Just west of Midland, Odessa is a growing city in the oil fields, and home to the Permian High School Panthers, subject of the book and subsequent movie, Friday Night Lights
. Groups coming to town will have a new home base come July in the 217-room Odessa Marriott Hotel & Conference Center,
whose meeting space will total 33,374 square feet, including an 18,636-square-foot ballroom. Guests will enjoy a club-level lounge, a Southwestern-themed steak house, a resort-style pool and a full-service Starbucks.
So much is new and improved in Texas for meetings and events that it's almost hard to keep up.
Upgrades at area airports alone are numerous:
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport just reopened its busiest runway following a $133 million enhancement project. The facility, where flights arrive from 182 domestic and 62 international nonstop destinations, also is expanding. Last December, its board approved $4.8 million for construction services, beginning the process of adding four gates to Terminal D.
At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
, a new nine-gate expansion came online this past Feb. 21, increasing the size of the airport by nearly 175,000 square feet in phase I of work that is ongoing at the facility. Construction continues on phase II, which will add four more gates and nearby concession locations.
A slew of new eateries have debuted at the Austin airport. Among them are Haymaker
, an offshoot of a top local watering hole serving sandwiches in a sports-bar atmosphere. The menu at Hut's Hamburgers
, also an offshoot of a city favorite, features the dishes you'd expect, and Mad Greens'
specialty is made-from-scratch salads.
New and Updated Event Spaces in Texas
The 309-room Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa reopens in May following a more than $150 million renovation and expansion by 184 rooms. The property now will have:
- 493 guest rooms
- Expanded poolscape
- New spa
- New golf clubhouse serving its four top-notch courses
The high-end lifestyle hotel brand Proper will open the 244-room Austin Proper Hotel & Residences in June, the brand's first property outside of California. Part of a 32-story modern high-rise at the edge of Lady Bird Lake, the hotel will feature:
- Three restaurants
- Two bars
- An outdoor lounge
- Two elevated swimming pools
- A full-service spa and wellness facility
- Nearly 10,000 square feet of meeting space
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts' largest property, the 1,048-room Fairmont Austin, opened last year. Five restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool, a full-service spa and a fitness center make up the basic amenities, alongside nearly 140,000 square feet of meeting space. Guests access the Austin Convention Center via the Red River Canopy Walk.
The 222-room Sheraton Austin Georgetown Hotel & Conference Center, about 30 miles north of the Texas capital, has achieved LEED Silver certification for new construction, the first Sheraton to earn silver in the continental United States.
The property features 26,672 square feet of venue space, as well as two dining outlets: Brix and Ale, and Jack's Lounge. Also on-site are a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor pool and a biking/jogging trail.
Event Space in Dallas
A multimillion-dollar renovation has finished at Marriott's 1,840-room Sheraton Dallas Hotel. All 230,000 square feet of meeting space and public spaces, as well as 1,300 of the hotel rooms, were redone. The lobby, restaurants and bar also got new looks. Dining options now include Open Palette, a three-meal restaurant, and a marketplace has been added. The Draft Media Sports Lounge has a new look and revamped menus.
The 150-room Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown opened last July. In Dallas' Uptown district in the middle of more than 100 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, the hotel has 3,500 square feet of event space with views of the Dallas skyline.
Marriott's dual-branded 140-room AC Hotel and 116-room Residence Inn Dallas by the Galleria has opened as part of Dallas Midtown, a 400-acre, $3.5 billion mixed-use development in North Dallas. The properties share a:
- Fitness center
- Outdoor pool
- More than 17,000 square feet of venue space
Just north of the city, the 300-room Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center has been unveiled in Allen, Marriott's first new-build Delta Hotel in North America. The main areas of the 91,000 square feet of meeting space are the 12,000-square-foot Starlight Ballroom and the 40,000-square-foot Terrell Hall.
Stampede 66, a steak house by celebrity chef Stephan Pyles, is one of two dining spots at the hotel; the more casual Canyon Bar features Tex-Mex fare. Provisions 66, the property's food market, offers grab-and-go fare.
A two-year restoration and renovation project has been completed at the 407-room Adolphus Hotel, the tallest building in Dallas when it opened in 1912. The 19th-floor ballroom, which has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city, was revamped, and sitting areas for networking were added throughout.
Also new is a contemporary restaurant, the City Hall Bistro. The French Room, the hotel's classic fine-dining spot, and its Bar and Salon have been refreshed. The property now features the Spa Adolphus, a 5,000-square-foot facility. A rooftop pool with a full bar can be reserved by small groups for private events.
In Fort Worth, visitors get a taste of the Old West with a twice-daily cattle drive.
New Meeting Locations in Fort Worth
Debuting in June is the Sinclair, an Autograph Collection hotel from Marriott. The 164-room property will feature the Wicked Butcher restaurant, promising a new approach to sharing dishes. The hotel will have one small meeting room.
The reinvention of the city's historic Stockyards district continues. Another Autograph Collection hotel is planned for the area, to open in spring 2020 with 200 rooms, 15,000 square feet of meeting space and an event barn.
The 252-room AC Hotel Fort Worth is being built downtown and is expected to open in the fall of 2020.
Each year, Texas Monthly magazine lists the 10 best new restaurants in the state. The 2019 version touts the Mexican fare of Suerte and the modern Italian at Intero in Austin. From Dallas come Macellaio for Mediterranean cuisine; the casual Petra and the Beast, where foraging and fermenting reign; and the modern Mexican menu of Tulum.
Read more about what event space and activities are available for groups in Texas and other destinations at Northstar Meetings Group's Destination Guides.