Dubya, The Hotel
Yesterday afternoon I took a sweat-soaked tour of the W Hotel's latest digs in Victory Park, and first this actual news item: Kristin Walker, the marketing manager for the hotel, says it will not open June 15, as was originally planned. The sales, PR and marketing folks just found this out Tuesday, and there's no new date set at the moment; likely, an announcement will come some time this week, as the Starwood bosses and construction crew get a better grasp of just how much work's left to do to the sprawling, opulent caravansary adjacent to the American Airlines Center and the other under-construction residences at Victory Park. "We could open the doors on June 15," says publicist Lisa Pollack, "but parts of the hotel will still be under construction, and we want it to be 100 percent done before opening." Which is fair enough; nobody wants to pay $309 for the hotel's most standard room, much less the thousands it'll take to sleep in the 1,600-square foot presidential suites, and wake up to the sound of bang-bang-banging.
Speaking of banging, that's what the place is even with the W teeming with some 200 construction workers sweating their asses off to finish the place by, most likely, early to mid-July. The place is taking shape: In a matter of weeks, it will no doubt be crawling with locals eager to hook up on the 32nd-floor Ghostbar or dine in the copper-accented digs of Top Chef Tom Colicchio, whose Craft is coming along nicely. (Colicchio will be in town beginning next week and stay for at least a month, Pollack says; it can't hurt that his brother happens to live in Dallas, which will give him something to do given the delayed opening.) This much says it all about what to expect from the W: Even though the place is still well under construction, already they've hung seven 25-foot chandeliers in the lobby bar called the Living Room, which is bound by a terrace on one corner and a lighted glass-paneled wall on the other. It's a wreck, and still you just wanna get a drink and hang; thank God for complimentary wi-fi. Incidentally, the theme of this particular W will be "cowboy cool," which is also the theme of my entire existence to date.
Walker took our group through a few of the more notable destinations in the hotel: Bliss Spa, with its plasma TV screens in the mani-pedi rooms and conveyor belts soon to scoot out Bliss product; the 16th-floor infinity pool area, where a former (already?) yoga room is being converted into yet another bar to service the covered deck area with a stunning view of...Stemmons Freeway; the entire 15th floor, with its 15-foot-tall ceiling "Mega-Texas Style" suites, some of which come with 160-square foot terraces overlooking the AAC; and the private lounge area for folks staying over for a few months at a time. (The hotel will have 144 residences to go with the 252 guest rooms, of which 32 will be suites.) Incidentally, that converted yoga room became a bar at the insistence of Walker and the marketing people, she says; not only does it provide a great wraparound view of downtown, but it will also alleviate the crush of drinkers pouring into the place like beer from a keg at a fraternity party...like, uh, me. Problem is, what do I tell the missus about her birthday present getting pushed back a few weeks. Damned construction. --Robert Wilonsky
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