Last night, the Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa threw a bash for Dallas’ upper-crust, offering anything and everything to a class that has anything and everything. Officially, the soirée was intended to show off the place’s new $36-million renovation and spa installation. Unofficially, the party -- dubbed “Decadence Debuted” -was a celebration of what Dallas holds dear: some shiny bling-bling.
Guests were immediately greeted by servers carrying shiny trays stacked with red wine, white wine and champagne. This alcoholic smörgåsbord was a recurring theme for the night, one the guests copiously enjoyed. Just off the lobby, Manuel Adame and his Grey Goose martinis lured guests into the Heritage Room. Whilst Adame chatted up the binging bourgeoisie, an immaculately pant-suited sales force tried to fit them for a condo -- ranging anywhere from $369,000 to $2.8 million -- at the currently-under-construction, next-door development The Heritage at The Stoneleigh.
Back in the lobby, another open bar and a pile of seafood awaited grazing guests. The fare here, orchestrated by past-Iron Chef challenger David Bull, was quite posh (see: shrimp as long as your digits), albeit a tad banal.
However, the new Stoneleigh truly began with the basement spa. Past the temporary open bar are the Relaxation Rooms -- complete with whirlpools, dry saunas and flat-screen TVs. Although, to be fair, the women had two tubs to the men’s one, and theirs were decorated in flowers and floating candles. The whole place was done in faux-marble (we think it was faux) and smelled of dainty, flowery things.
On the other side of the Relaxation Rooms seven suites of holistic massage paradise await patrons. You can get hot stone massages, Swedish massages and a diamond peel resurfacing (didn’t Putty try to sell Jerry that for his Saab?). In Suite No. 7, ayurevedic holistic therapy is offered. Basically, a kind lady named Leilani drips the wax that best represents your aura onto your third eye for about half an hour.
“It’s a journey of the senses,” spa director Terri Beckham told Unfair Park. “This is a necessity in some people’s lives. Every hotel needs a spa component. This is not a trend, they’re here to stay.”
But the crown jewel -- the reason we were all sipping from free champagne flutes with raspberries floating in them -- was the penthouse. In the 1930s, Col. Harry Stewart brought in Dorothy Draper to design the Stoneleigh’s penthouse. So when management decided to redo the place, they brought in Carlton Varney, a Draper disciple. The result is a 1930s Art Deco haven that makes the less fortunate wish they’d studied harder in school -- or been born under a brighter star.
The penthouse is made up of three different suites: the Bridal, Presidential and Penthouse Suites. The Bridal is bright, Art Deco pink and was accented last night by a $15,000 Stanley Korshack wedding gown. Again, see the slide show.
Set off from the library was the Presidential Suite, a huge space of bright blue and intricate crown molding. At some point, this room became the unofficial meeting point for tall, leggy model-types bearing diamond rings that’d make Liz Taylor blush. It was at about this time that Scott Eisenberg, a Houston oil mercenary, began waxing poetic about the differences between his hometown and Big D. Whilst his gaze bore a hole through a wispy blond in an almost see-through dress, he told us that Houston was full of Everymen while Dallas was “big hair, big boobs -- I love it.”
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Finally, after hiking up an almost zebra print staircase, guests reached the summit: the Penthouse Suite. The bedroom, bathroom and living area (sake bar -- yeah!) were all stellar, but the crowd gravitated toward the terrace, accessible through both the living area and bathroom. Currently, a view that includes the Crescent is obscured by cranes, cranes and more cranes. But that didn’t stop guests from shoveling down some more booze (sake bar -- yeah!) and some scallops.
Here, the Stoneleigh’s managing director, John Langston, reflected on the suite’s refurbishing, which runs interested parties anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 and up. “The furnishings are new. The Penthouse is like no other. We have the most exclusive, expensive penthouse, we think, in Texas. The Stoneleigh is back.”
When the sun finally set, the work of floor after floor of endless free booze began to set in on the crowd. On the Stoneleigh’s front porch, 40-somethings in Jos. A. Bank suits began bumping and grinding to some Naughty By Nature. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, they were, in fact, down with OPP. The girl in the see-through dress started modeling the wedding dress worth more than a 2002 Honda Civic. Teresa Garcia of Allen observed that a few ladies in the crowd looked dour and advised them: “If you sucked your guy’s dick every once and a while, maybe you wouldn’t have such a pruney look on your face.”
Valuable advice for all. It appears no matter how classy the enterprise -- and after this bonanza, there’s no doubt the Stoneleigh’s redo has it -- manners and a solid disposition stand no chance under the weight of free sake. --Spencer Campbell and Daniel Rodrigue