Texas: The Fort Worth Hotel Scene

The Ashton Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas

An interesting fact about Fort Worth, Texas is a majority of America’s paper money is printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing located within city limits. But according to a local private-investment mogul, “All of Fort Worth’s money is in two downtown office buildings on Commerce and Main Streets.” The oil billionaire Bass family built them, own 35 city blocks and contributes to the security and maintenance of Sundance Square, now undergoing a massive revitalization.

But it wasn’t oil money or pioneer money that settled Fort Worth in 1849. The army built an outpost on the banks of the Trinity River to protect settlers from Indian attacks. By the 1860s, a cattle town took hold. Hells Half Acre was its derelict, downtown district and became a favorite stop for carousing cattlemen working the Chisholm Trail to Kansas. Today, the country’s sixteenth-largest city is marketed as “The City of Cowboys and Culture,” succeeding quite well with the blend.

Fort Worth doesn’t have the glitz of Dallas, about 35 miles away, which pleases locals. It does have a laid-back, Western-heritage heartbeat, complete with a year-round weekend rodeo and rattlesnake sausage as cowboy cuisine. Five renowned museums are within walking distance in its Cultural Arts district. And three distinct types of hotels are worth a night’s stay.

The Ashton Hotel

Afternoon High Tea complements this 39-room, small, luxury, boutique hotel, located in downtown Fort Worth, steps from Sundance Square. “People come for the social experience of tea. It’s like theatre,” said general manager Mark Michalski about the $29 year-round event. Included are 14 individually brewed teas, scones, tea sandwiches, soup, champagne and more.

The renovated former office building has eight floors, six different room types, all non-smoking, and with king-size beds. Business travelers such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have stayed here. The convenient and connected two-story meeting space, once a brothel, works for weekday meetings and weekend weddings. A private chef, 24-hour room service and three-meal onsite restaurant is an added bonus. The hotel has won AAA’s Four Diamond award for eight consecutive years.

Average rate is $240 a night, plus 15% state and occupancy tax. Rates go up to $800 per night. Ask about specials. A 10% commission to travel agents is paid twice a month.

Omni Fort Worth Hotel

Built in 2009 with Texas products, the Omni Fort Worth Hotel is an imposing structure directly across from the downtown Fort Worth Convention Center. Its lobby is massive and houses several restaurants, bars, Starbucks and a Kimball Museum shop. There are 68,000 square feet of meeting space, 614 guest rooms, a theatre and banquet facilities. Terry Rowling, a Texan and wife of Texan Robert Rowling who owns the Omni chain, chose the Texas-themed artwork seen throughout the hotel.

Texas Tuesdays in the Whiskey & Rye bar is live country music, boot shining and a free shot of Texas whiskey. The hotel’s car service is free, runs 24 hours and takes guests within ten miles of the hotel. More free amenities include Wi-Fi, use of the fitness center, and a pool bar with free bar food.

This Omni is popular with staycationers since it offers year-long Camp Omni for kids, complete with a complimentary backpack filled with presents. Some discounted room rates begin at $99 with tax. Travel agent commission is 10%.

Stockyards Hotel

For an authentic Western-style visit to Fort Worth, head to the Stockyards located ten minutes from downtown. An original rodeo occurs here, plus Billy Bob’s Texas holds up to 6,000 people and entertains with a live bull-riding event.

For over one hundred years, the Stockyards Hotel has stood at the entrance to the 15- block area listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lobby is pure Old West nostalgia, complete with two Remington Bronze pieces. The two-story hotel has 52 rooms offered in Antique Western, Native American, Mountain Man or Victorian décor. Next door is the H3 Steakhouse, one of the city’s best.

The spacious famed Bonnie and Clyde room overlooks a noisy street but its charm is a claw-foot tub, pull-chain toilet and framed gun on the wall. Bonnie once hid it under the mattress. The Celebrity Suite has a fireplace, private patio with hot tub, 50-inch TV and cowhide chairs. Weekend price is $489. Standard room weekday rate can drop as low as $99 per night, plus tax. There are three meeting rooms and outdoor terrace with professional catering. A 10% commission is paid to travel agents.

The Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau is an excellent source to begin a visit to the city – www.fortworth.com

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