Dallas Hotel Project Combines Art and Architecture on the South Side of Downtown

With just over two months left before the grand opening, developers are rushing to finish the Lorenzo Hotel on the southern edge of downtown Dallas.The 237-room hotel redo is costing more than $35 million and will turn an ugly duckling of a budget hotel tower into an art-filled modern accommodation."We are in the final stretch of the run," said developer Larry Hamilton, whose Hamilton Properties has been working on the project for more than seven years.After struggling with plans for an apartment conversion, Hamilton decided to keep the 12-story building on South Akard Street as a hotel. It was built in 1972 as a Ramada Inn.Over the years, the hotel has been host to thousands of guests attracted by the location across the freeway from the convention center.Hamilton Properties gutted the building and has it almost put back together.There's a new pool area on the west side with views of downtown."We have cabanas going along the pool," Hamilton said. "There will be a deck and a bar."It will be the only hotel downtown that truly has a resort-type pool," he said. "A portion of the area around the pool will be artificial turf and a portion is wood decking and a sandy beach."Old steel beams that once held a room over an indoor pool will be repurposed with art and lighted chandeliers.A small garden next to the pool will have a sitting area."We have an enchanted forest of old trees we have salvaged that will go along there," Hamilton said.Off the lobby, there will be a restaurant and bar with an outdoor patio along Akard Street. Up on the top floor is a breakfast dining area and a ballroom with postcard views of downtown.There are 40 corner suites in the building."Each one of these suites has a theme to it," Hamilton said while giving a tour. "This one is going to have kind of a Louis XIV look."We have one that is Zen and one that is Lawrence of Arabia," he said.Of course, there's a special 11th-floor room."This was where Tina Turner stayed when she split from Ike," Hamilton said, showing off the still unfurnished space.Ike and Tina, so the story goes, were staying downtown at the Statler Hilton when they had their falling out, and Tina left to stay at the nearby Ramada.The entire hotel will be jam-packed with art and one-of-a-kind architectural features.On the outside, there's big lettering with the hotel name and a strip of birds on a wire painted at the top of the tower.  Continue reading...

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