For this year’s Jewel Charity Ball, I decided to make a staycation out of my trip to Fort Worth, using the fabulous Hotel Drover as my home base. It was a timely stay — March marked the one-year anniversary of the Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. Nestled alongside Marine Creek in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, the 200-room hotel lived up to every expectation.
The Fort Worth hotel leans in thoroughly to the theme of celebrating the rich history and lore of Texas. It’s as if the pioneers might have somehow been slightly snobbish about where they would hitch their wagon and lay their weary heads.
Hotel Drover, a part of Marriott’s high-end Autograph Collection property, serves as the anchor for the carefully restored and revived Mule Alley. This imaginatively conceived adaptive reuse project houses a thoughtfully curated collection of watering holes and restaurants and watering holes (including chef Marcus Paslay’s Provender Hall), entertainment venues (Cowtown Coliseum, Billy Bob’s), retail heritage brands (looking for some Lucchese boots — well, search no further than their lobby), and creative workplaces.
The Rooms at Hotel Drover
The check-in process was seamless and I was able to catch a few minutes of the video that plays on repeat behind the front desk. It’s a poppish amalgam by Dallas photographer Molly Dickson featuring iconic Texas images: the State Fair’s Big Tex, some ladies with big hair, and of course our food of choice, Whataburger.
We had a well-appointed room with a nice view of Hotel Drover’s Western and modern hacienda-style grounds. We’d admired all of the thoughtful details in the room: spittoons as pen holders for the desk, a coat rack for your denim jacket or Stetson, and rugged (yet sophisticated) leather furniture.
The Amenities at Hotel Drover
It’s an Autograph Collection property, so it’s safe to expect the finer things. The Chadsworth & Haig robes are plush, the cloud-like beds feature 300-thread-count linens from Sferra, and the tile-lined bathrooms are equipped with full-size Los Poblanos products crafted in New Mexico.
Hotel Drover’s lush “backyard” features a heated pool with crystal chandeliers, a hot tub, and three cabanas for those who wish to sip their spritzes or icy beers in private.
What To Eat and Drink at Hotel Drover
We then enjoyed a cocktail in the lobby bar before donning our black-tie attire for the Jewel Charity Ball. The gorgeous lobby celebrates Texas’ rich history and charm with a large stone fireplace, cowhide chairs, and mounted Longhorn skulls. You can also stop by the bar in the morning for a barista-crafted coffee drink.
Speaking of the morning, we had heard great things about the restaurant and opted to have brunch at 97 West Kitchen & Bar. My guest and I started with the avocado toast which was light and subtly sweet and was a festive layering of avocado goat cheese mousse, tomatoes, herbs (I’m guessing sourced from an onsite garden), herb Panko, brisket crunch, green goddess — all on toasted sourdough. The star of our meal was undoubtedly the crab cake Benedict. That dish, which incorporated roasted Roma tomatoes and creole hollandaise sauce, would be well worth the 45-minute journey over to Fort Worth from Dallas one Sunday morning.
If we only had more time at the Stockyards that weekend we could’ve enjoyed the daily cattle drive on Exchange Avenue or visited the newly opened John Wayne Museum. Plus, all the festive restaurants and watering holes that are all around the corner from Hotel Drover. Alas, next time I’ll make sure the staycation at this urban ranch oasis is for a whole weekend.