The biggest surprise about The Fairmont Dallas is that it is absolutely up-to-date for all ages. Look out of any north-facing window and you see one of the most stunning architectural sights in the whole of the USA. In Seattle you have Herzog + de Morton’s Public Library and, just across the highway from the oh-so-busy luxury hotel, you have the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, finished in 2012 by Pritzker winner Thom Mayne. Thank you, Ross Perot, for this truly memorable building and its contents. This is a stunning interactive place to visit at any time but, through August 18th, 2019, everyone, young and old, should head for ‘The Art of the Brick’ temporary exhibition.
The hundreds of exhibits are all the work of a former lawyer, Nathan Sawaya, who has decided to spend the rest of his life as a Lego sculptor. Yes, really. A video below finishes with his self-portrait, a work about ten feet high that took one month and 10,770 bricks. I have no idea how long the women above took. Thank you Highland Capita Management for sponsoring this stunning exhibition, co-sponsored by Texas Instruments. I was dining in the hotel’s Pyramid restaurant with the hotel’s Hanseatic GM, Sven Richter, whom I had last shared bread with at Mayakoba’s Fairmont. He says his son is so addicted to the Museum that he is inviting all his friends to his sixth birthday there next week (apparently the Museum does a splendid job in entertaining kids and, presumably wearing them out so parents are happy too).
It did seem that all the guests in this full-house 545-room hotel were also happy. There was some kind of conference going on and at around 5.30 p.m. the lobby was heaving. Newest, the bar, flows from behind its picture-frame wall outline into the main lobby area and presumably most of the customers right then were enjoying happy hour (actually four hours, 3-7 p.m), when wings are a dollar, sliders twice that and beer or wine only $4. We, somewhat more sedately, drank a Texan Sangiovese, Flat Creek Estate 2015, to go with a prime bone-in cowboy ribeye. No, we did not wear stetsons, and we did not go on to chocolate Texan Bourbon brülées, with candied bacon and pecan tuiles and Haak’s Texan Madeira 2006.
A hotel of this size has to offer everything the business guest wants, Monday through Thursday. The Matrix gym is 24/7, though the adjacent UPS office sensibly opens only during normal working hours. The 18th floor Gold club lounge, open from 6.30 a.m., has lovely managers (Sharae Sass is a natural hospitality person). Everyone is looking forward to seeing how the hotel will celebrate its 50th birthday this May – is it true the 320-strong employee base still includes two eternal youngsters here from the start? The original plan was for apartments above extensive retail. When the hotel opened, May 7th, 1969, a mezzanine-level water burst nearly ruined the opening party, but it went ahead, with six trumpeters in uniform, 75 violinists playing and the dinner parade was led by two real elephants, in gold and silver (after dessert they re-appeared pulling a coach holding singer Robert Goulet). This luxury hotel has grown up, says Sven Richter. Do not expect a repeat performance this year. ENJOY A VISIT TO THE LEGO, AND THEN SEE SUITE 1901