Escape to Hotel Drover

By Lindsay Johnson

Nestled within the heart of Fort Worth’s iconic Stockyards district lies a gem that seamlessly blends the rugged spirit of the Wild West with modern luxury. Hotel Drover, named after the fearless drovers who once traversed the iconic Chisholm Trail, is a boutique hotel complete with the charm of yesteryear and a touch of indulgence, offering guests an incredibly unforgettable experience. The best part? It’s just an hour’s drive from Frisco.

Seeking a quick respite from the busyness of life, a “staycation,” if you will, I found myself drawn to this acclaimed Autograph Collection® hotel by Marriott, eager to immerse myself in its renowned Texan hospitality and discover the allure of a short getaway close to home.

After a quick drive over to Ft. Worth, the spirit of the Stockyards and Ft. Worth’s historic past made itself more and more evident the closer we got to the hotel as the scene transformed into a scene reminiscent of a Western tale. Railroad lines crisscrossed the road, evoking a bygone era of frontier exploration, and brick-paved streets lined with quaint boutiques, inviting eateries, and spirited bars exuded a cozy ambiance enhanced by the soft glow of strung lights overhead.

The hotel itself was built to fit into the historic landscape and buildings within the district while still being fresh, interesting, and appealing.

As we drew nearer, it was evident that Hotel Drover is more than just a place to rest one’s head—it’s an immersive experience. In stepping into the lobby of Hotel Drover, guests are immediately transported into its luxurious yet unpretentious and inviting atmosphere, where a thoughtfully designed Western-chic aesthetic adorns the space, complemented by dark wood furnishings and sumptuous leather seating that creates an ambiance that is both cozy and welcoming.

It’s evident to visitors and guests alike the intentionality of the design throughout the hotel as each and every choice elicits an incredible combination of contemporary western elegance and timeless sophistication. Hotel Drover’s many public spaces and guest rooms showcase global and local artists and custom furnishings from Texas artisans, including custom-made antler and blackened steel chandeliers.

Despite its prestigious 4-star rating, Hotel Drover exudes a laid-back atmosphere, inviting guests to unwind and embrace the spirit of Texas history. (And yall…the fragrance in the lobby. Oh my gosh the fragrance. The Drover has its own official scent of Hotel Drover called “Fire Starter.” They have candles of the scent for purchase. You’re welcome.)

One of my favorite aspects of the hotel is its extensive collection of Western art, as the property has over 200 unique pieces, from vintage cowgirl pin-up paintings to locally sourced photography and cowboy-themed illustrations. No stone is left unturned in the aesthetic aspect, as every corner of the hotel is a nod to frontier life and adventure.

The design and layout of the property are as well-thought-out as the design aspects are and offer a little something for everyone, including shops, bars, a restaurant, and an extensive outdoor retreat.

With ample space to stay and play, The Backyard at Hotel Drover is a rustic-luxe oasis featuring a breathtaking ranch-style heated pool and hot tub, three private cabanas outfitted with hanging daybeds and lavish custom crystal chandeliers, fire pits, food and beverage service, creekside bar service, and outdoor games. The Backyard serves as the ultimate outdoor escape or spot for social gatherings.

For those eager to indulge in a spot of retail therapy, Hotel Drover is home to the first and only Lucchese Custom Collection boutique. Lucchese, the gold standard in handcrafted boots since 1883, has two stores in the Stockyards, one on Mule Alley and one in the lobby of Hotel Drover. Another on-site shopping option for guests and visitors is Wide Brim by Flea Style, a boutique filled with local and unique goods featuring customized hats.

During our stay at Hotel Drover, my husband and I had the pleasure of residing in a King Executive Suite, and the attention to detail and quality of amenities were second to none, complete with an opulent yet inviting atmosphere. From plush terrycloth bathrobes to the impeccably designed interior featuring a blend of textures and colors, every aspect of the room radiated comfort and sophistication.

Every detail, from the meticulously curated artwork adorning the walls to the intricate wallpaper patterns, spoke of a design ethos that seamlessly merged rustic charm with contemporary elegance. The bathroom was a true sanctuary of indulgence, boasting bold floor tiles, granite countertops adorned with golden veins, and gleaming hardware that exuded an air of understated luxury.

The highlight of our accommodation was undoubtedly the breathtaking view overlooking the pool and veranda area, offering a front-row seat to spectacular sunsets. The panoramic vistas provided a serene retreat amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.

Though the Stockyards and Mule Alley have a number of culinary options close by, guests need not venture far for a taste of Texas cuisine, as Hotel Drover boasts the acclaimed 97 West Kitchen & Bar. Named after Fort Worth’s position on the 97th West meridian, the hotel’s signature restaurant pays homage to the city’s role as a beacon of freedom and opportunity in the Wild West. 97 West gives an adventurous spirit to American classics alongside innovative dishes inspired by local flavors.

We dined at 97 West the evening of our stay, and the menu showcased the region’s finest flavors at the suggestion of our wonderfully attentive and helpful server, Riley. We opted for the ever-popular and refreshing Smokin’ Marg, tried the decadent shishito pepper crab dip as an appetizer, again at Riley’s suggestion, and had pecan-smoked salmon and Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with mac and cheese for our entrees. Each dish was very much a testament to the culinary artistry that defines Texas cuisine.

Throughout our stay, the exemplary service and attentiveness of the staff only served to enhance our experience further, and every encounter left a lasting impression. It was evident that the spirit of the drovers’ respectability and hard-working nature lived on in the dedication of the hotel’s team, serving as a testament to their commitment to genuine hospitality.

The Ft. Worth Stockyards boasts a number of frequent events, twice-daily cattle drives, The Bull Riding Hall of Fame, the infamous Billy Bob’s Texas, and a number of unique places to dine, shop and play. Visitors of Hotel Drover will never be without something to do or somewhere to go, if they even decide to leave the luxurious confines of their Western-chic room or the gorgeous Veranda Bar.

Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family adventure, or simply a change of scenery close to home, this charming boutique hotel offers a staycation experience unlike any other. Just an hour’s drive from Frisco, this hidden gem transports guests to a forgone era of frontier hospitality, where the spirit of the West meets modern comfort. Hotel Drover invites you to discover the magic of Texas hospitality and the spirit of the Wild West.

Lindsay Johnson is the Manager of Client Services for Frisco STYLE Magazine and enjoys curling up with a good book, antiquing, and spending time with her husband and their Yorkipoo, Chloe.

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