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Hôtel Swexan Is Unlike Any Dallas Hotel You’ve Seen Before

Inside the First-Of-Its-Kind Boutique Hotel from Harwood International

BY // 08.01.23
photography Kathy Tran

Hôtel Swexan, the striking new tower at the corner of Moody Street and Pearl, doesn’t look like any Dallas hotel you’ve seen before. There’s the modern, mirrored exterior, designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (also responsible for the neighboring twisted Rolex tower), concealing scores of antique mantels and imported vintage treasures. Eschewing typical hospitality homogeny, no two bathrooms in the public areas are the same. Neither are any of the eight bespoke suites, from a Japanese-inspired space (private sauna included) to a French Parisian retreat filled with natural limestone.

The 22-story Hôtel Swexan (a moniker for “Swiss meets Texan”) doesn’t feel like anything you’ve experienced in Dallas before either. Owned by the Barbier-Mueller family, developers of the ever-growing Harwood District, the property isn’t restricted by the standards a typical hotel group might impose.

“The hotel industry doesn’t actually follow the trends, they follow the norm,” says Harwood International’s director of design Melinda Clark. “I think that’s what’s so amazing about the Swexan is that we’ve gotten the chance to do something new.”

A Hotel Swexan Queen Room (photo by Marco Galloway)

The Swexan design team spent years refining what a modern hotel should be. The result is high-ceilinged rooms that feel sumptuous but intimate and more European, with the majority of the square footage devoted to five-fixture bathrooms (where travelers tend to spend the majority of their time). Honesty bars replace mini bars and an ever-changing assortment of artworks from the Barbier-Mueller’s museum-grade collection adorn the walls.

“When you’re trying to do something new and outside of the box, you get a lot of pushback,” Clark adds. “Now that it’s all coming together, people get what we’re doing.”

Babou’s at Hotel Swexan

Dining and Experiences at Hôtel Swexan

A great boutique hotel is about the experiences, which Hôtel Swexan, led by the food-and-beverage force that is the Barbier-Mueller family, has in spades.

Beyond the statement-making lobby, designed specifically around a towering antique mantel, you’ll find Isabelle’s, a breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot that serves up an elegant afternoon tea and a killer martini. Léonie, a lush, emerald-hued room, offers a satisfying power lunch with a view. Rooftop pool bar Pomelo lets guests enjoy a cabana-side cocktail and sushi lollipops from vintage, Moroccan-style daybeds.

hotel swexan pool -062323_HotelSwexan_KathyTran_IMG_2532-Enhanced-NR (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The Swexan’s signature steakhouse, Stillwell’s, blends mid-century style with subtle nods to Texas. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Swexan’s signature spot is Stillwell’s, a showcase for Harwood Hospitality’s premium beef program (sourced from the group’s own proprietary herd of prime-graded cattle) paired with a killer list of hard-to-find wines. The interiors meet the culinary moment, creating a slick, mid-century atmosphere with subtle nods to Texas (a touch of leather or horse hair isn’t uncommon).

The Library at Babou’s

In both style and substance, late-night lounge Babou’s may be the most distinctive offering from Hôtel Swexan. Named after Salvador Dali’s infamous pet ocelot, the design is fittingly wild, marked by lush textiles, plenty of fringe, and glittering disco balls. An unassuming bookcase leads to The Library at Babou’s, where a spiral staircase and rows of vintage tomes create a cozy vibe shift. (The last public space to open, Babou’s and its Library are slated to open this August.)

More interesting yet might be Golightly, a private social club accessed through a hidden door near Stillwell’s. Of course, only members, who also have access to Swexan’s state-of-the-art fitness club, may ever know.

215 061523_HotelSwexan_KathyTran_IMG_8317 (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Pomelo at Hotel Swexan. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Dallas certainly has its fill of luxury lodgings, but Hôtel Swexan’s one-of-a-kind world offers plenty to explore and inspire.

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