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Mark Alyn

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As a host, reporter and writer Mark has talked about and scribbled about food, wine and travel. ...Read More

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Cowboys and Culture - Fort Worth, Texas
By: Mark Alyn   |    October 11, 2012   |   0 Comments (0) (0)

Cowboys and Culture - Omni Fort Worth

When I think of Dallas-Fort Worth, I think of a single city. The airport is Dallas-Fort Worth, so it makes sense. Iíve been to Dallas a dozen times over the years, but I never got to Fort Worth. In my mind, Dallas-Fort Worth is one place that takes about 10 minutes to get from one end to the other. It turns out my geography is very bad. Texas itself is big and Fort Worth is huge, covering some 300 square miles.††

The two cities are almost an hour away, more with traffic. I decided to split up my stay and move hotels. Iím glad I did, but it took more time to move between the locations than I thought. I even tried the bus/train system. I pretend I live in the city Iím visiting and Iím just like everyone else. I always find this fun.†You meet people, talk and see parts of a city you donít see by cab.

The train was fun. Clean, easy to get to and fast. The one time I didnít need to worry about traffic. Of course, the bottom line is I got lost and grabbed a taxi for the rest of the trip. I always forget about lousy traffic in Southern California. I just live with it. I didnít expect it in Dallas and it smacked up side my head.†I had a meeting and didnít want to be late. It turns out my meeting partner was late due to heavy traffic.††

The Omni Fort Worth is a flagship property. It may very well be the flagship hotel for Omni. Located in downtown Fort Worth, across from the Fort Worth Convention Center, this magnificent building stands tall among other buildings. Artwork for the property is spectacular, featuring Texas art though out. A collection of bullwhips on the second floor intrigued me. I went to look several times.

Fort Worth is a cultural oasis. The cityís slogan says it all: Cowboys and Culture. From modern art, cowboy art, science, technology and more, Fort Worth offers a wide variety of enriching elements to enjoy. Omni Fort Worth Hotel reflects this theme perfectly.

The check in process is a snap. Service personal are friendly, upbeat and available to help. The lobby is spectacular. Open, with a Tex-Mex style and blended with elegance, this is a super place to just hang out. The Texas Living Room is just off the lobby and made for people to just sit and talk. No one bothers you, you can read, write or visit. A form of classic rock plays in the background. Itís comfy.

I lucked out with a spacious corner room. It looked out on downtown Fort Worth. The room is stylish and not gaudy, with very comfortable dťcor. The bed allowed me to sleep, something I donít do well when traveling. The bathroom was equally spacious allowing for my steamy shower, without steaming up the mirror.

A mini bar provided refreshment after a long days work of finding myself lost in Dallas. Believe me, I needed that refreshment.

One night I hung out at the Whiskey and Rye, a pub with pool tables, chatter and music. There is a definite country influence but itís Urban Cowboy not dirty cowboy. I sat at the bar with other business travelers, listening to them talk, order drinks and food or just reflect on their day. Bartender recommended Titoís Texas vodka. Wow, this stuff is great. In a recent world-wide tasting test it beat my favorite (Grey Goose).

Lunch at the Cast Iron was amazing. The menu offers many tasty items all from local providers. I made the mistake of thinking of the place as a coffee shop. You canít judge a book by the cover. The food and service equal fantastic.

The Omni Fort Worth also has private residences available. These are condominiums in the hotel. I actually told my wife we should leave the rat race of Southern California and think about Fort Worth. Itís a pleasant city, with lots to do, great food and nice people.

An Omni Staff Sidebar:

Omni properties are rapidly becoming my favorite hotel experience. The reason is simple. The staff is outstanding. My last night in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I needed another place to stay because I didnít count my night away correctly. Itís my fault for not booking in advance. Directed to the Mandalay in the Las Colinas section of Dallas, my adventure continued.

I really got lost on the train going back to downtown Dallas. Another taxi came to my rescue. The train was fun, the short time the trip lasted. I was confused and ended up in a part of town I didnít recognize. I felt like I was in another city altogether.†I was lost in Texas.

Older than the other area properties, the outstanding staff and service is amazing! Christina, thank you! While all staff at the Omnis are great, this young woman went out of her way to get me to the hotel in one piece and then helped me get on my way to a meeting.†Beyond the call of duty, Christina exceeded my expectations and made my stay enjoyable.

The Mandalay has an old worldliness to it that other Dallas area Omni properties do not. The rooms are comfortable but smaller than the other places (my bathroom was also on the small side). A piano with a live player tickled in the lobby playing cabaret tunes. The bar was friendly with TVs. What I didnít know is the lakeside pool is heated.

An excellent art collection adorns the walls of common areas, another Omni signature.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a growing center for technology, commerce and more. I really enjoyed my stay and look forward to returning. Weather was on the hot and humid side, but I missed the tough months of July and August. Traveling to the Lone Star State again is on my agenda in order to visit more eateries and museums. Staying at an Omni property is something Iím looking forward too.†

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