Culture / Travel

Fort Worth’s New Boutique Hotel Transforms an Old Dry Ice Warehouse Into a Hip Vision — Your First Look at Hotel Dryce

A Cocktail Oasis, Easy Access to Dickies Arena and More

BY // 08.19.21

Fort Worth’s new boutique hotel is opening up on Friday in its converted warehouse space. The 21-room Hotel Dryce with its own lobby bar was imagined when two friends, “stumbled upon an old dry ice warehouse for sale,” the website explains. It’s been slowly taking shape ever since 2018.

Dryce is named for the space’s former function ― selling dry ice. Morris and Allen Mederos — the co-founders — unveiled the long awaited boutique hotel to a select group media at a Pre-Chill Preview event Wednesday night.

“We started talking about why Fort Worth needed a craft hotel,” Morris says. “We hoped to not express Fort Worth in the same way as it had been in the past. . .

“It’s the people and that energy that makes it what it is.”

Lobby Bar filled with original artworks and room to relax. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

The hotel’s design began with reimagining its well-worn warehouse base and stacking upper levels in a building block configuration in order to make the most of the lot. Of course, Hotel Dryce’s location is part of the draw. It’s located at 3621 Byers Avenue, tucked behind Fort Works Art on Montgomery Street, within walking distance of Dickies Arena and the nearby Museum District.

Morris and Mederos expect the Lobby Bar at Hotel Dryce to be a money maker. It is under the direction of bar manager Pam Moncrief, one of Fort Worth’s best known mixologists. A real performance artist, Moncrief opened her own Pop Up Bar traveling cocktail business in 2018, which she says is not out of the picture.

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Mixology by Pam Moncrief (center) and patio views make for a big debut at Hotel Dryce. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

Still co-founder Jonathan Morris has garnered most of the press in the build up to Hotel Dryce’s opening. He has been widely recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit, having also transformed a forgotten garage just down Montgomery Street, at the corner of Vickery Boulevard, into the hip Fort Worth Barber Shop.

Chip and Joanna Gaines also tapped Morris to host his own television series on their recently launched Magnolia Network as well. (Read PaperCity‘s full story on Morris and his show here). Self Employed allows Morris to highlight other entrepreneurs (both local and those from as far afield as Atlanta and Detroit) along with their inspirations and challenges. He tells PaperCity Fort Worth the entire first season is in the can, noting how much he enjoyed the process.

Owners Jonathan Morris and Allen Mederos, welcome the press to Hotel Dryce, along with GM Jada Nicome. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

Inside Hotel Dryce

There are five types of rooms at Hotel Dryce. The economy class is called The Practical, which comes with a cozy full size bed. The King rooms are more spacious with the same Roku TV and built-in desk. To add an expansive view, you’ll need to book a King View room. The King Plus rooms add a foldout couch to the mix, and a Suite brings a one bedroom with its own separate living space, complete with bar and vintage turn table.

“It feels like your friends living room,” Mederos says. “Hopefully we captured that.”

A king room plus, with a pull out sofa bed at Hotel Dryce. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

The rooms feature custom Hotel Dryce robes, a SONOS bluetooth speaker and smart TVs. The decor leans mid-century with handmade Oaxacan blanket curtains that make sleeping in a dream. There are custom Baltic Birch beds, and signature plant based toiletries in the ensuite.

The open air courtyard wraps two sides of the lobby bar, and comes complete with a smoking dry ice pit. The multi-functional Library is a versatile meeting space set apart with AV equipment and board room seating for 10.

“It was zoned industrial when we bought it,” Mederos says, “So we think what we’ve given to the community is something that adds value. It cost a little more than what we expected.”

So much more that the two co-founders took local architecture firm Bennett Benner Partners on as a partner in Hotel Dryce. Bennett Benner parlayed its design work into equity in the hotel. There is also one other unnamed additional partner.

One thing’s for certain. Those open patios with views to Dickies Arena and the distinctive vibe have Hotel Dryce sitting pretty.

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