Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Whole 'Nother Place In A Whole 'Nother Country - The Mansion On Turtle Creek

So I Found This Little Hotel In Big 'D'

Some years back, I had occasion to accompany my favorite traveling companion and muse to Dallas for a business conference. As an executive assistant, she got to pretty much run the show while I hung out around the very big Hilton somewhere downtown doing nothing, waiting for her conference to end. To be perfectly honest, I don't actually remember which Hilton it was, as I tend to block all Hiltons from my mind. All those big, over designed corporate spaces with miles of corridors to acres of conference rooms just isn't my cup of tea, But, it was the headquarters for the big business event my wife was attending and I got a clean bed and big shower for free. So whose complaining?

Dallas is, first of all, very, very big. It is one of those cities that has grown exponentially and, at the time we were there, was awash in oil money and unbridled real estate development. Of course, as we all know, television really placed Dallas in the pop cultural consciousness of most Americans. JR and his cast of rich oil men, high rent grifters and near do wells projected all that we voyeuristic Americans love about soap operas. "Who Shot JR?" was one of the most compelling advertising slogans in the history of television, right up there with "Where's The Beef? or Coke-It's the Real Thing. Of course it didn't hurt that there was a hit TV show to go with the slogan. Admit it, you couldn't stand having to wait all summer to find out "Who done it". But I digress.

Before leaving Florida, I had performed some due diligence on a place to sojourn post big conference hotel where my wife and I could get away for some R&R. I happened upon an extraordinary boutique hotel, The Mansion On Turtle Creek. Now a Rosewood Property, this small, elegant, boutique hotel is in the heart of Dallas. According to their web site:

      Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is one of the most celebrated destinations in
      America. Considered a Dallas icon by both locals and visitors alike, the Mansion
      retains the intimate ambiance of the private residence it once was. Meticulously
      restored interiors, hand-carve fireplaces, marble floors and stained-glass windows
      preserve the estate's original magnificence while impeccable service, an attentive
      staff and thoughtful amenities ensure absolute comfort.

All true. And for a hotel that can boast that it is the only Forbes Four Star and AAA Five Star Hotel in Texas, the price is well worth it. With a staff that is never out of touch, yet never obvious, it makes one feel as if they have gone back in time to a great hotel of the past. Travel has become so "self serve" today. Not so at Turtle Creek. Like some throwback to a bygone era, you can even leave your shoes outside your door and they will be returned by morning, spit shined to perfection. Puttin' On The Ritz, Texas style! At Turtle Creek, they made me remember what my father always preached in  his business - The customer is always right. Those are not just words at this magnificent property located just minutes from downtown.

Much Ado About Dallas

Of course, there is more to Dallas and The Mansion than just another pretty face. Dallas and Fort Worth are awash in many cultural opportunities for the Nomad who wants to get out more. If you are a shopaholic, then Dallas does, indeed , have it all. One particularly unique retail icon is just around the corner from the hotel, Highland Park Village. According to the Urban Land Institute, this high end "outdoor mall" is the "first planned shopping center in the United States with a unified architectural style and stores facing in toward an interior parking area, all built and managed under single ownership". With over a hundred boutiques from Anthropologie to Harry Winston you can max out your gold card with impunity.

But don't spend all of your money, because you need to at least have the admission to visit two must see museums. First, the iconic Kimbell Art Museum, designed by one of the twentieth century's greatest architects, Louis I. Kahn, is one of the most compelling spacial compositions for displaying and viewing art. The introduction of natural light through vaulted light diffusers gives the elongated spaces a simplicity that could only be accomplished by an architect of Kahn's vision. These unique light elements, along with simple cladding materials for walls and floors, render spaces that enhance the experience of viewing great works of art. Another museum that any visit to Dallas/Fort Worth must include is The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. Housing an extensive collection of paintings and sculpture by western artists Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, as well as other American artists, it is well worth the side trip to view some of the most compelling American art ever created.

And It Wasn't Even On The Menu!!

Of course no visit to Dallas would be complete without discussing what else? Food. Like all large cosmopolitan cities, Dallas has culinary offerings to suit every taste. However, what makes a visit to Dallas a unique adventure for any Nomadic Foodie, is on site in the elegant Mansion Restaurant. I can personally vouch for their food - mind blowing, and their service - other worldly. This became most evident during a mid morning brunch. Prior to our trip, I had read about one of their signature southwestern dishes, Warm Lobster Tacos With Yellow Tomato Salsa. Not only had I read about this interesting dish, I had dreamed about it and discussed it at great length with myself and my bride. Imagine my dismay, my chagrin, my utter disillusionment when it did not appear on the menu! When I asked, with pleading eyes, why this particular dish was not on the menu, the waiter said with a congenial smile - "Don't worry sir, the chef will be happy to prepare the tacos as requested". Problem solved. Like I said, this is a whole 'nother place. And the chef did not disappoint. Every single morsel of this unique Texas dish was simply beyond description. A perfect meal, in a perfect room with the woman I loved before we met, made this Nomad glad he decided to drop anchor for a few days at this intimate little place in the heart of Big 'D'.

Go West Nomads!!

D.L. Stafford

Video Artist of The Week - The Little Willies led by Norah Jones, who grew up in Fort Worth. This unique group must be heard to be appreciated. The tune  Fowl Owl On The Prowl gives you something to ponder next time you are daydreaming.

Travel Quote of The Week - Why did the chicken cross the road?  To prove to the armadillo it could be done! - Anonymous


No comments:

Post a Comment