Culture / Travel

Celebrity Chef is Ready to Open His New Fort Worth Hotel — Tim Love’s Hotel Otto Brings Plenty of Buzz

A River of Perks — Love Tells All in an Exclusive PaperCity Interview

BY // 06.22.21

Famed Fort Worth chef Tim Love is extending his empire in a whole new direction. The first ever Fort Worth container hotel is taking shape on the grounds of Love’s Italian restaurant Gemelle in the city’s River District. Love is calling Hotel Otto the first “micro resort” in the country and it will begin taking reservations on or around July 21st.

Love named it Hotel Otto (meaning eight in Italian), but there is actually a ninth room as well, which is fully accessible.

“I like the fact that is a palindrome,” Love tells PaperCity Fort Worth of the name. “It seemed fitting since my girls are twins ― a mirror of one another.”

The celebrity chef turned hotelier dedicated the restaurant named Gemelle, which means twins in Italian, to his daughters, who are about to enter their senior year of high school.

Hotel Otto allows you to enjoy just chilling out with friends on the lawn at Gemelle.

Before the addition of Hotel Otto, the vibe at Love’s Italian restaurant was already layered with the feel of the Amalfi coast, or a colorful coastal village in Malta, just off the tip of Italy’s boot. There are swanky cabanas for lounging near the lighted bocce courts, a lawn filled with herbs and vegetables, colorful umbrellas and pretty people slowly sipping their neon tinted aperol spritzes. Tim Love is a chef and restaurateur, definitely a businessman at heart, but his other true passion lies in creating experiences.

Hotel Otto will certainly be that.

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The latest addition to the backyard is a newly installed container plunge pool, lined with a row of chaise lounges on a wood deck. It even has a glass side overlooking the rest of the grounds. Access to the pool will be limited to Hotel Otto guests or by reservation only. This will be a full-service pool scene, with drinks and food delivered to your lounge chair.

In addition, the backyard of the restaurant brings its own summer-time bar and a stage for live music on the weekends. You can also rent one of the full-service VIP cabanas for a night.

Hotel Otto’s Digs

One room at the new Hotel Otto is already in place. It offers a very self-contained escape.

Each Hotel Otto bungalow has its own upper deck with river views.

“(My wife) Emilie and I stayed in it for three days just to get a sense of it,” Love says. “It felt like I was on vacation in California, although we actually live just about 500 yards from there.”

Overlooking the river and with access to the Trinity Trail System, this standalone bungalow offers a stylish stay on the banks of the Trinity River. Love is more than a fan of the river.

“Everything I own is on the river,” he says. “I think it needs to be treated with respect. It’s our biggest amenity.”

Love’s team is pouring more concrete slabs now, and the rest of the Love-designed containers will be craned into place this Friday. That will be followed by the installation of lush, mature landscaping.

“We are adding about $250,000 of landscaping to give it a Maltese coastal feel,” Love says. “It will feel like it’s been there for a decade or more when it’s complete.”

The Hotel Otto Experience

“We’re calling it a micro resort,” Love says. “It will be the most amenitized hotel in the city. That’s what makes it so unique. When you arrive, you’ll be met with freshly baked bread sticks and pesto sauce from our garden basil, and a full kit to make your own aperol spritz.

“Along with daily housekeeping, we’ll serve what we call a ‘knock-tail’ at 5 pm. It will be a special house made cocktail, prepared, shaken and served right at your door each evening.”

The concierge, or in this case the Guest Experience Manager, is available 24 hours. They can make you a reservation anywhere, including snagging hard to land seats at any of Love’s restaurants around town. You can charge your dining to your room during your stay. Room service meals from Gemelle are also available.

Tim Love personally designed each perfectly feathered nest including posh linens, Illy coffee and Hermes products.

Each bungalow is priced at  $299 per night. A special opening rate of $199 per night is available until July 31. The bungalows each have a queen-size bed, fitted with luxe linens, a full bath with walk-in shower, and they come fully stocked with Hermes products.

“The TV pops down from the ceiling, and they are glass on two sides,” Love details. “You can open the sliding glass door to your own patio, with an ivy lined wall, and Italian phrases like Smile or Be Happy are backlit in silver letters. You can see greenery all around you.”

The bungalows, which are named one through eight in Italian, are climate controlled and include a personal safe, a smart television, and Wi-Fi in the 160 square feet of interior space. There is also in-room Illy coffee, and fresh perennial botanicals.

Up the spiral staircase on the container’s exterior is your own private 180 foot, rooftop deck to chill out on and take in the river views. These decks boast a bistro table, cozy seating, a stocked Yeti cooler, a big umbrella for shade, and a solo stove (smokeless bonfire) for ambience and heat (for when Texas eventually cools down).

“It’s so different. We’ve got so much fun built all around it,” Love says. “I think people are going to dig it. The vibe is just like the restaurant ― upbeat and fun. It’s everything I enjoy about traveling, and how people like to live now.”

Each bungalow bath has a walk in shower.

Active guests can enjoy three specially curated activations as well. You can book an exclusive kayak tour through Backwoods Outfitters, which begins at Hotel Otto and paddles down the Trinity River to the West Seventh corridor. With return transportation to the hotel included. The kayak excursions also include a complimentary bottle of wine or champagne and lunch and or charcuterie.

There is also horseback riding along the Trinity Trails with guided tours from Stockyards Stables. You can also rent a Pedego electric bike and see the sights at your own pace. The electric bikes cruise at about 20 miles per hour, include a Bluetooth helmet and cost $20 per hour.

“It’s for the adventurous traveler, who enjoys the outdoors,” Love says of his new Fort Worth hotel. “I just took the kayak tour myself. It provides a completely different view of the city.”

Guests can be as active as they wish, or just relax with a negroni and watch the garden grow. Hotel Otto wants to be an oasis. With Tim Love style.

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