If you’re looking for a place to hang your 10-gallon hat after a drive-thru the 2020 Texas State Fair (to take a commemorative photo with Big Tex), look no further than Deep Ellum’s Kimpton Pittman Hotel.
The surrounding area is filled with old Dallas charm and the Kimpton Pittman is an inspiration unto itself. And it’s been that way from the get go, as Dallas’ first Black architect, William Sidney Pittman, originally designed and opened the building 104 years ago.
As you enter the lobby of the recently opened hotel, you sense the rich history of the building. The restaurant occupies much of the first floor space by the original entrance, reinforcing the aim of manager Jack Murray for the Pittman to not only be known as the first hotel in the neighborhood, but also to have an active part in the Deep Ellum community.
At check in, you’ll receive a parking key card to drive around the block to park your vehicle in a secure, double-gated parking garage. From there, the elevator takes you to a lobby that exits directly across the street from the Pittman. The walk isn’t bad even though the drive to find the garage entrance is a bit of a head-scratcher.
You’ll be greeted by a friendly face (or you can opt for digital check-in) and then receive a text message from the manager, encouraging you to text back if you need anything during your stay that will make your visit more pleasant. It’s a nice touch.
It’s a quick elevator ride to your room. The Pittman is a pet-friendly hotel. That’s great news to anyone with pets; bad news to anyone who craves silence. We happened to be near a room with a dog who had a lot to say. You may want to request a room away from guests with animals.
That said, let’s talk about light. If you are among the millions of people who are sensitive to light, the gap that is commonly between the curtains at most hotel rooms can be the single most frustrating thing about traveling. But, at the Pittman, the thick curtains are 100% blackout and completely close together. Once you’ve escaped to sleepytown, you may not wake up until noon–and that’s okay, because checkout isn’t until midday. The rooms are energy efficient and comfortable. This is an older building, so the shower pressure isn’t going to knock you over, but there’s plenty of space and the hot water never quits, so relax and enjoy the slower pace.
DINING & MORE
Elm & Good, the hotel’s restaurant, is a modern American tavern, inspired by no-fuss farmhouse fare. Chef Graham Dodds uses all fresh, local seasonal ingredients as you can taste in the cheese board, with a trio from nearby Texas farms in Granbury, Dublin and Flower Mound. This is what I would call a “normal person’s” cheese board—-that is, none of the cheeses are overly smelly, sour, salty or soft. The cheese is accompanied by crunchy crostini, candied pecans and slow roasted grapes. (You have to try the grapes. Even if you don’t like raisins—not my fave—you should try the grapes.)
For dinner, I chose the roasted beet chopped salad and, being a stereotypical nutritionist, I requested the dressing on the side. A little dressing dipped on the fork before stabbing into crunchy romaine with salty salami, creamy ricotta and tangy pepperoncini was a sensation of textures and flavors in my mouth. I could eat that every single day! My companion opted for the beef bavette with triple-cooked fries. It was well-cooked, savory with mushroom bordelaise, and the fries had great crunch on the outside and soft warm potato on the inside. Most of the time, we think of dessert as saving the best for last, and the goat cheese and beet ice creams delivered.
In the vein of sweetness and sweet deals, you may want to check out Elm and Good’s new live music series, happy hour menu (they have two happy hours daily, Tue-Fri), and half-priced wine night. Also, Kimpton Pittman offers a complimentary social hour from 5-6pm nightly for guests to enjoy in the hotel lobby.
We are keen on extra touches that hotels offer to make the stay unique and memorable. At the Pittman, we learned they offer a record loaning library—-guests can have a record player sent to their room and enjoy a curated selection of Pittman-inspired records, in collaboration with Deep Ellum’s Good Records.
If you have a hankering for a little outdoor recreation, the Pittman offers a loaner vintage cruiser bike. Jump on the nearby Santa Fe Trail, and you’ll be able to pedal for a few miles to historic White Rock Lake. It’s a 9.3 mile loop at White Rock, where you’re surrounded by beautiful views of the downtown skyline and some of the stunning homes in Old East Dallas.
If staying on property for recreation is more your style, the hotel does offer a modest fitness center. Expect dumbbells, one cable crossover with a pull-up bar, and six pieces of electric- powered cardio equipment. The Pittman had one self-propelled cardio piece that will bring a smile to trendy exercisers everywhere: a Peloton bike! I spent two mornings riding to my favorite Peloton instructor, Robin Arzon. One of her signature sayings is, “Sometimes you have to bring your own sunshine.” Sometimes you do, but with Peloton rides available while traveling, the Pittman brought sunshine to me!
During COVID-19, the Pittman’s swimming pool is closed. If you save your trip for 2021, pack your swimsuit for a dip. We’ve been told the pool will be worth the trip by itself.
With 165 guest rooms, standard rooms start at only $195/night. Follow the Pittman on social media and keep a keen eye out on their website for seasonal sweet deals.
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Cover photo courtesy Cris Molina
Filled with wanderlust, Brook Benten Jimenez, M.Ed., is an insatiable adventure junkie. Named “Austin’s Fittest Fitness Professional” 2012, Benten Jimenez served as Fitness Director for Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and Executive Director of Healthy Living for The Village Dallas. She worked from 2015-2019 as a consultant for Lincoln Property Company and Phoenix Property Company on the $350 million Village Main Street hospitality development in Dallas. Benten Jimenez is currently a faculty member for SCW Fitness Education.