When most people think of Dallas, Texas, they picture the old west, Cowboys, and the Dallas Cowboys football team. Dallas is also a city known for food, entertainment, hospitality, and museums. The Dallas arts district is the biggest in the country covering a 19 block swath of downtown. If you like sports, they have five professional sports teams and over 200 golf courses. There are so many options to fill your days with great food, entertainment and lodging choices let’s take the top down on the Cadillac convertible and go for a ride Texas style to explore the Big D.
Two airports welcome airline passengers into the Dallas area. What’s not to love about an airport named Dallas Love Field? Named after an early aviator Lt. Moss Lee Love, this charming mid-sized airport has undergone extensive renovations making it one of my favorite airports to fly into on trips to Dallas. With trendy restaurants, designer touches and comfy seating Love Field would be tops on my list of airports to get stranded in for several hours. To the north-west is Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). It is big as Texas. Most visitors come to the area by way of “DFW”. With baggage carousels located ultra-close to where your plane docks it’s convenient to get your bags and head to town. Rental car shuttle buses will whisk you to the rental car center in about ten minutes. You will, however, be significantly farther out from the city center at DFW compared to Love Field. During rush hour it can take an hour or more to get into the downtown area for DFW, but during other times the drive should take only about thirty minutes.
With a city this big and diverse, many boutique hotels are waiting for your selection. In the downtown area at the geographic center of Dallas is the Joule Hotel. If you want the middle of the downtown scene, this is the place to be. Entering the lobby both a giant sized cog and wheel sculpture plus gorgeous mosaic art grab your attention. The owner has lavished this unique hotel with dozens of pieces from his art collection suitable for the finest art museums. The Joule features one of the most interesting rooftop pools on our tour of Dallas hotels. Part of their pool is extended beyond the roofline and hangs high over 1530 Main Street! A must-see feature.
Still in the downtown area, close to the arts district and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is Hotel ZaZa. This luxury hotel claims to blend the best of business travel with the luxury and sensuality of a destination resort. The owner of ZaZa has decorated the entire property with art from his extensive collection making a great first impression. This feast for the senses will captivate guests and create a pleasing environment whether you are visiting on business or for pleasure. ZaZa has 169 rooms of which guests can choose three types of guestrooms, custom-designed concept suites, Magnificent Seven Suites, or the recently added Bungalow Suites.
For those travelers wanting a unique experience on the lower end of the price scale, the Belmont Hotel is perched on a hill overlooking Dallas. A mere five minutes’ drive south-west of the West End historic district on Commerce Street brings you to this stucco abode on the hill. The Belmont Hotel harkens back to the days of “motor lodges” catering to the ever increasing amount of travelers hitting the road in an automobile. Built in 1946 and renovated to a modern, trendy boutique motel with a classic look and feel guests love the 1940s setting of the Belmont. Suites feature oversized soaking tubs and spacious living rooms, some with great views. The views are some of the best in all of Dallas especially for sunsets seen from their pool area. Steps away from the Belmont Hotel is Smoke, a restaurant famous for its twist on the barbeque and Texas cuisine. Carry out is available to for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even if you can afford a more luxurious boutique hotel stay many will enjoy the unconventional comfort of the Belmont.
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is on the edge of downtown Dallas but feels like a country estate. Warm peach colored exteriors make this luxurious resort-like hotel noticeable from afar. Here is a boutique lodging option for a relaxed extended stay in the Big D or special event. Opened in 1980, the Rosewood Management Company renovated this 1920s mansion into the plush boutique hotel famous throughout Texas. Original European-inspired designer touches can still be seen in the hand-carved fireplaces, marble floors, and stained glass windows. One hundred and forty rooms and suites await both business and leisure travelers that want to be close to downtown, but in peaceful surroundings.
On the north end of the Dallas metro area is Southern Methodist University (SMU) where you will find The Lumen Hotel. Although cloaked in a plain white exterior, there is nothing else plain about this 93 room, boutique hotel. Part of the Kimpton family of hotels, guests will find trademark service, style and pet-friendly lodging at the steps of SMU. The Lumen offers twelve room types with the Grand Lux Suite the top end. The Lumen Hotel has a phenomenal rooftop terrace that can accommodate up to 120 people for your special event. Their pool area is also noteworthy. Lounge out in one of their cabanas after an invigorating swim in this peaceful courtyard pool.
Other boutique hotels of note are The Adolphus. Currently undergoing an extensive renovation in downtown Dallas they expect to be finished sometime in the spring/summer of 2017. When finished this gilded age giant of Dallas hotels will be worth investigating. Many a famous guest has stayed here such as the Queen of England, rock band legend U2, Babe Ruth and Mary Tyler Moore.
NYLO Dallas South Side Hotel is in the South Lamar/ Cedars neighborhood. Close to the Dallas Farmer’s Market and Southside Music Hall make this an excellent choice for a boutique hotel that doesn’t break the bank to stay a night or two. Loft style rooms give guests a Texas-sized experience. Enjoy their rooftop pool on hot days then hit the SODA Bar, serving mixed drinks, beer and wine with a view.
October through May are my favorite times of year to visit Dallas. A walk through the Dallas Arboretum then a visit to the historic West End shops and restaurants can fill a whole day. Choosing from some 12,000 restaurants can be daunting, but your hotel concierge can guide you through this foodie paradise. The Dallas Symphony, Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park, George W. Bush Presidential Library, Sixth Floor Museum, and Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District are some of the top attractions. With the above-listed boutique hotels to choose from you are sure to have a great time in the Big D. Get your cowboy hat and boots ready; it’s time to take a trip.
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