, are sold out or close to it. And one hotel, The Holiday Inn Dallas, Central-Park Cities recently underwent a $9 million, year-long renovation to spiff up its offerings for the influx of library visitors (estimated to be about 500,000 a year.)
Texas pecan pie for room-service dessert? Yee-haw!
It seems the room-service debate will never go away. Some people call us suckers for succumbing to ordering it, others find it a life-saver in those wee hours when we’re feeling a bit peckish and don’t feel like going out on a food hunt.
But today we’re not debating whether it’s a good idea or not, we’re going to celebrate what we consider one of the most interesting in-room dining room menus we've encountered in a while, and since it’s near quitting time, it’s time for food porn, anyway.
This submission comes courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. Instead of yawn-worthy, limp Caesar salads and uninspired burgers, this hotel is bringing the goods with a Lone Star State-twist. We’re talking chilaquiles with smoked short rib hash, mini-elk sausage corn dogs with Dr.Pepper barbecue sauce, “Sous Vide” beef tacos, and Texas pecan pie.
And there's more, so much finger-licking more, after the jump.
Celebrity Scoop / Hotel News / Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Renovations / Houston Hotels / Historic Hotels / Music Hotels / Texas Hotels / → All Tags
Nothing like a little celebrity appearance to make a hotel re-opening event really sparkle, and that's what happened last week when Sheryl Crow turned up at the Sam Houston (which used to be called The Alden).
The 100-room hotel recently completed renovation work on all guest rooms, suites, and public spaces (the rooms now "combine clean decor with contemporary touches," which is a good thing, since the hotel's been around since 1924!), and has spent the past month celebrating its grand re-opening. Meanwhile, Sheryl Crow has a new album coming out, and she was in town doing promo at a local radio station.
The opportunity was too good to pass up!
Co-founder John Mackey told USA Today the idea for a Whole Foods resort came out of the company's existing employee health program which "focused on weight loss and reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol." Mackey didn't divulge too many details on what the resort would include but it would be in the mold of a Canyon Ranch spa resort. And we're gonna assume that it will have a mini-Whole Foods market off the lobby.
But all you health foods nuts out there should slow your gluten-free roll. The resort is still a ways away from opening. Right now the company is looking for the right real estate and hotel chain to operate it. (Hmmm...may we suggest Even Hotels from IHG?)
Hotel News / Austin Hotels / Historic Hotels / SXSW Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / → All Tags
As many people already know, Austin, TX is currently in the midst of the South By Southwest festival, in which music venues, event spaces, and, yes, hotels, are overrun with artists, musicians, filmmakers, tech start-up hopefuls, and pretty much anyone with a bent towards modern-day media culture.
Which makes this a pretty good time for Hyatt to announce their recent acquisition of the city's historic Driskill Hotel. The Statesman reports that Hyatt bought the iconic hotel (and classic SXSW celeb hangout) for $85 million, and plans to spend another $8 million renovating the place over the next two years.
Comprised of 189 rooms, and originally built in 1886, the Driskill occupies a bustling corner of downtown Austin and remains the city's most beloved historic hotel.
According to hotel lore, the original structure was named after Jesse Driskill, a cattleman who wanted to build the "finest hotel south of St. Louis." Looks like he had the right idea, as 126 years later, the hotel is not only thriving, but also incorporates its colorful past into its current identity (case in point: the Cattle Baron Suite).
A few outstanding features of the room include: red brick walls, chains next to the bed, concrete floors, and a possible two-way mirror.
BoingBoing reports that when the man called to complain, he was told by the Front Desk that they'd made a mistake and that, in fact, "no one was supposed to use that room." Suspicious!
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Texas Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Beer / Hotel Design / → All Tags
There's two exciting things about this place, though: first, it's going up in San Antonio's historic Pearl brewery, which was originally built in 1881 and was an actual, functioning brewery all the way up until 2001.
These days, the Pearl brewery is a 22-acre mixed-use development project that's being hyped as San Antonio's next big foodie destination, with a slew of great restaurants (Il Sogno Italian Osteria, NAO New World Flavors, Blue Box Bar), shops, an amphitheater, and even a CIA campus (that's Culinary Institute of America, not, like, government agents).
Second, the hotel will be designed by Roman & Williams, the creative geniuses who brought us the Ace Hotel (as far as we know, this will be their first project with Kimpton), meaning we can probably expect a lot of exposed ceilings and rich tile and wood textures.
Details are few as of now, though we're guessing Kimpton will play up the Pearl's 'reclaimed,' 'industrial' vibe, since that seems to be all the rage these days. We admit, the brewery's original smoke chimney (pictured), which is still intact, is pretty awesome, and is a unique design feature any hotel would envy.
Another reason we plan on checking into this hotel when it opens next year? Beer!
A recent guest spotted and photographed the above sign, which was mounted at the check-in desk of the Grand Dallas Hotel. In plain letters, the sign offers to compensate guests (in cash, instantly!) for writing positive reviews of the hotel on sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline and Travelocity.
The hotel, which, incidentally, only scores three stars on TripAdvisor (based on nine reviews), reacted promptly to an article posted on The Consumerist, who was tipped off about the sign by a reader who was actually staying at the hotel. Within hours, management had taken down the sign, explaining:
"This sign was posted by one of our front desk staff members while I was out of town for a few days. The team member was trying to go above and and beyond based on a staff meeting we had a couple of weeks ago where I asked the team to try and come up with some creative ways to encourage and get more user reviews for the hotel. "
Eye-catching? Yes. Creative? Not so much.
Historic Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Art / For the Sake of Hotel Art / JFK Hotels / Hilton Hotels / → All Tags
In a new exhibit at The Dallas Museum of Art, paintings that once hung on the walls of suite 850 (pictured above) in the Hotel Texas will be gathered together for the first time since November 22, 1963. And if that suite number—or the date—seem significant, then you're right. It's where President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy spent their last night before the former President's assassination.
The Washington Post reports on an interesting background story about the artworks: prior to the Kennedys' arrival, local newspapers had painted such a bad portrait of the hotel's "unremarkable" Suite 850 that prominent citizens rallied to fill the space with some impressive highbrow art.
And now the museum is re-assembling the collection in time for the fiftieth anniversary of JFK's death. Visitors to the exhibit will get to experience the exact same art that the Kennedys did in 1963, thereby re-living a unique moment in US hotel history.
After a drawn-out renovation process that completely overhauled the top five floors of the building, Omni Austin has reconfigured its suite options, creating twenty-five new one-bedroom suites.
Though the hotel had previously offered suites, it nixed a bunch of the pre-existing two-bedroom suites in order to cut down on space that guests apparently weren't even using. Which sounds a little strange when we put it like that—Texas is generally known for doing everything bigger than the rest of the country. However, if it's a space efficiency issue, then we totally get it. Bigger is better, most of the time. Until, that is, you end up paying for extra beds you're not even sleeping in...