Dallas is not a city known for boutique hotels, but that’s been changing thanks to properties like The Joule, a unique 129-room upscale hotel that first opened in 2008. Constructed in a former 1920’s Neo-Gothic bank building, this sophisticated retreat combines contemporary design with the unique architectural touches, world-class artwork by the likes of Andy Warhol and on-site fine dining and nightlife. Cookie cutter business hotel this is not. Earlier this month, Gadling stopped by The Joule to take a closer look at this intriguing boutique property. Want a peek at one of Dallas’ most unique hotels? Let’s take a look.
Check-in and The Lobby
The minute you step inside The Joule’s front door, the property’s slick design is on display. Luxurious wood-paneled walls hung with artwork by Andy Warhol and Richard Phillips frame an understated lobby of low-slung couches and chairs. A collection of artsy coffee-table books is scattered about for browsing. We felt as if we had entered the living room of a high-class penthouse – comfortable yet intriguing.
Anchoring the back of the two-story lobby are two massive rotating gears, a play on the hotel’s energy-focused theme (a joule is a unit of energy). The cogs are so huge in fact, they manage to hide the check-in desk. We wandered around for a few minutes before locating the desk and beginning our check-in. The hotel had our reservation on file and we were on our way to our room in no time.
Keep reading below to find out about The Joule’s one-of-a-kind pool and the in-room experience.
In keeping with the unique decor of The Joule, guest rooms follow a similar high-end design motif. Our Deluxe Room’s interior was slick and modern, yet still inviting, set off by the same hardwood touches found in the lobby. Though the room was small, it managed to be well-organized. A stack of intriguing music and art books lined a table and custom Dallas-themed photography on the walls lent the room a personalized yet sophisticated air.
The toilet and shower are laid out in self-contained spaces on opposite sides of the room’s entrance. The “Rainforest” shower head was a joy to use and gets our thumbs up. The sink and vanity area (right) was also tiny but arranged to maximize space. All rooms come with Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and a small unit under the sink with additional amenities like tissues and cotton swabs.
The bed in our room was more than comfortable. With 300-thread count sheets, Down pillows/comforters and chrome reading lamps above each side that flip out, the sleeping area made for an excellent sleeping and late-night reading experience.
Other in-room amenities include a 42″ flatscreen television, an iPod docking station and Bose Wave Radio, and a full Martini station for cocktail fans.
As much as we liked the room’s sophistication and stylish elements, sometimes they can come at the expense of ease of use. When we tried to plug in our large-size Apple laptop charger at the outlets over the desk, it didn’t fit thanks to a curiously placed ledge. Many of the room’s other electrical outlets seemed to be hidden or occupied – a curious move considering the number of gadgets travelers carry these days.
Infinity Pool, Charlie Palmer and PM Nightclub
Not only does The Joule excel with unique in-room design, the property’s intriguing on-site amenities are also worth a visit. First is the hotel’s 39-foot Infinity Pool, one of the The Joule’s most stunning architectural features. Located on the 10th Floor, the pool juts several feet off the building’s edge, creating a dramatic visual effect. We were able to swim underwater up to its edge, gazing down at bewildered street-level pedestrians staring from up at us from below. A Fitness Center and range of Spa Suite services like in-room massage complement the offerings.
Just off The Joule’s lobby is Charlie Palmer at The Joule – a modern take on classic American cuisine that pairs nicely with the hotel’s upscale design interior. In addition to an artisanal and locally-sourced menu, Charlie Palmer features a lineup of signature cocktails and fully-stocked bottle shop at the in-house Next Vintage Wine Shop. Next Vintage is a particularly nice touch for wine-lovers and thrifty customers looking to pick up a convenient bottle for their night out. Just across the lobby from Charlie Palmer is PM Nightlife Lounge, an upscale high-design nightspot for those who want to continue the fun.
The Bottom Line
The Joule isn’t a hotel for everyone – those looking for a simple no-nonsense spot to rest their head should look elsewhere. But for the discerning hotel customer, The Joule’s attention to detail, understated design and top-notch amenities can’t be beat. High-concept boutique hotels can easily be over the top and silly, but The Joule managed to win us over with its combination of understated luxury and cutting edge style. Give it a try the next time you’re in Dallas and you’re in the mood for something different.