AOL PICK from our Editors
According to Huffington Post, the city’s hotel roster includes two of the top-10 best hotels in the U.S. The only AAA Five Diamond hotel in Texas makes it a hotter hotel city than state mate Houston. Add to this bounty an increasing number of boutique properties, and every chain you’ve ever heard of, so it’s a tough call trying to choose the best places to stay in Dallas. While there are plenty of moderate and expensive options, budget digs are harder to find, with few guesthouses or hostels, and rooms in the double digits only really offered by the budget chains. There’s a cluster of the old classics and a confetti of super-styled new properties in the gracious, old historic district Downtown—perfect for access to the Downtown Dallas Arts District, the West End, Oak Cliff and Deep Ellum, ideal for those not driving, and close to the top Dallas attractions. The Park Cities and Uptown are home to some other top Dallas hotels, and a few personable small guesthouses. If you're staying a little longer in the Big D, get a room in Uptown’s Vickery Park, Turtle Creek or Oak Lawn. It’s farther from some of the sights, but closer to some of Dallas’ best restaurants, SMU, American Airlines Center and to some great neighborhoods.
Neighborhood: Park Cities Price Range: Expensive
Whether you’re a student, socialite or shopaholic, Kimpton Hotels’ sleek Palomar positions you perfectly for school, bar-hopping or shopping. These dramatic digs—with guest rooms livened up by bold lines, sharp geometric patterns and 32-inch flat screens, and the fashionable, celebrity chef-helmed, new American Central 214 restaurant—perch opposite the Southern Methodist University Campus and retail/entertainment mecca Mockingbird Station. Chef Blythe Beck’s Central 214 is a reason in itself to venture to this 198-room gem. While it’s unquestionably upscale, we appreciate the refreshingly down-to-earth service—staff members are quick to greet guests each time they return to the hotel and go out of their way to offer advice and help with restaurant and bar suggestions.
Neighborhood: Turtle Creek/Uptown Price Range: Expensive
Rosewood Mansion is arguably the most famous hotel in Texas—not only did it play a key role in the history of Texas society as the mansion of a former cotton baron, it’s also a Renaissance-style icon. After 30 years as Dallas’ most refined address, the Mansion unveiled newly redesigned rooms in 2010. Fear not, the 143-room hotel feels as intimate and charming as it did pre-renovation. Featuring Dallas’ most decadent quarters, the Mansion offers a two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, a house car to shuttle you to and from excursions and meetings, and an elegant restaurant known for its celebrity sightings. While you have to book weeks in advance for dinners at the Mansion, you can usually just show up and get a table at lunchtime.
Neighborhood: Downtown Price Range: Expensive
Adding a welcome jolt of cosmopolitan cool to Dallas’ stable of boutique hotels, the 129-room Joule—named for a unit of energy—opened in 2008 in a Neo-Gothic 1920s bank building. The Joule oozes understated, upscale elegance, from the earth-toned lobby to the cantilevered, infinity-edge, rooftop pool that peeks out past the cabanas and café and gives an underwater bird’s-eye view of the street below. The hip, high-concept twists continue in guestrooms. We're suckers for the Bose Wave radios, but nothing turns us on quite like the generously stocked martini station which makes for the perfect end to a long day spent shopping and exploring the nearby Arts District. Back down at lobby level, Charlie Palmer’s American classics are on the menu and Andy Warhol works grace lobby walls. If you want to stay somewhere simultaneously sophisticated and sexy, this is the place.
Neighborhood: Oak Cliff Price Range: Moderate
If you want both modern luxury and mid-century style on the menu, garnished with views of the soaring Dallas skyline and the Trinity River Corridor, this two-story renovated Bishop Arts District motor lodge has generous helpings of both. Our favorites are the secluded Garden Rooms with their bright splashy lime pillows and bedding, minimalist grey armchairs, and gloriously deep soaking tubs in cobalt lacquered tile alcove. It's a hip, vibrant option with a fun terrace bar, BarBelmont, and smoking-hot, Southern, home-cooked fare at restaurant SMOKE—though it’s a popular Carolina-style barbecue den, we really come here for the molasses and caramel-saturated pecan pie. The Belmont is the perfect perch for those who want style without having to splurge and a taste of Dallas without feeling tangled up in downtown traffic.
Neighborhood: Oak Lawn/Uptown Price Range: Moderate
This genteel clutch of accommodations makes for a convenient hotel if you’ve got the restaurants and bars of the historic West End or McKinney Avenue, American Airlines Center or downtown’s Arts District on your itinerary, but it’s the 1920s décor and the friendly staff, more than the location, that win us over every visit. Rooms and suites at the Melrose are opulent and spacious at between 275 and 800 square feet and—despite the Old-World atmosphere—entirely unpretentious. The pace is slower and calmer than at bigger, hipper properties in the city, such as the Palomar, and it’s easy to forget the time spent in traffic once you sidle through the Melrose’s sturdy double doors.
Neighborhood: Park Cities Price Range: Moderate
Popular with a business and creative crowd, Lumen’s prices are way lower than you’d expect for a hotel of this caliber and the location—right beside SMU—and is ideal if you want to explore more of the Big D than just downtown. Mixing up-to-the-minute modern amenities, such as Aveda products and body massage showerheads with mid-century modern-inspired décor, University Park’s Hotel Lumen is a slick, sure bet for a stylish stay that doesn’t lean too heavily on the expense account. Lumen is an intimate and appealing property with granite-and-glass bathrooms, a cream and chocolate color scheme, and a hot restaurant and bar scene in lounge Social. Schedule your trip to coincide with the 5PM hosted wine hour and cool down with Sangria or cocoa, depending on the season.
Love Field Guest House
Neighborhood: Love Field Price Range: Budget
The one-unit Love Field Guest House is, as the name gives away, right beside Dallas’ elder airport. In the serene, bucolic Bluffview neighborhood of downtown, the airy accommodations make for a comfortable hostel equivalent—a rarity in this city—and offer some of the city’s nicest budget digs. The unit sleeps up to four people in its 600 square feet, making them somewhat cramped quarters, but we guarantee that you won’t find a more attractive deal for under $100 per night. The Saltillo tiled walls and sleek, recessed lighting work wonders to illuminate the space. The neighborhood offers a very different take on Texas for visitors; complement your downtown Dallas discoveries with strolls along Bachman Creek and Bachman Lake—both an easy saunter from the guest house—and wander through the friendly residential streets.
Neighborhood: Northwest Dallas Price Range: Budget
Dallas is a tough town to find budget accommodation in, so you’ll have to stay a bit further from the action to stay on budget. The cozy, clean Hawthorn Suites offers a complimentary hot breakfast, and the hotel’s handy shuttles beetle back and forth to the airport, plus the front desk can arrange for you to be dropped off downtown, which should help with the finances. The suites—with their separate living and sleeping areas—are also ideal for those who want some room to spread out. The suites also have fireplaces if you’re in town on one of Dallas’ rare chilly days.
Abby Brown Guest House
Neighborhood: Vickery Park/Greenville Price Range: Budget
Within walking distance of Knox-Henderson and Greenville, the spacious, sunny Abby Brown Guest House sits in a peaceful, residential neighborhood in the central Vickery Park neighborhood. It’s our favorite location when we’re in Dallas for more than a few days—just as comfortable for an early-morning coffee on your private deck or for a lazy morning in bed. Once you’ve explored the city by day, take a night off and take advantage of the comfortable living room with its board games, the suite’s amply stocked kitchen and DVD library.
Neighborhood: Downtown Price Range: Budget
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Situated in a renovated, historic, landmark building in the heart of downtown, the clean, bright Hotel Indigo offers style on a budget—as well as Aveda products in guestrooms, Starbucks coffee and a complimentary hotel shuttle. Shuttles are also on hand to whisk you between Downtown and Uptown and everywhere in between. And if, like us, you don’t have the budget to take a cab everywhere you go, the Hotel Indigo is just two blocks from transit options like the metro and the bus stop. We like the yellows and blues of the beautiful lobby and the cheerful service—they make Indigo an uplifting place to stay.