Gadora has a love-hate relationship with The Big D. Though Dallas was my home many years ago, and though I made the most of my time there, the list of things I generally don’t love about Dallas is long. Save the asphalt heat and maze of relentless traffic. With near proximity to family the ever-growing city boasts a few properties that keep me coming back.
My ole nabe, Oak Cliff, sits just South of downtown. That part of town—which was sketchy at best—has fared quite well over the years. Nearby Bishops Arts District has enjoyed a revitalization. Long ago I enjoyed tootling around the streets along the West side of town. There are pockets of Dallas where the architecture is quite special. This one old motor motel, dusty and dilapidated, overlooked the city scape, and I wished something grand could happen to it. That was then.
This is now.
My girls appeased me over the weekend when a roller derby trip afforded us a night at the Belmont. Since my Dallas departure, the place had been scooped up and was indeed shown some love. Turns out the hotel was a neglected gem from Charles Stevens Dilbeck who took his inspiration from successful California motor court hotels.
In 2005, “Local developer Monte Anderson assembled a new urbanist team of architects, designers and craftsmen to bring the wonderful though long-neglected hotel back to its glory days.” In 2008, the Belmont announced a partnership with THE Liz Lambert. You (should) know her of San Jose – THE Austin motor coach hotel with its own movie and el Cosmico fame. Again, what she touches is gold. And this weekend it was emerald-green, pumpkin orange and fire-red.
Sure, I’ve been to the Belmont before. Gadora covets her ‘inspiration’ snaps from the many visits. I’ve just never blogged about it. While the interior is smartly and sparsely appointed, it’s the exterior I relish most. The auto carports have all been transformed into common-area resting nooks.
Each one quietly different, they’re at once stark and inviting. Those that face the city’s sparkling skyline benefited this day from the mid-morning overcast sky rushing into each window.
This car port was the only one to share a wooden wall with its neighbor.
Room enough for a simple gathering, and bright enough for a good time.
Gadora doubts it’s an accident the round rug, Acapulco-esque chair and Tulip-inspired table were paired in the patio with the square window. Yeah, Liz is that good.
Facing East, the portal’s rays illuminate the entire car port. I love the subtle shadows the chairs cast.
The fuzzy and rambling courtyard makes a loop around the upper portion of the property. The car ports are only separated by themselves and the muted primary palette. A canopy of happy trees opened up to reveal this scenic entrance.
Back inside: over the years, the hotel has revealed an ever-changing lobby. It’s moved from a stark existence to nod to the Mexican Hacienda to this colorful urban-lodge vibe. The black and white “rug”, the must-have in today’s interiors, is painted over the original bricks. The original spindled iron handrails (just out of view) feel right at home in their new surroundings.
Through the lobby, and covered outside bar (no self-respecting Liz Lambert spot is complete without a place to enjoy a libation) I took in the killer Dallas view. While Dallas isn’t one of my favorite places, I give it major props for recognizing such a special, and historically relevant place. Good on ya’ Big D.