It’s impossible not to feel at home at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, a pink-stuccoed masterpiece nestled in Dallas’s leafy Highland Park. It’s like you’re visiting a distant cousin’s residence—albeit a wealthy one’s—rather than Rosewood Hotels’ flagship. It was the city’s first five-star property, it opened in 1981, and whenever my cooking or speaking business takes me to Dallas, I wouldn’t think of staying anywhere else.
Hotelier Caroline Rose Hunt trans- formed a cotton baron’s dilapidated 1925 house into a “restaurant with rooms,” a club-like cocoon of privileged elegance mandated to feel residential, not institutional. The restaurant inhabits the mansion itself, and several additional buildings were built to house the hotel. “I cannot speak of the Mansion without bias,” says Atef Mankarios, the founding Mansion managing director and former Rosewood CEO. “We focused on little details that became hallmarks of the luxury hotel industry today.”
Not such small things: the consistent use of a guest’s name by all staff, a religiously used guest history with room and service preferences, a zero-defect housekeeping policy, cuisine made from local produce, and the presence of senior staff at all times. “There was no management by remote control,” Mankarios says.
The lobby is chic and cozy— richly appointed with hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper and plush sofas by a fire, even if it’s rarely needed in Dallas. The lavish deluxe rooms and suites are oversize, and there’s no shortage of perfectly placed mirrors, hooks, and plugs and everything conceivable for makeup and shaving. As you bathe and dress, there’s a sense of occasion, a guilty pleasure for a guest’s vanity. It’s all so well choreographed that you just know the team who conceived it fully inhabited that lifestyle, not merely observed it. Rooms, from $330; 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas; 214-559-2100; rosewoodhotels.com.