Photos and Story By Meda Kessler
So, on a hot Monday in late August, I checked into Hotel Dryce with a stack of work and an overnight bag in hand. Entering the cool lobby — figuratively and literally — I felt like I was far away.
Those who have been to the Dryce say it feels a bit like Marfa, or Austin in the old days: The building is a mix of modern meshed with vintage — the remnants of the dry ice warehouse that once sat in this neighborhood form the outdoor patio. Faded paint on the old concrete floor gives it some character while complementing the earthy color scheme. The landscaping consists of plants that love the heat.
Inside, the eye-catching art by local talent beats the lackluster abstracts typical of most hotels. When I arrived, the bartenders were just getting set up, and a cool drink sounded good. There was music, too, giving the lobby even more of a loungelike feel. Staff welcomed me with smiles and my room cards.
Full disclosure here. I know the owners of the Dryce — Jonathan Morris and Allen Mederos — and have written about them before. Jonathan used to live a couple of streets away from me, and I supported the construction of the hotel when it first came up for debate by our neighborhood association. I attended the media preview party the week before my check-in but, as with most everything I write about, I wanted to feel the towels, sleep in the bed, test the water pressure and check out the speed of the Wi-Fi myself. I’m just that way.
Because I had work to do, I was thrilled with the desk setup in my room. I had booked the “king view” just for that reason. Locally made (as are the beds and side tables), the sleek plywood table gave me room to spread out. I had failed to read my pre-check-in correspondence, so I did fumble with turning on the lights and connecting to the internet. But one call got all my questions answered. They’re also good about texting reminders for that complimentary drink and other niceties.
While my computer beckoned, I did spend time admiring the thick window coverings made of Oaxacan rugs, the cool built-in reading lights next to the bed, and the sturdy cups next to the ice bucket. And my view was oddly soothing. I see Dickies Arena daily, but it looked cool from my second-floor room. My only quibble is the lack of shelving in the bathroom. I will say the lighting in the bathroom is incredibly flattering. While the walk-in shower is spacious, the small shelf below the mirror and the thin rim of the sink were lacking in space for much more than a toothbrush; good thing I travel light.
And the bed is as comfortable as it looks. I got up early but felt rested. Coffee and tea from two Fort Worth shops were available in the lobby, and I left for work from the hotel thinking about how many other locals had played a part in making the Dryce something unique to Fort Worth.
Is it for everyone? Probably not if you need a lot of space for your toiletries and other stuff. But that’s OK. You can always just marvel at how good you look in the mirror even if there’s no room for your Dopp kit.