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Real Estate / Society

Party for the Ages Takes Over a Historic Texas Mansion

How Dallas’ Chicest Hotel Put Itself On the Map

BY // 12.03.16

A SWIRL OF SOCIALS FLOCKED TO THE ROSEWOOD MANSION ON TURTLE CREEK’S OPENING BASH IN 1981. THIRTY-FIVE YEARS LATER, WE REMAIN UTTERLY FASCINATED WITH DALLAS’ CHICEST HOTEL.

“The party was more like one Jay Gatsby would throw.” So declared The New York Times, which penned a recap of the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek’s ultra-glamorous inaugural fête in May 1981 — one that lasted two days, cost $1,000 per couple, and offered its guests hand-painted champagne bottles, Neiman Marcus credit cards, and plush bathrobes upon arrival, among other little luxuries. (In true Dallas philanthropic fashion, all proceeds from the affair were donated to the arts community.)

At the black-tie gala, champagne flowed, and caviar, steak tartare, and oysters were the appetizers. Hotelier Caroline Rose Hunt (at the time, Caroline Schoellkopf) had newly acquired the historic mansion — built for the Sheppard King family in 1908, then fashioned in extravagant 16th-century Italian Renaissance-style architecture in the ’20s following a damaging fire — and transformed it into a residential-style hotel and restaurant, the Rosewood Property Company’s first.

She converted its underground fur and silver vault into a private wine cellar; the dining room into the Mansion Bar; library and living room into the main dining spaces; and second-floor bedrooms into areas for private events. Revelers from across the globe packed these notable rooms for 48 hours of celebration, still mentioned today as one of the city’s most unforgettable parties.

As the Mansion celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, we comb through its archives to uncover glossy photographs and marvel at the, yes, still-en-vogue ’80s fashion.

“IT WAS AN AMBIENCE THAT ALL HOTELIERS AND DECORATORS TRY TO ACHIEVE, AN INTANGIBLE SENSE OF EUPHORIA.” — Stanley Marcus

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