by Jeanne Brei
If the Lone Star State conjures up thoughts about dusty cattle drives, you might want to check out a dude ranch. About 50 miles east of Dallas is the 75-acre Rocking L Guest Ranch which provides an authentic western town atmosphere for company events, receptions, family reunions, private parties or personal getaways. Horseback riding, trail rides, hay rides, bunji bull riding, camp fires, catch-and-release fishing (for crappie, white bass or large mouth bass in one of three stocked ponds) and swimming are just a few of amenities—there’s also indoor/outdoor catering, transportation and accommodations (private, semi-private rooms and bunkhouse rooms available). Saddle up!
But if duty calls and you need to stay in downtown Dallas, well, there’s always some beautiful historic hotels to indulge in. In the early 1900s city founders teamed up with St. Louis beer mogul Adolphus Busch to build a luxury hotel. More than a century later, the 422-room Adolphus Hotel still stands as one of the city’s most luxurious places. The 1911 hotel is filled with crystal chandeliers, velvet furniture, dark wood paneling and heavy Flemish tapestries. It’s home to one of the city’s finest restaurants, The French Room, which continues the lavishness with a domed ceiling painted with frescoes, hand-blown Italian Murano glass chandeliers, honed marble floor and gilded Louis XVI style chairs.
While the Adolphus Hotel may be the most opulent historic hotel in downtown Dallas, The Joule’s rooftop pool on the 10th floor—which juts out eight feet beyond the edge of the building—makes it the coolest. The heated pool is only open during the summer and is exclusive to hotel guests—who must feel as if they’re swimming in air. Built in 1927 as the Dallas National Bank Building, the hotel is known for its revolving art installations, beginning on the front lawn with a three-story eyeball sculpture, continuing in the lobby with a crystal-covered engine, and continuing throughout the hotel with pieces from Andy Warhol, Richard Phillips, Tony Cragg and Adam Fuss—and it’s just a 10-minute walk from the Arts District.
Lastly, The Magnolia Petroleum Company (merged to form Mobil in 1959) built a majestic Beaux-Arts headquarters, opening its doors in 1929 to become the city’s first and tallest skyscraper at 400+ ft. The tower is 29 stories, with its two wings connected by an arch about three quarters of the way up. In 1934 the Magnolia Building was given a rotating red neon Pegasus to put on top of the building. The Pegasus still lights up the sky and eventually became the symbol of Dallas. Mobil moved out in the 1970s and the offices of former oil tycoons have been refashioned into a pet-friendly, chic boutique hotel.
This story originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. issue of Exhibit City News, p. 51. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_sept-oct_2020