French Flair in Dallas
The Le Méridian Dallas, The Stoneleigh lists its ideal group size as falling between 10 and 130 and that works well with the historic, uptown Dallas property’s newest addition: Perle on Maple.
Bistro classics with a Texas twist are on deck for all three meals in the new space, which offers private dining for groups from 6 to 150. Duck confit pancakes and bacon-wrapped local quail are among the small plates, with entrees such as roasted free range chicken and steak frites tempting guests’ palates.
Specials at the indoor bar likely pair well with its outdoor fire pit.
The hotel has had a few other renovations as well, including the two-story penthouse.
Openings in El Paso: Historic Charm & Boutique Chic
The long-awaited Stanton House was nearing completion at press time as the 103-year-old building – once the home of Rogers Furniture – continues its conversion into a 42-room luxury hotel.
Slated to open in the spring of this year, each room will boast Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, super-fast Internet service and world-class art by local, Mexican and European artists.
Rates are still undetermined, but amenities will include a café serving South American coffee, a center lobby bar, and a restaurant – Taft-Diaz – helmed by Chef Oscar Herrera, a culinary star of Juarez, Mexico.
Meanwhile, fall will bring with it the reopening of the gorgeous El Paso del Norte, which by then will have undergone a $70 million renovation, metamorphosing into a member of the Marriott Autograph Collection brand of hotels.
Fans will adore the new rooftop pool but rejoice in the retention of the property’s mahogany carvings and the 25-foot Tiffany-style glass dome in the bar.
Houston, We Have a Reno…
A revitalization of the grounds and an elevation of the guest experience are the big ideas behind the Omni Houston Hotel’s $30 million renovation, which has a reopening date set for November 1. The property has been closed since Hurricane Harvey moved through last August.
The 378-room property will pull from local aesthetic, featuring designs including leather and bronze and an influx of natural light and open spaces. Greening, too, is on tap – a moss wall is planned for the lobby, greeting guests with an air of
First-floor meeting space is also getting a redesign and will include an additional 2,500 square feet of space and two new conference areas.
SXSW(OW)! Fort Worth Now at Fair Market
SXSW, with its vast attendance, is part of what’s put Austin on the map. The people at Visit Fort Worth, however, felt folks could use a little refresher on all their vibrant city has to offer. And so they brought their show on the road to the Live Music Capital’s Fair Market venue.
“We wanted to showcase Fort Worth in a bold, new way, and we felt that SXSW was an opportunity to reach a broad audience of people interested in music, innovation, technology and creativity,” says Mitch Whitten, executive vice president for marketing & strategy for Visit Fort Worth.
But rather than fly under the banner of CVB or COC, he explains, they simply called it Fort Worth Now, a two-day event that allowed Fort Worth locals – professionals in industry, small business, the arts and more – to tell their stories.
“We were very pleased with the reaction we received from convention customers who see not only that Fort Worth is exciting, but there are opportunities and people they can tap to augment their meetings.”
It was also fun, he noted, to see what resonated with attendees – from panel discussions to flight simulators, virtual reality to live music. And the tangible easily proved as attractive as the abstract. Case in point: Fort Worth Barber Shop – doing haircuts and beard trims – had a line for two days!
Similarly, a T-shirt printing station allowed guests to choose a design and make it on the spot. Bonus “cool points” for Fort Worth: The shirts were donated by Dickies. Manufacturing workwear since 1918, the company has since become high fashion, donned by skaters, musicians, the
“Some people aren’t aware that Dickies is a Fort Worth company,” notes Whitten, who says the event was also about
More than two thousand people were scanned on site each day, Whitten says, and an aggressive social media campaign also helped spread word. “A potential 2 million people who didn’t even see the event were exposed to the stories through social, and the traditional media coverage was very strong.”
The event brought Whitten to a new understanding that customers don’t compartmentalize cities with regard to vacationing, doing business or even
making a move.
“Association planners want to have a meeting in a city that’s fun and exciting, many of the same qualities that would draw someone to live there! That was an important realization on our part in trying to paint a broad picture … because all of those
Raising the Bars
Sidle up, folks.
Looking for a new venue for your mixer or happy hour? Whether you’re seeking an executive-level lounge for sublime sips (or just dying for the perfect negroni after a successful – if exhausting – event finally wraps), the following haunts are ripe for exploration.
Houston: Standard Bar Houston
New in Northwest Houston, the Standard Bar is earning raves from locals for its creative cocktails (in name and content) and hearty, chef-inspired fare. A fresh option here: the Garden Variety Martini. Garden is operative here; the drink includes Prairie Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, and strawberry-basil puree.
Galveston: Daiquiri Time Out
DTO’s policy is that there’s always time for a daiquiri, and although this local favorite isn’t directly on the beach (it’s not far), its expertly mixed cocktails – daiquiri, tiki or other – will take your blood pressure down to a place where you’ll be able to see it in your mind’s eye.
Beaumont: Portus Lounge
Elegantly appointed and lit, the Portus Lounge is available for private events, but can just as easily host a small group for posh (but amusing) beverages. Their liquor flights – a “Flight Club,” if you will – are cheekily named for characters and/or actors from the film. The Tyler Durden is the priciest. First rule of Flight Club? Drink responsibly.
The Woodlands: True Food Kitchen
Okay, this one’s hardly a dark, paneled haunt for writers and artists. But it’s noteworthy. Why? Because the health-inclined (alcohol in moderation is good for you, don’t you know?!) like to tie one on once in a while, too. The chain was established in part by famed health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, and just as its food menu focuses on nutrient-rich ingredients, so too does its roster of cocktails that match fresh-pressed fruits and veggies with organic spirits. The Woodlands’ outpost just opened in May.
Author Amy Drew Thompson is a professional lifestyle and travel writer.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Visit Fort Worth