Vacations look different these days. With many travelers still wary of getting on a plane, let alone venturing abroad, more Texans are hoping to get away from it all while also staying close to home. In a survey of more than 11,000 travelers, 73 percent of Americans said they’d be traveling this year, with long weekend getaways and short road trips among the most popular options. Perhaps surprisingly, hotels remain the top choice of accommodations, with 46 percent of travelers planning to stay in one.
Planning ahead for a hotel stay is especially important during the pandemic. Masks will be de rigueur for the foreseeable future, and staying at least six feet away from those in the same space is still crucial, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When planning your trip, choose a hotel that offers contactless reservations and payment, call ahead to ask what prevention and sanitation policies are in effect, and aim to avoid lobbies, dining rooms, and other potentially crowded areas as much as possible.
Some Texas hoteliers have taken advantage of the pandemic by using the time to complete major renovations. Others are planning to open their doors for the first time. Whether you’re eyeing a staycation or a substantial getaway, we’ve rounded up eight of the most stylish new (or newly updated) hotels across the state.
Entrepreneur Jonathan Morris and his business partner, Allen Mederos, are transforming a former dry ice warehouse in Fort Worth’s Cultural District into a 21-room boutique hotel. Hotel Dryce will step into the creative, modern spirit that Fort Worth has been exploring in recent years. Morris knows this side of the city well: he’s the owner of Fort Worth Barber Shop and the Lathery (a men’s grooming products retailer) and cofounder of Memo Hospitality Group, as well as host of the upcoming Magnolia Network show Self Employed.
“I see Fort Worth on the precipice of having a moment like Austin has had, or a moment like Nashville has had or Portland,” Morris says. He predicts that the city will soon become an even bigger tourist destination. “We have a canvas to paint a more holistic picture of what Fort Worth has been and is becoming.”
The hotel will have a lobby bar and an outdoor courtyard area. Morris is working on partnerships with local restaurants, breweries, and beverage companies.
Hotel Dryce is set to open in early 2021.
Hotel Vin, Autograph Collection
A wine-themed hotel makes perfect sense for Grapevine, a Dallas–Fort Worth suburb that’s home to dozens of wineries and tasting rooms, as well as the annual GrapeFest festival. The new Hotel Vin zeroes in on that local culture with its extensive list of wines and spirits, including many sourced from Texas. Guests can grab dinner at one of the onsite food hall’s seven restaurants, whose offerings range from South American arepas and Vietnamese bao to Middle Eastern kabobs, or schedule a private tasting in the wine room. Or if you’re coming to town for work, the Marriott property is less than ten minutes from the airport—and did we mention there’s a rooftop bar?
Hotel Vin, Autograph Collection is open now, and the Harvest Hall food court will open in October.
If you can’t just leave the outdoors outside, Hotel Magdalena might be for you. Inspired by the Central Texas landscape, this 89-room hotel features a central pool that pays homage to Barton Springs, lush landscaping that focuses on native Texas plants, and terrazzo floors that call river rocks to mind.
Designed by the Bunkhouse Group (of El Cosmico and Hotel San José fame), the hotel includes a restaurant called Summer House on Music Lane. With a live-fire grill and rotisserie, it’ll specialize in meats and seasonal produce while embracing classic Texas cuisine. Lots of natural light beams in through large windows in each room, and naturally, the nine-hundred-square-foot pool is surrounded by a bar. It all feels like a retreat, even though South Congress Avenue is just a few steps away.
Hotel Magdalena is open now, and the Summer House on Music Lane restaurant is scheduled to open in November.
Cotton Court Hotel
A mile from Texas Tech University and from the Depot District’s lively restaurant scene, the Cotton Court Hotel feels like a comfortable retreat, especially for big-city dwellers seeking a slower pace. Much like Lubbock itself, this 165-room hotel is down-to-earth and unpretentious.
Fire pits, Adirondack chairs, and corn hole sets invite visitors to linger on the lawn; inside, each room has stylish art prints and a big, comfy ottoman to put your feet on. Courtyard rooms have porches with Acapulco rocking chairs. The Midnight Shift Restaurant & Bar will emphasize local craft beer, cocktails, and locally sourced dishes.
Cotton Court Hotel is open now, and the Midnight Shift Restaurant & Bar will open later this fall.
The Kimpton Pittman Hotel
Billed as the first luxury hotel in Dallas’s lively Deep Ellum neighborhood, the Kimpton Pittman’s site has a rich history. The building was designed in 1916 by William Sydney Pittman, the first Black architect to practice in Texas and the son-in-law of Booker T. Washington. This spot once housed the Knights of Pythias Temple, an African American cultural center. While preserving the historic building’s design, the modern style of the new hotel also reflects the creative spirit of Deep Ellum today. Jewel tones, leather accents, and crisp white walls create a calm, sophisticated vibe. Outside, the red brick walls—hidden for decades behind a coat of paint—have been restored to their original splendor.
The on-site restaurant, Elm & Good, opened in August to rave reviews. It’s a veggie-forward, American farmhouse menu with Dallas chef Graham Dodds at the helm. The cocktail menu stands out for adventurous drinks like the Last Call at Curtain Club (pineapple-infused bourbon, amaro montenegro, coconut, and lemon).
You can book a stay in one of the 165 rooms now.
The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park
There’s more than a century of history at this downtown hotel. It opened in 1884 as the Sheldon Hotel, where military officers from both sides of the border stayed during the Mexican Revolution. After that building burned down in 1929, famed hotelier Conrad Hilton designed an art deco tower to take its place. Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor dropped by, and Hilton himself moved in. The hotel fell into disrepair over the years, but was transformed by a $78 million renovation that debuted in June.
The Old Hollywood aesthetic never seems to go out of style, and it’s on full display here. Behind the lobby bar, a two-story wall of backlit amber glass—flanked by hundreds of bottles of tequila, sotol, and mezcal—commands attention. Architectural fabricator Tim Downing, whose company created the wall, told the El Paso Times that the construction process was “terrifying.” Other updates include redesigned rooms, a large event space, new dining options, and a rooftop bar. Wooden beams on the high ceilings and metal hardware on the furniture give the Plaza a classy, vintage feel that’s also warm and cozy.
At the Ambar Restaurante, sample duck in mole poblano, nopal salad, and ceviche, among other dishes that celebrate El Paso and Ciudad Juarez’s shared heritage. The rooftop La Perla Bar opened on September 24. From there, you can see spectacular mountain views.
The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park is now open.
The Beeman Hotel
Dallas is known for its vibrant murals, and this newly renovated hotel near the Park Cities has no shortage of them. In the lobby is a fan favorite: local artist Chris Bingham’s portrait of neo-soul songstress Erykah Badu. Above the pool, there’s a flying pegasus painted by Lesli Marshall; an oversized rubber ducky stands guard nearby. Neon lights in the shape of words like “Yeehaw” and “Relax” hang above a lounge area with cozy chairs.
Other additions include a grab-and-go market, a new lounge in the lobby, and barbecue smoked onsite at Seely’s Mill. Sip on a Ranch Water hard seltzer after taking a dip in the heated indoor pool.
The Beeman Hotel is now open.
Commodore Perry Estate
This Austin oasis has a lot of range, y’all. Situated on ten acres, this hotel may be the closest you can get to being in an Italian countryside villa without leaving Texas. Commodore Perry Estate emphasizes communal spaces. There’s an ornate library and a large lounge area by the pool. When it opens in early 2021, Lutie’s Garden Restaurant will host monthly cooking classes, a cocktail punch bowl for guests to linger around, and a chef-prepared picnic every Sunday on the beautiful, well-kept lawn.
There are multiple styles of rooms to choose from, ranging from 400-square-foot rooms to 1,060-square-foot suites and 1,575-square-foot mansion suites. The furniture and decor is vintage and antiqued, and the property has sprawling gardens and a courtyard.
Commodore Perry Estate is open now.