Culture / Travel

Fort Worth’s New Showcase Hotel Pushes Mule Alley to Another Level — Inside Hotel Drover’s Boutique Land

Swanky and Western Can be a Thing

BY // 03.24.21

Fort Worth’s buzziest, if not busiest, new development is Mule Alley, and its new centerpiece Hotel Drover is now open.

Nearly three years after the project began, Hotel Drover, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel, is finally ready for its close-up, located in the Fort Worth Stockyards’ National Historic District. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for this Thursday at 1 pm with Forth Worth’s Mayor Betsy Price set to do the honors.

“We’re proud to open our doors at Hotel Drover and connect our guests to the rich history of the pioneering west through captivating offerings, art, entertainment, personalized service and cuisine,” Hotel Drover vice president and general manager Kristin Assad says in a release.

Hotel Drover’s stylish lobby space.

The hotel is aligned at the end of Mule Alley, the stylish entertainment destination that recaptured and repurposed the once decaying 100-year-old horse and mule barns, situated just across Exchange Avenue from the historic Livestock Exchange Building. The area has attracted a top notch restaurant lineup, including the just-announced addition of two more restaurants to come by Chef Tim Love. It is also home to some of the world’s best Western brands.

This is hallowed ground in Fort Worth, where the boots and spurs of generations of cattlemen and cattlewomen have trod. That’s why it was so important to get Mule Alley right. Adding functional, modern luxury to the historic grounds was a hotly debated plan.

Now, we see the result of all this new investment, and so do the tourists who are flocking there. The Stockyards have always been a beacon, but even The Fort Worth Herd’s famous longhorn steers seem surprised by the new throngs of fans lining their daily parade route.

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Each guest room is unique at the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel Drover.

The Hotel Drover is a 200-room boutique hotel in the truest sense, joining Marriott’s stable of unique, venue specific hotels in the Autograph series. There are some 180 Autograph hotels located in notable locales around the globe.

Designed by HKS Architects, as an urban ranch oasis, and named in honor of the Texas drovers of lore, Hotel Drover brings an indulgent bit of rustic-luxe atmosphere to The Stockyards.

The Backyard is a half-acre oasis along with its pool.

“Every inch of this hotel was carefully curated with our community in mind so guests may enjoy a legendary experience that is deeply rooted in Texas,” Assad says.

The guest rooms are unique, with different styling, custom furnishings and Texas-centric elements. These include The Bunkhouse rooms — bunk suites with a king bed and double overhead bunk bed.  Texas-based brands Lucchese Custom Collection and King Ranch, both of which have new showrooms inside Mule Alley, have added to the design of the hotel’s rooms.

Looking for a true splurge? The Presidential Suite  boasts both indoor and outdoor fireplaces. All of Hotel Drover’s 26 suites include large bronze soaking tubs, fireplaces and terraces.

Want more perks? Hotel Drover’s fitness center has Peloton bikes and MIRROR equipment.

Cocktails feature local and Texas distilleries.

Art is also at home on this range, with a neon Cowboy installation from Austin’s Neon Jungle, historic fountains and a giant hybrid metal sculpture from notable Western artist John Lopez. Works from other global and local artists are showcased in public spaces and guest rooms.

The lobby also should be an experience at this new Fort Worth hotel. There are branded leather check-in booths, a two-story lobby library filled with Texas books, bespoke antler and blackened steel chandeliers and even cowhide lounge chairs.

The Courtyard at 97 West restaurant.

97 West Kitchen & Bar at Fort Worth Stockyards serves as the hotel’s primary restaurant. There is an indoor chef’s table adjacent to the open-air kitchen, and an outdoor chef’s table situated underneath a pergola, overlooking lazy Marine Creek.

You’ll find the Veranda Bar outdoors. Hotel Drover also boasts one of the most distinctive lobby bars you will ever come across.  The hotel’s 30-foot-tall, focal point, limestone fireplace makes it impossible to miss.

The Lobby Library inside the new Hotel Drover.

A lot has been made of Fort Worth’s legendary Hell’s Half-Acre past, but Hotel Drover provides a very different half acre. The Backyard is an outdoor oasis and live music venue. Situated along Marine Creek, it is “surrounded by hand-selected towering oak, magnolia, cypress, and crepe myrtle trees from farms throughout East Texas contrasted with classic Texas cacti,” according to a release.

A firepit in The Backyard of the Hotel Drover.

Hotel Drover’s Shopping Power

Two new lobby stores are opening, too. Lucchese Custom Collection is the iconic brand’s first true boutique with bespoke men’s and women’s boots, clothes and other fine accessories. Little White Lies brings a decidedly feminine flair.

The interior of The Barn – Hotel Drovers event venue.

Hotel Drover’s unique events venues include The Barn, a 4,000-square-foot space with vaulted ceilings, custom Italian crystal chandeliers and exposed 150-year-old reclaimed timber. Mule Alley now has a central point, a beacon of Fort Worth’s new future.

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