Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fabulous Boutique Hotels in Texas

As much as I love my hometown, I've always lamented that those of us in Dallas and across North Texas aren't so geographically desirable.  Sure, we're a three-hour flight from either coast but if we want a quickie weekend getaway, there aren't a lot of awesome options. 

Think about it: LA has Montecito/Santa Barbara 90 minutes north on the 101, New York has the Hamptons, Phoenix is two and a half hours from skiing in Flagstaff.  You get the idea.

What do we landlocked North Texans have?  Cedar Creek Lake.  Possum Kingdom.  Eh, I guess.  Personally, I'm not a lake person.  In fact, I've taken to relaxing and insulating at hotels for mini-getaways.  I'll do a weekend at the Ritz-Carlton with a spa treatment, some pool time and a stack of magazines.  It's decently refreshing.

But what about really getting out of town to decompress?  Taking advantage of new experiences in-state?  It's easy to fall into that "let's go to the lake this weekend" rut.  Close to DFW would be great, but hardly anything in Texas is close.  

November's issue of Texas Monthly offers inspiration for great Texas travel in The Wanderer :: Where To Stay Now 2012 // The Ten Best New (Or Improved!) Texas Hotels.  I love a good hotel and this has a list of interesting new spots as well as some familiar ones that have gotten a facelift.  How fun was this assignment?

Here are some of the suggestions:
  • Hotel Zaza, Houston - I've stayed here a few times.  Zaza is pet-friendly and in a wonderful museum district location, directly across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts outstanding sculpture garden.
  • Hotel Galvez, Galveston - this is my go-to Galveston spot. It truly evokes turn of the century glamour.  It's gone through a much-needed renovation.
  • Rancho Loma Restaurant + Rest, Talpa - fabulous-sounding modernist outpost near Abilene.  This sounds like a great place to digitally detox.  Honestly, I'd never even heard of Talpa.  It's 200 miles west of Dallas, just north of Brownwood.
  • The Inn at Dos Brisas, Washington - I've been dying to try this luxury resort that offers perhaps one of the most luxurious Texas escapes with an indulgent culinary focus. It's expensive, both financially and calorically, with rooms starting at $665 per night during high season. 
The complete list has a more options in Marfa, Austin, San Antonio and also features Dallas' Joule Hotel.

Courtesy: Gage Hotel
I would add the Gage Hotel in Marathon.  It's a heck of a haul from DFW but is a great rustic resort near Big Bend National Park.  It's a Vaquero-style oasis in the middle of nowhere but a decent base if you're looking for a higher-end retreat while hiking Big Bend.

The Indian Lodge in Davis Mountain State Park is a unique option built with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps.  The adobe buildings are a gorgeous contrast to the west Texas skyline.  The rooms feature the most beautiful handmade wood furnishings.  It's a really cool place.

Courtesy: Indian Lodge at Davis Mountain State Park
All of these embrace that Texas lifestyle I would love to have: one that travels the expansive state and takes advantage of the diverse cultures and topography it offers.  Unfortunately, real life gets in the way.
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