Thursday, March 22, 2012

Architectural Field Trip

I finally went to visit Dallas' new Omni convention-hotel.

There had been a lot of controversy about this hotel: mostly about the city's share in financing, but also about its rather bland exterior.  It is, as hotels go nowadays, fairly staid and simple in its exterior look and there are a couple what-the? accidental looking lawns that could use further development into parks, but I was pleasantly surprised in walking up to the hotel by how gracious and welcoming its restaurant patios looked.

Omni Hotel Dallas patio - image from Omni Hotels 

Inside, the building was a rather clever mix of a basically simple timeless-Modern style architectural framework and trendier, more playful furnishings and lighting.  There was some downright silly furniture (Mies lounge in copper lame' ha!) that amused me.  I especially liked the odd metal mesh with crystals art pieces that hung above several seating areas suggesting chandeliers.  One of the cleverest uses of an under-the-stair space I've seen.  Beautiful photographs of Dallas.  Nice detailing - especially in wood - in the restaurant with the patio.  And a sports bar where, for once, giant TV screens seemed integral to the room... sorta the Times Square of bars.

And, speaking of Times Square, the hotel has terrifically cool night lighting - adding excitement to Dallas' skyline.

The Omni is on the far right, image from Omni Hotels

All in all, I'm now a fan of the hotel.  No question that it adds huge convenience for convention goers who stay here, but it also adds a LOT of new and much improved meeting space too.  This has to help Dallas.

I also wandered over to see the new work being done at the convention center itself.  Kinda fun.  The new meeting spaces have some real character.  There's a ballroom with a handsome series of photo-collage murals (though way too busy-patterned a rug and wall fabric) and a funny-cool glass meeting room that hangs pod-like over one of the big concourses.  All welcome improvements and additions.

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