A Classic Dallas Hotel Gets Cool and Contemporary



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The Adolphus still has its distinctive chandelier and fireplaces, but after a makeover, menus are more refined and the rooftop is home to a relaxing pool and bar.

The barber shop at the Adolphus in Dallas.CreditCreditSteven Visneau


From $239 a night.


There is no shortage of luxury hotels in and around the booming city of Dallas, but none fuse Old World charm, a storied history and modern luxuries the way the newly renovated Adolphus does. The hotel, with its ornate Beaux-Arts-style facade, was built by the beer baron Adolphus Busch in 1912 at the behest of the city’s elite, who wanted a first-class hotel to match their soaring aspirations for the small city on the prairie. Dark floral carpets, frescoes with cherubim and an excess of gilt are gone, but you’ll still find the hulking brass chandelier — with hops berries, eagles and crowns — that Mr. Busch commissioned for the 1904 World’s Fair; he hung a second one in the St. Louis stable of his beloved Clydesdales. Vestiges of its former grandeur remain throughout, but especially in the first-floor common area’s burnished wood paneling, velvet sofas and soaring fireplaces.


The property is in the heart of Dallas’ central business district, down the street from the original Neiman Marcus, which opened in 1908 and still stands, and new boutiques like Forty Five Ten that sell cutting-edge couture in a city that prides itself on being fashion-forward.

Just a courtesy car ride away are attractions that hug the edge of downtown. The Arts District features a symphony center, two performance halls and several museums, including the world-class Nasher Sculpture Center. Nearby, bustling Klyde Warren Park sits atop a freeway and links the business district to a vibrant night life scene in Uptown.

A premier double king room at the Adolphus.CreditSteven Visneau

The Room

All the standard rooms in the 22-story hotel have king-size beds, 500 square feet of space, 10-foot ceilings and upholstered leather headboards. When the desk clerk learned we were celebrating our anniversary, he upgraded us to a corner executive suite with two floor-to-ceiling windows fronted by wrought iron balustrades inlaid with a gold letter A, and a living room outfitted with a second flat-screen TV and an L-shaped leather sofa.

The Bathroom

There is a lot to like in the sizable bathroom, including a deep porcelain sink and a frameless, barn-door shower. But the marble tiled shower had a particularly smart feature: The faucets were affixed to the wall near the door and the shower head was on the opposite wall, allowing guests to set the perfect water temperature without getting wet.

The Adolphus in Dallas.CreditSteven Visneau


A new rooftop pool and bar sits on a corner of the seventh floor surrounded by the windowless facades of neighboring stone buildings that provide a serene, cavern-like effect. It is a relaxing place to sip inventive cocktails and eat compressed-watermelon salad.

An airy spa has six treatment rooms, including one for couples with a private terrace, and offers a full complement of treatments and massages.

A standout is the lobby-based barber shop that specializes in straight-razor shaves and traditional cuts while a selection of vinyl albums — “Led Zeppelin III,” “Get That Feeling” by Jimi Hendrix — plays in the background. It is busy all day long.

The French Room at the Adolphus.CreditSteven Visneau


Once the poshest restaurant in the city — and the gaudiest — The French Room’s décor has undergone a refined makeover, as has its food offerings. It serves two tasting menus, one with wine pairings, and a three-course prix fixe meal, which costs $95.

More casual dining is available at City Hall Bistro, so named because the hotel was on the site that had been intended for city hall, but Mr. Busch paid to have it built elsewhere because this location was easier for his beer trucks to navigate. Our favorite dinner dish on the Southern European-style dinner menu was seared spicy scallops with turmeric. The robust breakfast menu featured a short rib panini on challah and hazelnut waffles.

Bottom Line

The Adolphus’s renovation has achieved the feat of preserving what was the best of its past while successfully incorporating up-to-date luxuries.

The Adolphus, 1321 Commerce Street, Dallas; adolphus.com.



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