Developer Gabriel Barbier-Mueller’s reshaping of Uptown and the Harwood District goes back five decades, but the next few months will see his original vision — transforming the area into a walkable place to live and play — take off in the most tangible way yet. Now with Gabriel’s sons, Alexis and Oliver, at the helm, Harwood Hospitality Group is doubling its restaurant offerings in the gleaming city-within-a-city, and adding a Harwood District first: a brand new flagship boutique hotel property, Hotel Swexan, opening in the summer of 2023.
The 22-story building will be designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is also responsible for the neighboring twisted Rolex tower (another Harwood International property) on the corner of North Harwood and Moody Street. Where the Swiss watchmaker’s award-winning Dallas building is defined by its unique, organic shape, Hotel Swexan presents a slick, mirrored exterior.
As for “Swexan,” the name is a moniker for “Swiss meets Texan,” a nod to the Harwood International founders’ multi-generational Swiss-Texan family heritage.
Plans for the then-unnamed hotel were originally announced in 2018, but things are quickly taking shape now. Today, more details have finally been released about Hotel Swexan’s interiors (designed by Harwood’s in-house team), with architectural elements inspired by “a classical 19th-century Parisian residence-turned-hotel, with comfortable yet elegant furniture and intricate, hand-carved stone and wooden fireplaces on every floor of the hotel.”
Given the Barbier-Muellers’ well-known acumen for collecting art (particularly Japanese samurai armor), you can expect the hotel’s grand foyer to have a rotating selection of unique artworks, while the grand lobby and its surrounding areas will encompass three different dining experiences: an all-day high tea concept and martini bar; a two-story library cocktail bar; and a “hidden” speakeasy.
Hotel Swexan’s 134 guest rooms will have a residential feel, five-fixture bathrooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows, while 10 premium suites each have their own unique design. The 20th-floor will feature an infinity-edge swimming pool and a Moroccan-inspired deck complete with a pool bar, grill, and VIP cabanas.
A private social club is slated for the seventh floor, where executive chef Taylor Kearney will lead Hotel Swexan’s signature steakhouse, Stillwell’s, which will open to the public nightly.
Hotel Swexan is designed to be a vertical world all its own. Today’s announcement promises one-of-a-kind experiences tailored to guests and locals alike, a state-of-the-art wellness center, and sophisticated culinary events. After successfully transforming 19 bland city blocks into a vibrant neighborhood hub, a promise from the Barbier-Mueller team is worth looking forward to.