The Fairmont Has a Coming Out Party

New Pyramid Bar 2by Andrew Chalk

After what seems like an interminable silence, the Fairmont Dallas invited the media to come and see all the new things that they have. On the inorganic side, a $10m renovation has seen the rooms upgraded and the Pyramid Bar given a makeover. On the organic side, Leigh Mills has arrived from Sous Chef at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri (a property which has been recognized with accolades from numerous publications including Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler).as Chef de Cuisine and Eric Burrell, from the Ritz-Carlton organization, as pastry chef. Both have a good chance to make a big impression on the city with The Fairmont – Dallas as their platform. After all, that is what André Natera did.   

Chef de Cuisine Leigh MillsChef de Cuisine Leigh Mills

In addition to the investment in pillars and personnel the Fairmont has finally decided how it is going to brand itself. It wants to be seen to be inextricably intertwined with the Arts, and specifically the Dallas Arts District (it is the only large hotel really close to that area). Investments in this area consist of forthcoming new art display cases, rotating exhibitions given a more visible role (e.g. in the large north-south lobby area) and the continuation of the hotel’s existing artist-in-residence program.

Pastry Chef Eric BurrellPastry Chef Eric Burrell

The huge (3000 sq. ft.) herb and vegetable garden on the fifth floor patio has been extended with plants now growing on walls (making these the highest growing-on-walls plants in the metroplex!). I wonder if they could extend that to cover the whole of the chocolate-brown exterior hotel walls (it would get more visitors than anything else in Dallas)?

New Pyramid Bar 1New Pyramid Bar

The Pyramid Bar looks a lot brighter and more modern. The cocktail program has been reinforced and sommelier Hunter Hammett has put together one of the best-built wine lists for its size in Dallas (although the Hotel, to its credit, has allowed him to increase the number of offerings by about 35%). The list includes four Texas wines in the by-the-glass program and a Texas flight of three wines in the separate by-the-glass flights section.

Next, and not a moment too soon, comes an overhaul of the restaurant decor. Some improvements have already been made, such as cutting off the view of the unsightly breakfast area from evening diners, but there is a lot more to be done to give the restaurant separate areas and a sense of identity.

I liked what I saw, and I look forward to reporting on Chefs Mills and Burrell’s cuisine when the menu has settled down.

Living WallThese plants are Growing On a Wall


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