Housed in a twenties-era downtown high-rise, this boutique hotel boasts the only underwater bird’s-eye view of the city. That’s right: if you’re daring enough to swim to the glassed-in edge of the Joule’s heated rooftop pool, which juts out a dramatic eight feet beyond the building’s facade, you can peer down on the passersby walking along Main Street. If you like to do your people-watching unmediated by water and glass, you might prefer the rooftop bar, which lures in packs of glamorous locals. Or perhaps you’d rather browse the more than 250 wines for sale in the well-stocked Next Vintage shop before heading into the Charlie Palmer restaurant for dinner. In between bites of my veal chop, I mentioned to the waitress that the giant turbines spinning slowly on the ceiling reminded me of a West Texas wind farm. Accurately sensing my ignorance of thermodynamics, she graciously explained that the hotel is named for a unit of energy. Makes sense, as there are industrial-chic touches everywhere, from the two massive rotating gears behind and above the check-in desk to the chrome reading lamps in the 129 guest rooms. In my eighteenth-floor corner suite, there were navy brushed-velvet sitting chairs, two walk-in showers with dual “rain forest” showerheads, and glossy lacquered-wood desks. A full martini station, arty coffee-table books, and luxe Bulgari bath products further upped the swank quotient. In addition to the black and white photographs of Dallas cityscapes in each room, there’s roughly $22 million worth of art on view throughout the Joule, including Richard Phillips’s creepy but cheerful painting of a very large eye near the ground-floor elevator bank. One know-before-you-go tip: even though it’s only four years old, the Joule is currently undergoing a $78 million expansion, so you’ll have to pardon their dust until February, when the hotel will reveal its 29 new suites, 3 new penthouses, expanded lobby, 8,000-square-foot spa, subterranean lounge, and second, more casual restaurant. 1530 Main, 214-748-1300, thejouledallas.com
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