Went to the newly renovated Stoneleigh Hotel last night for a “first glimpse” party. D Home‘s Candy Evans was there too, and she gives her report over here. The party was benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art League, and we were told to dress in “glamorous attire” (murmur). People really took this seriously–we spotted more fur, feathers and up-dos than we had since the last Crystal Charity luncheon we were invited to. A few men were actually in tuxes. We were in jeans. Anyway. Bottom line here: It’s definitely not as finished as we were expecting.
It’s true the Stoneleigh desperately needed a facelift–my mother and I stayed there for a week two and a half years ago when I moved back to town, and it was kind of like a time warp. The rooms especially needed an update. You could hear everything, and I mean everything, through the walls, which is awesome when your neighbor comes in at 3am and proceeds to get very, um, noisy with his friend/girlfriend/wife. However, we didn’t get to see any rooms last night. They said March for the hotel’s reopening (though David Bull’s restaurant, Bolla, should be open in February, he said). So, a few notes:
They’ve moved the main entrance to the side of the building off Maple (instead of the back) but last night, the driveway didn’t seem finished. One part of it was raised way above the other, meaning I had to really gun it to get my car up to where the valet stood, causing a bottom-out situation. Surely that will be fixed soon.
We were allowed upstairs to see the ballroom, which was luxe and Draper-esque. Bonus: They were also serving delicious bites of chocolate terrine up there.
The spa, however, is in the basement. It left us feeling a bit clausterphobic. The spa director was very nice and pedigreed (she came from NY and worked for the St. Regis, among other high-end hotel spas), so we might be able to get around the lack of windows and light in exchange for fabulous services. They are going to carry Sonya Drakar’s skin care products, as well as products from Carlos Mondavi, of the Mondavi wine family.
We met chef David Bull for a second, and we tried spoon fulls of risotto and beef short rib. Both were delicious and the restaurant should be great, considering his lineage at the Driskill Hotel in Austin and at the Mansion on Turtle Creek. I also have high hopes for the bar, which wasn’t ready to go last night, and actually felt a little bit South Beach to us as opposed to old-school hotel bar-ish. I favor old-school bars like the Library Bar at the Melrose, but I’m guessing the Stoneleigh folks are trying to get away from that.
Sounds like Candy really liked it though, and she knows a lot more than me. Maybe someone else was there who can weigh in.