Nostalgic travelers or contemporary Wanderlusts with an affinity for the open road can delight in the resurgence of the remarkable motor court! Flashback to mid century America when auto travel felt like a true adventure. There were those magical moments in time when a roadside motel lit by a neon sign was an exciting destination. Motor courts were typically one-offs and had an interesting name, a fun theme, and “parking lot to room” access. They were usually built around a pool with one or more common areas. These courtyards were the anticipated source of excitement and entertainment. Iconic travel memories of yesteryear can be recreated once again with retro flair coupled with modern conveniences. The new “court concept” has developed into a well-branded boutique hotel experience and is once again appealing to travelers of all ages.
The Texican Court, with its Spanish mission-style architecture and motor lodge ambiance, opened its doors in the fall of 2018 near DFW Airport. A hand-painted, neon lit cowboy welcomes guests after entering under the impressive steel arch bearing the hotel name. With rope in hand and an arm raised high, he seems to invite us to “lasso the moon” in the big Texas sky! Conveniently located in Las Colinas, across from the Irving Convention Center and within walking distance of the Toyota Music Factory, this Valencia Group property certainly stands out with striking Route 66 character among the neighboring contemporary urban developments. If you are drawn to red tile roofs, white stucco plaster, decorative forged wrought iron and an overall hacienda curb appeal, this hotel is the perfect local getaway and an affordable place to wander.
Intentionally curious when there’s an intriguing name and design, I explored the back story before my visit. “We wanted to bring the theme song from the Spaghetti Western film, ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’, to life through the design of this hotel,” Valencia Group President Doyle A. Graham stated in a press release. “When you listen to the song, you can envision the larger-than-life vistas filled with dramatic backdrops and excitement, and we captured the essence of the tension, and drama characterized by this song in the walls of the hotel to create a captivating experience for our guests.”
Consider setting the tone prior to your stay. Listen
to Ennio Morricone’s distinctive movie score. Better yet, treat yourself and watch it brilliantly performed (wah-wah-wah) by The Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Arrive at dusk to fully enjoy the neon, the gas lit lanterns, and a rectangular reflection pool. There are three distinct courtyards. The hotel’s signature scent of burning post oak fills the air from the massive brick fireplace. Cowboy cauldrons are strategically placed as steel fire pit “campsites” for community use, and s’mores kits are available at the front desk. Guests can gather outside to make the gooey desserts, lounge and tell stories in bean bag type chaises, or compete in a game of corn hole. There’s plenty of picnic tables and lawn furniture. The circular swimming pool is a beautiful focal point. Crushed rock, scattered shade trees, and a variety of cacti and grasses provide a minimalist Southwestern landscape.
You’ll want to spend time enjoying the artistic touches in the reception building. Love the terra cotta wall feature and the vintage saddle! Shop the shelves for hotel souvenirs displayed among antique treasures. My purchase included a logo t-shirt, a camp style coffee mug, and one of their addictive Cypress & Suede candles. Chat with the staff and you’ll find priceless smiles on employees who seem to love their position, are delightfully knowledgeable, and genuinely articulate about Texican Court. The hotel atmosphere in general is definitely well-branded on all levels to play on the senses…sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.
Rottet Studio was the artistic force brought in to perfectly curate the elements of architecture, color, texture, and style of the 152-room, three story motor court. While the outdoor features are reminiscent of an old West movie, the rooms are cleverly retro on the inside. Each room has a charming SMEG refrigerator stocked with all types of beverages ranging from family friendly to adult beverage options. You’ll find sliding barn doors, a free standing turquoise armoire, and window treatments trimmed in kitschy poms. The bathroom in the Presidential Suite was nothing less than fabulous! Bright serape striped bathrobes encourage Texican style lounging. Sofas inspired by pick up bench seats from the Mexican word “el troco”, which means pick up truck, are covered in saddle blanket patterned fabric and accented with embroidered throw pillows. Grey wooden rockers placed outside each door on the reclaimed wood plank walkways beckon guests to just sit and relax awhile. Take in the beauty of the sunset
as shadows grow longer on the plaster walls. Admire the pink painted doors as they slowly become a bit more salmon in color during the golden hour. The entire property starts glowing with the whimsical string lights at dusk. Unwind underneath that starry sky!
Dedicated to supporting Texas music, live weekend performances are a fun part of dining or simply enjoying craft cocktails at Texican Court’s “Two Mules Cantina”. Not often do you get the chance to bask in the sound of a guitar accompanied by a cello in an intimate setting by a fireplace, so I was delighted by the music of a favorite local band, “Almost Jaded”, during my visit. Glancing around the restaurant, you’ll see festive bright candle votives indicative of Spanish decor, an array of Pendleton pillows, and a sea of serapes draped over the backs of leather chairs. An oversized woven wall hanging and a hand-painted mural carry out the “Two Mules” theme in a cozy area across from the bar. You’ll hear sizzling fajitas and smell the mouth-watering aroma of their smoked brisket, which is prepared poolside throughout the week. The menu boasts fresh flavors and the food is chef prepared. “Salt” is a separate tequila bar across from the reception building with its own personality. Behind the interesting steel and glass doors, it is cozy, sultry, and dimly lit by candles and the hot pink neon sign bearing its name.
Texican Court has a mission style chapel for special events, a boardroom for business meetings (love the overhanging serapes and the wall lined with cowboy hats), a 24 hour workout facility, and pet friendly rooms. If you decide to venture off property, Las Colinas has dozens of restaurants and bars, and historical downtown Grapevine is only about nine miles away.
The aroma of Cypress Suede takes me back to an enjoyable weekend of delicious meals and comfy accommodations. Meeting three l’il cowboys and their lively parents was indeed a highlight. Smiles, laughter, and stories were abundant at Texican Court and I hope to visit again soon!
Encouraging you to saunter rather than sprint through life…to laugh out loud…live intentionally in the moment…keep a bag packed…and be ready to wander!