A view from above in the Hall Arts Hotel lobby. (Photo by Robert Tsai)
The Grand Finale Suite in the Hall Arts Hotel (Photo by Robert Tsai)
The bathroom of The Grand Finale suite in the Hall Arts Hotel. (Photo by Robert Tsai)
Photographer James Welling and mosaicist Stephen Miotto’s "Untitled," 2019, on the Hall Arts Hotel terrace. (Photo by Jennifer Wasserman)
A rendering of Hall Arts Hotel's rooftop pool. (Photo by Robert Tsai)
I was beginning to go a little stir-crazy. I hadn’t traveled in months, and, honestly, I still don’t think a trip involving a flight (unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of private) is in the cards for the near future. I’d never previously considered a staycation, but with so many unprecedented things going on this year I thought: Why not?
I fantasized that perhaps I would feel like Eloise for the night. Living in a hotel in my own city. All I needed was a nanny and a pug dog named Weenie. Alas, my best friend would have to substitute for both for my downtown sojourn.
I’d written a story on the art collection at the stunning Hall Arts Hotel shortly after they opened in early December 2019 and had been back twice to visit their well-appointed lounge for drinks before the order came to shelter in place. I decided to check online for a room and book my version of a girls’ night out. We chose a midweek date and reserved.
I wasn’t sure if there would be valet service. All my recent trips to spots (restaurants and retail) that have valets seem to have temporarily suspended that service. But since Hall Arts Hotel is downtown with limited self-parking, we were happy to see an attendant to take my car.
The lobby was exactly as I had remembered, but without anyone lounging on the chic furniture. As my best friend and I walked up to the reception desk, I noticed the first post-pandemic difference: A clear Plexiglas partition had been installed to create a barrier between the front-desk staff and patrons. (Actually, seeing the valet with a face mask was the first distinct change from the past.)
We sprung for a suite, since we were going for a truly extravagant girls’ night out (or, perhaps in this case, “girls’ night in” a hotel room). Those are located on the 10th floor — the top level, which is also occupied by a rooftop pool, lounge areas, and a bar. The suite was sumptuous and spacious with a separate living area and a bedroom. The bathroom was palatial, and my friend began drooling when she noticed the enormous decadent soaking tub.
Given the district, the hotel’s attention to art is visible in every corner and every guest room, each of which has its own handpicked collection. In our room, I was impressed simply by the amount of amazing coffee-table books. We had a hefty Jean-Michel Basquiat book put out by hallowed art publisher Taschen. Tiny metal balloon-animal sculptures in neon metallic colors (à la Jeff Koons) were sprinkled throughout the rooms. Also, images of galleries within the Nasher Sculpture Center adorned many of the walls.
During the time of our stay, the restaurant and room service were not yet available. For those visiting now, rest assured, Ellie’s Lounge and the pool bar reopened on June 12. (Guests can get bar to-go options to bring back to their room.) We decided to order dinner from the list provided by the front desk staff. That evening, we indulged in rosé (brought with us), a spread of Mexican delicacies delivered from Miriam Cocina (I adore their ceviche), and rented Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
The following day, we emerged refreshed from the sheets’ incredible thread count and headed for the pool with all the usual essentials in tow: a chic floppy hat (for my friend), fabulous new swim trunks from the Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza collection exclusively on Mr Porter, a pile of magazines (Us Weekly, Vanity Fair, Vogue — for good high/low reading) and snacks (once again, the pool bar wasn’t yet open).
After a few hours of sun and swimming, I was ready to take on the post-pandemic world again and can declare myself an official staycation convert. If you’re looking to visit the Hall Arts Hotel this summer, take advantage of one of their staycation packages. Drive In and Dive includes a guest room and valet service, and anyone with a valid Texas or Oklahoma ID can currently book a room for 20 percent off. Hey, consider booking a suite for an entire month and channel your inner Eloise — Hall Arts caters to the Weenie in your life.
Hall Arts Hotel, 1717 Leonard Street, Dallas, Texas 75201, 214.953.1717, hallartshotel.com