Downtown Fort Worth has no shortage of hotels. Between the major chains and boutiques, you’ve got options for resting your head after a long day working in the business district, bar-hopping in Sundance Square or otherwise exploring the area. But downtown recently gave you another option, and its newest hotel is one of its best, merging modern design and comfortable amenities with a historical pedigree.
The Kimpton Harper Hotel is situated in a 24-floor building that dates back to 1921 and was once the tallest building in the city. Times are different now, but that 24th-floor perch still offers an amazing view. I know because I stayed there recently for a night to inspect the property and everything that comes with it — namely, Italian food and cocktails.
At the Property
The lobby is not where you think it is. After pulling up to the hotel, step inside one of the elevators on your right and head up to the top floor. The check-in desk is joined by a cozy seating area with modern, low-slung furniture and long tables perfect for hanging out, getting some work done, or sipping a free glass of wine at the nightly happy hour that runs from 5 to 6 p.m. Grab a seat near the wall of windows and look out over the city. Squint a little — or employ the nearby telescope — and you can gaze at the Dallas skyline more than 30 miles away.
Tucked into the back of the top-floor lobby is Refinery 714, the hotel’s bar and lounge. Named for the building’s address at 714 Main Street, the leather, high-backed bar stools are a welcoming spot to have a cocktail before dinner. (Or after dinner.) The menu leans classic, with drinks like the Daiquiri, Sazerac and Martinez, plus a small selection of draft beers and wines.
During my stay, travelers were visiting from as close as Dallas and Houston to as far afield as Manchester, England — some for vacation and others for business. In typical Kimpton fashion, that free happy hour brought people together and helped spark conversations that made the lobby feel like a lively living room.
In Your Room
The hotel sports 226 rooms and suites. Standard guest rooms start at 280 square feet, available with one king bed or two queens, while the premium corner king room is 350 square feet with expansive views of downtown. Both offer enough real estate for two people to comfortably move about, and they also have built-in desks if you need to work during your stay.
If you want more space, the 600-square-foot suites have a separate living area stocked with a sectional couch, accent chairs, and a desk, perfect for longer visits and those who prefer a little more elbow room. Whichever configuration you choose, the bathrooms feature spacious showers, Ateiler Bloem bath products, and plush robes. The suites add a separate soaking tub to the equation, which can quickly feel more luxurious when paired with a couple drinks from the mini bar.
On the Menu
While Refinery 714 offers a few snacks (think: truffle fries and ricotta-stuffed meatballs), the main show happens back on the ground floor at Il Modo, the on-site Italian restaurant. It’s moody and modern, with hanging lamps, patterned tile floors, wooden tables, and leather, whiskey-colored banquettes. The sleek white bar mixes Negronis, Old Fashioneds, and Spritzes, so it’s a smart place to begin any meal.
As you move to your table, take a peek through the glass windows into the pasta room, and you’ll see staff pounding dough and hanging fresh noodles on racks. The menu stars that handmade pasta in dishes like bucatini with guanciale, rigatoni with beef bolognese, and fettuccine with heirloom mushrooms. You’d be remiss not to order a pasta or two — but other standouts include starters like the clams in nduja broth with grilled sourdough that’s been slathered with saffron aioli, and the meatballs made with dry-aged beef and spicy pomodoro. Larger plates include braised lamb shank, a roasted half chicken, a whole branzino, and the 42-ounce bone-in Florentine porterhouse that you can split with your dinner mate.
Il Modo also serves breakfast and lunch, plus complimentary coffee and tea each morning, so it’s reasonable to start and end your day inside its walls.
The Harper is a cosmopolitan reminder that Fort Worth isn’t just cattle drives and honky tonks — though you may want to experience both if you’re new to town. The hotel’s location puts it next door to Sundance Square’s many bars and restaurants, and considering its relative proximity to other Fort Worth destinations like the museum-heavy Cultural District, the Stockyards and Magnolia Avenue, you have plenty of reasons to hop in a car, get out, and explore all the city has to offer.
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