Wednesday, May 15, 2013 , Updated 11:02 a.m., October 17, 2013
Joule Hotel expansion brings cocktails, fashion, food to downtown Dallas
The hotel's new ESPA opens on October 18.
DALLAS The Joule Hotel in Downtown Dallas has been under renovation for about two years, which is somewhat ironic considering it has only been open since 2008. The pieces of the hotel’s expansion are finally starting to take shape.
Upon entering the lobby, The Joule feels immediately different. The quaint Next Vintage Wine Shop still resides near the main entrance and the hotel’s chic elegance remains, but the bottom floor of the building has been extended the length of the block so that there are now two lobby entrances — the primary on Main Street and a secondary on Commerce Street.
By more than doubling the size of ground-floor space, The Joule made way for new art installations, cozy communal areas, and several new businesses, including an artisan coffee shop called Weekend Coffee, a fine dining restaurant called CBD Provisions, and a craft cocktail lounge called Mirth & Refuge. But these additions are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of new amenities to the hotel.
Michael Tregoning, chief financial officer of The Joule, said one imperative update was to incorporate high-end fashion. The site of the Joule was the original home to Neiman Marcus, and Tregoning called the new retail expansion integral to the DNA of the building.
“We want this to be both a local and regional beacon,” said Tregoning. “We brought fashion, but we didn’t bring mall fashion. We brought something else.”
Adam Tihany, who headed the original design process in 2008, designed The Joule expansion. At the time of publication, the hotel did not disclose the how many total square feet are being added or the cost of the project.
We recently took a tour of the finished parts as well as those still under construction, which will open as they are completed. Here’s a rundown of what we saw and when it is expected to open.
TenOverSix (now open) — The Joule is aiming to bring more couture culture to downtown, beginning with TenOverSix. This Los Angeles-based brand features independent designers with an eye for comfort as well as edge. Store manager Amanda Reed said the goal here is not necessarily to keep up with trends, but to sell clothing that will start its own. Clothing and jewelry at TenOverSix average between $300 and $600.
TenOverSix Presents (now open) — This is not your average hotel gift shop. While TenOverSix Presents offers the necessary razors, deodorant, and toothpaste for hotel guests — all neatly on display in a glass case — it predominantly sells knick-knacks like records and magazines, furniture and home décor. This is the second Presents location in the country. It's unique, to be sure, but unless you’re buying contact solution, expect to spend more than $30.
TASCHEN Library (now open) — A quirky touch to the lobby ambiance, the TACHEN Library offers an array of books from its namesake publisher for visitors to read on-site or purchase. Genres range from classic art, architecture, and design, to the publisher’s lesser-known, provocative works. (The title The Big Penis Book, which comes with 3-D glasses, caught us by surprise.) Books range from $15 to $2,000.
Weekend Coffee (now open) — In time with Dallas’ turn toward craft coffee, The Joule is opening its own artisan shop curated at Seattle’s Victrola Coffee Roasters. The shop itself is a tiny enclave at the Commerce Street entrance with a marble slab counter and wood finish. Patrons are welcome to lounge in the lobby while enjoying a cup of joe.
Lobby bar (now open) — Amid bustle of hotel check-ins and shopping, there will be a place of reprieve. The bar, built as part of the lobby lounging environment, will serve craft cocktails ripe for gawking at the hotel’s newest art installations.
ESPA (opens October 18) — From the looks of the unfinished product, ESPA is set to be a luxury spa. The UK-based company is working its meditative magic on an 8,000-square-foot space underground. The spa has a unisex “vitality pool” where patrons can relax after treatments.
Traffic LA (all three stores now open) — Another Los Angeles brand is calling this site home. Traffic LA is opening a triage of stores — mens, womens, and “play” — that face Main Street. The mens and womens fashions are professional and stylish with an emphasis on bold colors for this season. While only the mens storefront is currently open, it houses the female line until the 800-square-foot shop is completed. The third business, Play by Traffic, is more casual couture to be displayed in a 300-square-foot space that is currently under construction. The two remaining storefronts will open mid-June.
New penthouses (opening mid-summer) — In a new tower adjacent to its original structure, The Joule is adding 32 new rooms. This includes 21 standard guestrooms, eight suites, and three penthouses, two of which are two floors.
Garden Terrace and the great glass elevator — Connecting the two towers is a new event space called the Garden Terrace, a 250-person outdoor patio with a climate-controlled glass pavilion. If the weather is nice enough, all the pavilion walls as well as the roof slide back to create a modifiable indoor/outdoor room. This patio is accessible by a glass elevator that holds up to 25 people.
CBD Provisions (opening
fall October 10) — Owner of Dallas’ Consilient Restaurants, the brain behind several mainstays on Henderson Avenue, is opening his newest concept in downtown. According to a brochure, CBD Provisions (short for central business district) aims to take a local and sustainable approach to American comfort food. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Mirth & Refuge (opening fall) — Dallas will get another craft cocktail lounge this fall when Mirth & Refuge opens. Like ESPA, Mirth & Refuge will be a subterranean establishment, dark and private, true to the era of its pre-prohibition menu.
New yoga studio — The Joule just bought the unassuming location of the former Cameo nightclub, which will become a yoga studio. There is neither construction nor completion date set for this.Follow @tineywristwatch
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