by Maya Dollarhide | April 03, 2017
It's no wonder that Dallas has so much to offer, with its progressive mix of cowboy culture, Southern charm, and chic modernity. According to recent Census figures, Dallas is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation. "Dallas has low labor costs, is centrally located, and easy to get to from either coast with two beautiful airports, and our room rates are competitive. We have a good business story to show and tell," VisitDallas President and CEO Phillip J. Jones recently stated.

The "Big D" has a lot to offer meeting planners, from 26 diverse neighborhoods with over 77,000 boutique, budget, and luxury hotel rooms, to more than 12,000 restaurants with everything from upscale Thai, to Texas BBQ, to other eclectic choices.

The greater Dallas•Fort Worth area is just a three-hour flight from either coast, and visitors should consider using DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit). The longest light-rail in the country, it stops at 64 stations, including the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.  

The temperate Texas weather can be enjoyed at the Hilton Anatole Hotel's new $15 million pool complex, JadeWaters. Featuring a lazy river, splash zone with two 180-foot slides, swim-up bar, multiple swimming pools, and luxury cabanas, the 1,606-room hotel will open the complex on May 29. Like shopping? The Westin Dallas Galleria (located in the Galleria retail area) recently revamped its 448 rooms and 54,000 square feet of meeting space. The newly opened, dual-branded Aloft and Element Dallas Love Field hotels offer a combined 224 rooms and 6,500 square feet of shared meeting space, a fitness center, and an outdoor swimming pool. The eco-friendly property is tech savvy, too. Guests will have access to a Relay robot from Savioke, which can assist guests with small deliveries, like small hand towels and toiletries.

Next year, the Dallas Design District, home to hip boutique shops, artisanal cocktail bars, and gourmet burger joints, will welcome a 200-room Virgin Hotel, along with Dallas' first Dream Hotel, a boutique property located in the trendy Uptown neighborhood. The iconic Statler, which opened its doors in 1956, and quickly became an American icon, will soon rise again. Thanks to a $175 million redevelopment, the property, complete with 161 renovated hotel rooms and a live-music venue space, is scheduled to open later this year.

Groups can book unique event venues like the Community Beer Company, the City View Terrace at the Renaissance Hotel, or enjoy the natural beauty of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which will soon have a garden-to-table dining experience to offer its guests or for groups to rent out.

Nearby Fort Worth and Irving, TX, are enjoying new development as well. The Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas will gain a 350-room Westin (with 16,000 square feet of meeting space) in the winter of 2018. Recently updated, the Worthington Renaissance has 504 renovated rooms and almost 60,000 square feet of event space in downtown Fort Worth. Along with the Fort Worth Convention Center, unique venues abound in Fort Worth. Check out the Mopac Event Center (up to 300 guests) where the d•cor reflects a modern Texas spirit of industrial arts meets rustic cowboy. Or visit the 5,000-square-foot brick warehouse taproom at the Wild Acre Brewing pub.

Irving's Four Seasons Resort and Club Las Colinas is a popular choice for large groups, with over 39,000 square feet of meeting space, plus 431 guest rooms and suites. A luxury resort with all the trimmings of an exclusive country club, guests can unwind at its award-winning 18-hole golf course. The Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., a whiskey distillery set in a reclaimed prohibition-era warehouse complete with 53-gallon bourbon barrels and copper pots, is a fun destination. Sample blended whiskeys and bourbon made on site and rent out one of the four function spaces available for special events, like the 13-foot-by-14-foot bank vault that is utilized as a special meeting room.

Fort Worth is most certainly "worth" exploration -- especially for foodies. Sample Mexican-style street tacos at Salsa Limon or farm-to-table fare at Clay Pigeon. And don't forget to explore Magnolia Avenue: The city's newest neighborhood development for foodies, craft brewery aficionados and music lovers is a mile-long smorgasbord of innovative restaurants. Try Heim BBQ for dinner and Funkytown Donuts for dessert.   



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This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.