The elegant former mansion of the King family, and then of oilman Freeman Burford, the Rosewood Mansion—now The Mansion on Turtle Creek—was the temporary home of Tennessee Williams who wrote Summer and Smoke while a guest of the Burfords here in the 1940s. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt (both writers as well as politicians) also stayed here during Burford's reign. The mansion was converted to a hotel. Literary lovers can either book a stay (not cheap) or tour the lobby and stay to dine at the hotel's Mansion Restaurant, an elegant French affair known in the city as the place for classic fine dining. The elegant hotel still exudes the private home feel that must have led Tennessee to "rely on the kindness of strangers" and stay for such an extended time.
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A Timeless Classic
All 143 rooms at this elegant hotel—a Dallas society mainstay—have plush accents such as beautifully upholstered furnishings and Lady Primrose bath products. The graceful hotel’s biggest draw, though, is its residential feel: Warm chocolate chip cookies and lemonade greet you in the marble-floored lobby, while the handsome leather-walled bar has shelves lined with old tomes. The Mansion Restaurant has long defined fine dining in Dallas; on cooler nights, request a table by the fireplace.
Dallas is undeniably sophisticated, and a perfect getaway for couples looking for destination dining, haute shopping and incredible arts and architecture. Stay at Hotel ZaZa a 153-room hotel with 18 concept suites; the best to book is the Out of Africa room for its exotic animal busts and tribal masks. You can also get cozy at The Joule a former bank with fresh interiors by Adam Tihany, and a $22 million art collection. Stop by the Mansion On Turtle Creek’s handsome bar—leather-walled and lined with old tomes—to sip an Old Fashioned or take your drink outside and grab a seat by one of the outdoor fireplaces. Or make reservations at the Mansion Restaurant where top dishes include the tortilla soup, a menu staple since the dining room opened over 30 years ago.
A recent dinner proved to be a vexing, if not disappointing, experience for my group. Our hosts had previously enjoyed a “remarkable” dinner and were excited to show off their local gem. But the moment we walked in the door, we could hear a gaggle of young ladies speaking in very unladylike tones. Even after we were seated in the dining room we could still hear them. So, too, the romantic couple next to us, who appeared even more distressed. Before long I realized the floor vent was exhaling an icy blast that required me to call on a nearby server. He went off to fetch a towel; upon his return he said: “This usually does the trick.” Usually? Note to the manager: Why not fix it? Soon enough our own server appeared, a woman I’ll call “Lady Mary” because she seemed as arch as the “Downton” character. One of my friends asked for the G&T, but remade as a V&T because she doesn’t like gin. Lady Mary would have none of it, extolling the virtues of the house-made gin until…. well, for far, far too long. Then I asked if a mock cocktail list existed. Lady Mary brought me fruity non-alcoholic confection instead. I inquired again about a list, but she asked me to try the drink first. After I did, and had winced at the amount of sugar in it, she asked me what I preferred. I said in my best Dowager Countess voice: “I’d like to know if you have a list.” Three times? Note to the manager: Your staff is an embarrassment. Oh, and how was our meal? Let me put it this way: Unremarkable.