Wearing a cowboy hat or pair of cowboy boots may look (and feel) out of place in Austin or downtown Dallas, but you’ll blend right in at Hotel Drover, Autograph Collection in Fort Worth, Texas.
Opened in March 2021, the property serves as the anchor of the recently developed Mule Alley, a collection of restored 100-year-old horse and mule barns within the Stockyards National Historic District. A destination in and of itself, Mule Alley is home to a curated selection of stores, bars, and restaurants that line the pedestrian-friendly promenade — all leading to Hotel Drover’s front doors.
To fully understand the hotel and its larger narrative, you’ll need to connect the name to the area’s history. Drovers brought cattle up through Fort Worth and on to market between the years of 1866 and 1890, a practice also honored by the twice-daily long-horn cattle drives in the Stockyards. This Western theme is central to the overall look of the hotel, but nothing about it comes off as overly contrived. There’s a deep sense of place and genuine love of the larger neighborhood that produces an almost unexpected authenticity to the 200-room property.
A Neon Cowboy Sign designed by artist Evan Voyles signals your arrival to the hotel. Upon entering the building, you’re greeted by a life-size hybrid metal “Drover” sculpture by John Lopez. As you make your way through the lobby, stopping to admire the two-story library in the central hub of the hotel, you’ll feel as if you’re on a scavenger hunt of sorts. All of the art and accompanying decor found throughout Hotel Drover aren’t all as grand in scale as the two aforementioned pieces, but they create an experience rife with surprise-and-delight moments.
Led by Kayla Wilkie and Craig Cavileer of Majestic Realty Co, the interior design of the hotel is grounded yet inventive. Antlers are a frequent touch, as are additional cowboy imagery and Western vignettes. Materials like copper, steel, reclaimed wood, and native Texas stone are complemented by a variety of luxe fabrics and textiles (i.e. lots of leather), resulting in a hospitable and decidedly Texan atmosphere.
This same distinct style is carried over into the guestrooms, but no two rooms — from the playful King with Top Bunk to the Presidential Suite — are exactly alike. In total, there are 26 suites outfitted with fireplaces, soaking tubs, and terraces overlooking the Stockyards, the Backyard (which is where you’ll find the outdoor pool), and Marine Creek. No matter which room level you book, though, you’ll get the same Los Poblanos bath products, quality linens, and a rustic-but-luxurious ambiance.
While you could comfortably spend an afternoon lounging in your room, there’s much much to do and see within the hotel itself. For starters, there’s 97 West Kitchen & Bar, the hotel’s signature restaurant. The menu is Texas-inspired but slightly elevated; that same imaginative flair featured in the interior design of the hotel is mirrored in the eatery’s offerings. Other culinary options include the Veranda Bar, where guests can sip on al fresco cocktails, and the Lobby Bar, which has morning coffee and an all-day menu of small bites and drinks.
There’s a shopping element to Hotel Drover as well. Two “one-of-a-kind” boutiques, Lucchese Custom Collection and Wide Brim, are located directly off the lobby. The former is one of two Lucchese stores in Mule Alley, but this one is extra special. When getting a customized pair of boots, customers are treated to an expert fitting (a process the brand has kept the same since its inception) and walk-through of their design options, including choosing the height, style, material, colors, and embroidery. Like the rest of Hotel Drover, the Lucchese Custom Collection offers guests an “only here” type of experience, one that leaves you with a greater appreciation of Texan culture and a desire to stay just a little bit longer.
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
The Vibe: Western-inspired yet expertly curated, Hotel Drover feels right at home within the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel? The touches of Texan culture and personality found throughout the hotel — from the lobby’s collection of coffee table books to the “Give Em Hell” sign hanging over the treadmills in the fitness room and the cast-iron serving platters that accompany many of the restaurant’s dishes.
Food + Drink: 97 West Kitchen & Bar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as weekend brunch. Lobby Bar’s Texas-sized fireplace and variety of comfortable seating options encourage guests to put their boots up and sip on a cocktail or two during happy hour.
Any Neighborhood Recs? The Biscuit Bar for an indulgent breakfast, “John Wayne: An American Experience Exhibit” for a dose of Hollywood history, and the Lucchese storefront in Mule Alley for ready-made boots. For dinner plans outside the hotel, try Provender Hall, Paloma Suerte, or Fort Worth staple Joe T. Garcia’s. Pre or post-dinner libations can be found at Second Rodeo Brewing, Side Saddle Saloon, and the White Elephant Saloon.
Amenities: Peloton bikes inside the 24-hour fitness room, outdoor pool with cabanas and lounge chairs, Wi-Fi (free if you sign in to your Marriott account), room service, fireplaces and large soaking tubs within select rooms
What’s Nearby? If you’re visiting the Stockyards National Historic District for the first time, you could easily make it to all the high points — including the year-round rodeo and the world’s largest Honky Tonk — by foot.
Rooms: There are 200 total guestrooms including four suite styles. The one-bedroom Presidential Suite is the top-tier pick, complete with an indoor-outdoor fireplace, soaking tub, and two terraces overlooking Mule Alley and the downtown Fort Worth Skyline.
Pricing: Rates start at $391 – $2,399 a night.
Closest Airport: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field are both less than a 30-minute drive from the hotel.
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