Film and TV

Channel White Lotus at These Dallas Hotel Restaurants

Mia would do anything to play that piano.
Mia would do anything to play that piano. Courtesy of Ellie's Lounge, photo by Robert Tsai
If you have a subscription to HBO — or a friend willing to share their login — chances are you’ve watched an episode of White Lotus or binged an entire season in one sitting. One of the many captivating aspects of Season 2 is the setting: the San Domenico Palace in Taormina, Sicily. Hugging the sea, this Four Seasons property (in real life) has stunning vistas, numerous restaurants and bars, plus a large circular drive that is perfect for taking a Vespa around in wobbly circles.

While Dallas doesn’t have any palacios, there are some upscale hotels that warrant eating at any night of the week. (Seriously, why do the characters only dine at the hotel restaurants? Like Ethan and Harper on their last night? Please. Go hide in a dim trattoria just once.)

And while ocean views, head-shaped statues and flirting with the piano player isn’t always an option, there are some hotel restaurants that will make you feel like you are dining at a remote resort destination. And there may even be some interesting characters.

Here are some Dallas hotels to channel White Lotus (sans the chaos). Or just great hotel restaurants if you don't have an HBO login.

The Pool Club Dallas at Virgin Hotel

1445 Turtle Creek Blvd.
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The Pool Club at Virgin Hotels Dallas
Virgin Hotel

The fourth-story rooftop lounge and pool at the Virgin Hotel is definitely where Cam and Daphne dip for a staycation. And when the pool gets poppin' in the summer, you know Essex Jack holds court. Spend the afternoon relaxing at one of several cabanas, kick back on daybed loungers, take a dip in the pool or sit under an umbrella with your friends (hopefully, they are trustworthy ... unlike Cam). If you’re really wanting to White Lotus it up, enjoy brunch staples like spicy breakfast tacos with chorizo, egg, pico, salsa verde and lime crema.

If you need an afternoon snack, you can order wagyu meatballs with passata, pecorino romano and green garlic aioli. There are also plenty of beers and cocktails to choose from (the cabana is stocked with a mini fridge with mixers). Get your staycation in order because The Pool Club is for guests only.

Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa

2332 Leonard St.
The ambiance of The Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza is 100-percent White Lotus. Inside the restaurant, dim lights hang from the ceiling, and behind the brown-leather couches are dozens of faces reminding us of the statues that graced almost every scene in White Lotus. You can also sit at the bar like Mia and Lucia while sipping a Paloma Diablo made with tequila, agave, grapefruit flavors, jalapeño bitters and Tajin.

If you really want to channel Italy, get the Big Italian sandwich with prosciutto, salami, giardiniera and fresh mozzarella. Step outside to hang out by the posh pool when you're done eating.

Nobu at Hotel Crescent Court

400 Crescent Court
The thing about the Hotel Crescent Court is that you never know who you'll see there. Just hanging out in the lobby is a scene (for the floral arrangements, if nothing else). The world-renowned, upscale Nobu is the main restaurant here, serving Peruvian-influenced Japanese fare. It's very elegant and bougie, but also very approachable. The bar at Nobu is foolproof entertainment as well.

If you're looking for more of a Daphne experience, rejuvenate at the extensive hotel spa. The Crescent even has cryotherapy. Or hang out at the second-floor hotel pool which is kept at a perfect 85 degrees year-round. Full food and beverage service are available at the pool. But absolutely no splashing around (made that up, but just seems right).

Gallery Rooftop Lounge at The Canvas Hotel

1325 Botham Jean Blvd.
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The Gallery Rooftop Lounge at Canvas Hotel.
Kristina Rowe
How many scenes were filmed either walking into or eating at a restaurant in White Lotus? Perhaps a dozen in each show? At the Canvas Hotel in the Cedars District, there isn’t an ocean view but the rooftop bar has one of the best views in the city. The infinity pool looks over the skyline, and the art inside the lounge is quite stunning. Lounge chairs, cabanas, drinks and food add to the allure. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to get in on the fun, and that’s on trend because neither were Mia and Lucia. Just make reservations.

Ellie’s Lounge at Hall Arts Hotel

1717 Leonard St.
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James Welling Photography
Ellie’s at Hall Arts Hotel has two different dining areas, a lounge (photo at top) and a terrace, so if you happen to eat at the hotel every night at least you'll get a change of scenery. A stunning ocean-like mural sits on the wall in Ellie’s Terrace, so if you want to take an imaginary trip to the sea, this is your spot. While at the terrace, be sure to try the blistered Brussels sprouts with garlic confit and tamari, which is vegan, or order The Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie for a variety of options.

After dining on the terrace, head over to the lounge for a Stardust Cosmo, which has Hanson of Sonoma Meyer Lemon Vodka, Cointreau, white cranberry lime and iridescence. Best of all, local and international musicians play a Steinway grand piano nightly.

The Rosewood Mansion

2821 Turtle Creek Blvd.
The Rosewood Mansion has a world-renowned restaurant and posh bar that's begging for a good time. Let's fun! Grab a perch at the bar during happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for some discounted drinks. Or maybe you have someone to slide $50,000 into your account because their son is more gullible than Portia is naive.

On Saturday or Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. head over for the brunch tasting menu ($49) with a starter, entreé and dessert. End the meal with an affogato flight: house ice cream trio, biscotti and espresso ($10).

Sassetta and Midnight Rambler at The Joule

1530 Main St.
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Can you even imagine Cam in this pool?
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The Joule hotel in downtown has a roof-top pool that dangles swimmers over the edge of the building. Not recommended for Tanya types, but Cam would likely love this a little too much. Locals can get a day pass for the pool during the summer. After sipping poolside, head over to the original Nieman Marcus and shop like it's Noto.

Then go back to the Joule for a swank dinner at Sassetta, where the wine menu is 12 pages long, so you can pretend you are hopping from winery to winery (easy there, Harper). There are two Sicilian wines: the Cantine Colosi Sicilia Nero D’Avola and the Passopisciaro Passorosso. Order both to really White Lotus it up. The food pairs beautifully with the wine here. The rich lobster spaghetti has a red sauce that should be famous. It has a touch of Fresno chili, poblano and chili flakes, giving it a nice kick.
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Dinner spread at Sassetta inside The Joule hotel
Molly Wolchansky
Also try the sausage pizza, which has that sweet, yet rich red sauce, caramelized fennel and onion and Challerhocker cheese, which is a Swiss cheese that’s aged for a minimum of 12 months.

For a nightcap, head to Midnight Rambler, the swank subterranean cocktail lounge for an Aperol Spritz but just watch out for the Niccolo types. Or not. It's your vacation. Do what you want.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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