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TravelBowie House hotel review: Footloose and fancy-free in Fort Worth

Bowie House hotel review: Footloose and fancy-free in Fort Worth


Somewhat sleepy compared to its glitzier sister city of Dallas, Fort Worth nonetheless punches above its weight in terms of arts and culture thanks to a cluster of world-class galleries, not to mention the rough-and-tumble fun to be had in its historic Stockyards District and a growing collection of destination restaurants.

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Thanks to the arrival of Auberge Resorts Collection’s Bowie House in 2023, it is also now home to an art-filled hotel that feels equal parts haute and home on the range.

Here’s what it’s like staying at Bowie House in Fort Worth and how to make the most of your next visit to Cowtown.

Getting there

Bowie House is smack-dab in the heart of Fort Worth’s burgeoning Cultural District. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), from which a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft will cost around $45.

The hotel is also about 45 minutes from downtown Dallas. If you’re driving, the hotel charges $45 for overnight parking.

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Booking details

Bowie House has just 106 accommodations total — 88 rooms (called studios), 12 lofts and six suites. Studios start at 445 square feet while lofts and suites start at 700 square feet and range up to 1,900 square feet for the largest pad in the place, the sprawling Goodnight Suite.

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Accommodations on the street side of the hotel have large windows overlooking Camp Bowie Boulevard, while those on the other side have either balconies or small patios overlooking the pool deck.

Rates start at $387 per night for standard Bowie King rooms. The Balcony King Studio I stayed in, which was actually on the same level as the pool, starts at $594 per night.

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You can snag deals by booking directly on the Auberge Resorts Collection website, including recent packages that have included $150 on-property credits or a 30% discount for booking early.

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Bowie House is also part of American Express’ Fine Hotels + Resorts, so if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you can make a booking through amextravel.com and receive perks like availability-based upgrades, up to a $100 credit to use on-property during your stay for things like drinks or meals, complimentary daily breakfast for two, and guaranteed late checkout.

Standout features

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  • Comfortable rooms decorated with cowboy-inspired aesthetics.
  • One of the best bars in town attracts a well-booted crowd with its custom cocktails.
  • The spa proffers state-of-the-art treatments and partnerships with well-known wellness brands.
  • Art aficionados will appreciate the proximity to Fort Worth’s outstanding galleries.
  • The second-floor pool and bar provide an oasislike getaway during good weather.

Drawbacks

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  • Auberge devotees familiar with the brand’s lavish resorts in locales like Napa Valley, California, and Los Cabos, Mexico, might need a moment to adjust to this city-focused outpost, which is right next to a CVS.
  • While well-meaning and always friendly, service was not always prompt or thorough.
  • Those looking for nightlife might want to stay in Dallas rather than Fort Worth.

The vibe

Bowie House is unlike anything Fort Worth has seen before; it’s equal parts down-home hacienda and contemporary art gallery thanks to works from owner Jo Ellard’s idiosyncratic collection sprinkled throughout the public spaces.

But that’s what makes the hotel unique; it’s a place where everyone, from business travelers in town for their latest deal to cowboy-booted ranchers coming to see the latest prize animals at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, feels equally at ease — especially once evening hits and folks start hitting the game tables (backgammon, checkers, billiards and even roulette) in the teal-tinged Billet Room.

And if you’re curious about the various eye-catching photographs, paintings, sculptures and knick-knacks on display —including monumental works by underground street artist Hijack, colorful prints by Thandiwe Muriu and mind-bending street scenes by Max Zorn — make time for one of art director Emily Gregoire’s complimentary property tours, which are offered three times per week.

The room

My Balcony King room was really more of a patio king, thanks to its location on the second floor, adjoining the pool deck. But that didn’t detract from the contemporary Western decor. Stepping inside, I wished I’d packed my nattiest 10-gallon hat and leather boots (and considered buying a vintage pair from the Chieffalo Americana pop-up boutique in the lobby) just so I could use the hat rack-boot jack combo next to the door.

Hardwood floors, natural-fiber rugs and a bandana-patterned throw pillow on the white-sheeted bed backed by a pressed-leather headboard completed the look.

There was also an oversized window-side chaise for languid lounging and a stone-topped two-seat table under a framed flat-screen TV that doubled as a workstation and dining area.

The minibar contained creature comforts like a Nespresso machine for DIY cafe au lait and gourmet treats like Eatable tequila-caramel and lemon-salt popcorn and Chuza spicy dried mango.

The bathroom, tucked behind (appropriately enough) a barn door, contained a deep-veined marble sink with brass fixtures. Just beyond, an iridescent, green-tiled shower beckoned with herb-infused Wild Mare products.

Outside the enormous French doors, I had a semiprivate patio with a seating area to myself, though I mostly stayed inside and kept the sheer curtains drawn for privacy from passersby on their way to the pool or Whinny’s tree-shaded terrace.

Food and drink

Although you might be hankering for Fort Worth’s famous barbecue washed down with an ice-cold beer (and you should absolutely patronize some of the famous barbecue joints nearby), it’s worth spending a full day taking in the dining options at Bowie House to get the scope of its innovative culinary programming.

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Blending classic chophouse cuisine with a more delicate gastronomic streak, Bricks and Horses is the main restaurant at Bowie House, with menus highlighting Texas ranches, seafood and produce (the saddle-shaped napkin rings are also crowd-pleasers).

Breakfast might include avocado-pesto toast with sunflower seeds and confit tomatoes ($14) and a prickly pear-beet-lime juice combo ($11) to provide a healthy counterbalance to heartier delights like juicy wagyu sausage ($8) and fluffy country biscuits with cultured butter, local honey and blackberry jam (complimentary).

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Midday, bite into a crisp salad and sip an even crisper rose wine at the poolside bar, Whinny’s, before a sunning session in one of the cabanas.

Then freshen up and head back down to the lobby for a whiskey-forward aperitif like the Old-Fashioned with Ghostwood bourbon, Dr. Pepper syrup and sassafras bitters ($18) at The Bar at Bowie House.

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The salvaged, 150-year-old carved wooden bar, complete with decorative mounted steer horns by artist Caroline Vaughn Jarosz, lends the space a distinctly saloonlike feel. If you’re lucky, you might snag one of the seats by the fireplace or in the book-filled Mulberry Room.

It’s back to Bricks and Horses for dinner, where you can tuck into Gulf Coast crabcake Louie ($28) or a playfully presented roll of Ritz crackers with pimento cheese and smoked salmon ($14) before slicing into a signature steak from one of six local ranches, like a 6-ounce filet mignon ($56) seared in the Mibrasa charcoal oven and accompanied with your choice of sauces and a side like the creamy cauliflower casserole ($10).

Leave room for dessert, though, since you’ll certainly be tempted by the roving pie cart tendering sweet showstoppers like a chocolate-pecan mud pie topped to order tableside with Chantilly cream, whiskey-caramel sauce and glazed pepitas ($17), among other options.

Amenities and service

At a hotel like Bowie House, you come for the scene as much as the accommodations, and helping set that scene is the serene second-floor pool. One side is lined by cushioned, umbrella-shaded loungers as well as a few curtained cabanas available for hire. There’s also a small Jacuzzi on the eastern side, close to the gym.

Speaking of which, the fitness center is surprisingly expansive with a full range of Technogym cardio and weight machines, free weights, stretching apparatuses and even a Pilates reformer.

Just next door, the Ash Spa is a tranquil retreat proffering unique treatments with products from beauty lines like Codage and 3rd Ritual. The rejuvenating Qi Beauty Facial, for instance, utilizes magnets plated with 24-karat gold (50 minutes; $195).

Before and after treatments, guests can enjoy an herbal infusion in the coed lounge, or retreat to men’s and women’s locker rooms for an infrared sauna session or a salubrious steam.

The hotel also hosts a full calendar of social events ranging from live performances by local musicians to lively mahjong tourneys and line-dancing tutorials. Guests receive the calendar of happenings upon check-in.

Out and about

Although you could spend your stay admiring the hotel’s artworks, Bowie House is also the ideal base for exploring Fort Worth’s tremendous cultural scene. It’s a five-minute walk to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, whose collection spans two centuries. Stroll a few minutes farther northwest, and you’ll happen upon two of the country’s premier museums.

The Kimbell Art Museum, with its dual galleries — one with a design based on classical Roman principles by Louis I. Kahn and the other a colonnaded masterpiece by Renzo Piano — contains over 350 masterpieces by artists including Isamu Noguchi and Henri Matisse.

Next door, the austere Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has an incredible permanent collection of works by artists like Andy Warhol, but also puts on spectacular exhibitions with pieces that span the globe.

Hotel guests can also mosey to the nearby Will Rogers Memorial Center for various sporting events and theatrical performances, take in the exhibits of the nearby Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, or venture (slightly) farther afield to admire the plants at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

The Fort Worth Stockyards, where you can take in the twice-daily cattle drive before saloon-hopping and tapas-traipsing, is just a 10-minute drive or ride away.

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Accessibility

Bowie House has a wheelchair-accessible driveway and entrance as well as valet parking. Elevator buttons are within reach of those in mobility devices and there are accessible public bathrooms on the ground floor. There is also a chairlift into the pool and a grab bar for aid in entering the Jacuzzi.

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The hotel offers a variety of accommodations for travelers with different needs. These include wheelchair- and hearing-accessible studios with maneuverable spacing, roll-in showers and toilet grab bars as well as visual alarms and TTY phones. As with any hotel, call directly to make a reservation to ensure your room has the features you require.

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Checking out

Shrugging off the high-gloss energy of nearby Dallas in favor of a more homespun vibe, Fort Worth is still one of the country’s most intriguing cultural destinations thanks to its concentration of art galleries and performance spaces as well as culinary offerings ranging from finger-licking barbecue to upscale international cuisine.

Although there were already a few high-end hotels in town, the arrival of Bowie House, complete with a full program of arts- and music-driven events, signals a new era for Cowtown, and visitors might want to stop by for a few days to discover just what they’ve been missing.

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