#TravelTuesday: Cowtown’s Hotel Drover is Looking Good

by Brook Benten Jimenez on May 11, 2021 in Travel, Dallas/Fort Worth,
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Hotel Drover fits the Fort Worth Stockyards like a belt buckle on a pair of Wranglers.  And just like the cowboy’s painted-on jeans, everything about Hotel Drover looks and feels good!

Part of the handpicked Autograph Collection of independent boutique hotels from Marriott Bonvoy, Hotel Drover proudly sits at the heart of the 130-year-old Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. 

Grab a glass of wine from the Lobby Bar and relax by the Hotel Drover’s Texas-size fireplace. Courtesy photo

Sense of Place

A century ago, mule barns occupied the space of what is now the award-winning Mule Alley. Today, tourists can expect a charming collection of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues — all hitting the mark of both hip and rustic.

None do this better than the anchor of the legendary street, Hotel Drover. The rich history and lure of Texas touch every aspect. The sign at the hotel’s entrance lights up at night like a neon moon. Like the Brooks and Dunn song says, I’d like to spend “most every night beneath the light of a neon moon.” Here’s why.

The sign at the Hotel Drover’s entrance lights up at night like a neon moon. Courtesy photo

Spirit of the West

Hotel Drover is an urban ranch oasis, capturing a hacienda modern rustic-luxe design throughout. Artwork is from several famed studios, but all has a consistent Spirit of the West theme. You’ll find a cattle drover, constructed out of bronze and steel by John Lopez Studio, in the lobby. There’s a cowgirl with a neon lasso in the business center, sourced from Austin’s famed Evan Voyles. You’ll see plenty of John Wayne images — and can see much more at the just-opened John Wayne Museum up the road.  Some of the artwork’s verbiage will have you grinning, like the leather-bound “Give ‘em Hell” sign in the fitness center.  

You’ll find a cattle drover, constructed out of bronze and steel by John Lopez Studio, in the lobby of the Hotel Drover. Courtesy photo

And, while there’s a consistent western luxe design, each space has its own spirit. Lumber used for some of the rafters and floors is repurposed wood sourced from barns. The lobby has leather and cowhide lounge chairs, a library filled with Texas books, and handcrafted antler and steel chandeliers. Private dining chairs in the 97 West Kitchen & Bar have Texas-inspired artwork, carefully curated by Rios Interiors in The Stockyards. 

Private dining chairs in the 97 West Kitchen & Bar have Texas-inspired artwork. Photo courtesy Hotel Driver

Backyard Fun

The sprawling “backyard” is the cornerstone of the hotel. The ranch-style heated pool has three private cabanas (first come, first served) with hanging daybeds swinging from the pergola and crystal chandeliers. Also, guests can enjoy soaking in the hot tub, sitting by one of the mature trees and watching the Marine Creek flow, three fire pits, bar seating, yard games, and a fountain reminiscent of the intro of the television show, Friends. There’s live music on the outdoor stage, The Backyard Unplugged, Thursday through Sunday evenings.

There’s live music on the outdoor stage, The Backyard Unplugged, Thursday through Sunday evenings. Photo courtesy Hotel Drover

No Two Rooms the Same

One stay will never be enough at Hotel Drover, because each of the 200 guest rooms has its own unique hand-crafted design and accents. The types of rooms range from Frontier (untamed spirit of the West, bright and colorful) to Bunkhouse (playful but luxe bunk suite that sleeps 4, with king bed and double overhead bunk) to King Ranch (old favorites and timeless atmosphere inspired by the grand history of the iconic ranch).  Although, as no two rooms are the same,  you can expect different wall coverings and decor in each.

At Hotel Drover, from handcrafted guest rooms and rustic-luxe suites to modern bunkhouse rooms and vintage-inspired retreats, all offer authentic Texas-style, ambience and charming features. Courtesy photo

Hotel Drover has plenty of amenities with the whole family in mind — including Fido. 84 of the guest rooms are connecting rooms. The Lil Ropers kids program offers fun activities for children, including a super-fun scavenger hunt and custom tables and chairs in 97 West Kitchen & Bar, just their size. Happy Tails, the hotel’s pet program, includes a custom dog bed, water and food bowl, and HD-branded bandana and leather leash, plus a goodie bag of treats.

Boutique Hospitality

Fort Worth is positioned on the 97 degrees west meridian, and it became a beacon for adventurous souls seeking freedom and opportunity in the Wild West. That history-meets-geography lesson is where the hotel’s restaurant, 97 West Kitchen and Bar, gets its namesake. 97 West Kitchen and Bar is so much more than just a restaurant in a hotel. It is a destination, in and of itself. Guests travel to Hotel Drover, specifically to dine at Executive Chef Grant Morgan’s creation.

The courtyard of 97 West Kitchen & Bar, Drover Hotel’s featured eatery led by Executive Chef Grant Morgan. Courtesy photo

More to come in our #FoodieFriday feature of scrumptious Texas fare, elevated ranch classics, and reimagined Southern Comfort food that you can enjoy at 97 West.

In-House Lucchese

Hotel Drover is the only place in the world that you will find an exclusive custom-made Lucchese boot shop. There’s another Lucchese storefront a stone’s throw up the road that offers clothing, accessories, and boots, but the destination inside Hotel Drover is your stop for creating a custom boot.  Handcrafting boots since 1883 Lucchese is the gold standard in cowboy boots and have designed handcrafted boots for John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and… maybe you?  A custom Lucchese boot starts at $1,800.

Saying “I Do”

With its Western charm and Texas ambiance (not to mention 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space), brides and grooms in the Lone Star State should move Hotel Drover to the tippy top of their list of wedding venues. There’s The Barn, beaming with rustic charm, 30-foot vaulted ceilings, and the most stunning Italian chandeliers that contrast the beautifully reclaimed barn timber. (Up to 400 guests.)  The smaller Legacy Hall is an elegant space with an adjacent outdoor veranda that overlooks Mule Alley.

The Chef’s Table by The Barn, a 400-guest venue. Photo courtesy Hotel Drover

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious place to hang your hat after a Billy Bob’s concert (and you just may bump into the headliner), a comfortable bed with the most amazing shower or oversized bronze soaking tub, an epic destination for a wedding or corporate event, or just a hacienda to relax with the whole family, Hotel Drover is the place for you.

Hotel Drover: 200 Mule Alley Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76164

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Photo courtesy Hotel Drover

Cover photo courtesy Hotel Drover

Brook Benten Jimenez, M.Ed. is a fitness educator who pivoted to wellness and travel writing with the tide of the pandemic times.  She is active on Instagram with physical activity inspiration for mom and children, alike. Follow her @BrookBenten.