Cowboy Cultured

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In town for the John Wayne exhibit? Texas-sized hospitality is at the hotel next door.

Written by Jenn Thornton

Lone star, huh? In the case of Hotel Drover, an Autograph Collection Hotel, how ‘bout five stars? Certainly in feeling. Steeped in Americana, the newly opened property with a decidedly Western sheen has beefed up the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, which shares prized real estate with the permanent John Wayne: An American Experience exhibit, a retrospective of the Hollywood megastar’s legendary career. Go for the Duke and stay for the Drover? Come one, come y’all.

Inspired by classic Texas drovers, the hacienda-modern hotel is cowboy to the core, only gussied-up in urban-ranch ambience—the place is seriously classy. Sumptuous leather. Glam chandeliers. Brass accents. Neon art. But where the Drover might have easily tracked into kitschy territory, it reined in too-nostalgic impulses to go in a more grown-up direction where class and cowhide collide in what is the ten-gallon equivalent of Western style and charm. Inside are 200 rustic-luxe guest rooms and handsome spa suites (including the sweeping, J.R. Ewing-level Presidential Suite) stocked with locally curated minibars, artisan products and—lest one forget where they are—custom boot jacks. Amid this backdrop of leather and brass is the hotel’s fitness center, a library and, this being Texas and all, a larger-than-life menu of dining and drinking options, including the headlining venue 97 West Kitchen & Bar, one of five spots where you can belly up to the bar at Hotel Drover. Outside, agave, cacti and mature oaks set the scene for The Backyard, a leisured outdoor oasis with a genuinely good-time vibe. Along with its own elegant horse trailer bar and music stage, the social hub rolls out fire pits, a pool, private cabanas (with hanging daybeds and luxe lighting!), space for lawn games and more.

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With a prime spot in the Stockyards, amusements are literally within a few steps of Hotel Drover. Boot up at one of the property’s shops—there’s a Lucchese outpost for the finest in footwear, and an eclectic boutique with one-of-a-kind finds—then mosey from the Drover to Mule Alley and discover in the transformed century-old horse and mule barns a roundup of retail, restaurants, experiences, entertainment venues and more. Conveniently across the street from Mule Alley, the John Wayne exhibit is on show, with Duke Bourbon, meanwhile, on offer at the Lounge. When it’s time to hang your hat, stagger back to Hotel Drover—the heart of it all, deep in the heart of Texas.

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Photographs courtesy of Hotel Drover