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Design Diary: The Highland Dallas

(August 2017) posted on Tue Aug 08, 2017

From a Hilton to a Kimpton to a Curio, BD’s first-hand look at this 1960s hotel icon’s most recent transformation by Flick·Mars shows high-end doesn’t necessarily mean high-brow.

By Christina Green

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Spending time in a guest room at The Highland Dallas doesn’t feel as much as an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city as a reflection of it. If you don’t count all those hours waiting out layovers at DFW, my recent two-night stay at the hotel sums up the extent of my experience in the Texas hotbed for hotel development. During that time, I only left The Highland once, yet I still checked out with a good sense of the area’s lifestyle. That’s what good design should do.

The Highland Dallas
Flick·Mars guest room redesign at The Highland Dallas. Photo: Courtesy of The Highland Dallas

Locally based Flick·Mars completed a major redesign of the former Hotel Palomar’s accommodations and event spaces in March of last year following the 198-key upscale property’s conversion from a Kimpton hotel to Hilton’s Curio collection soft brand in August 2014. When the hotel’s PR rep invited me to see the property’s most recent renovation first hand, I didn’t only get a taste of Texas (literally), but a feel for the two urban areas the mid-century locale brings together: the Park Cities enclave and the Lakewood neighborhood.

The Highland
A guest suite at The Highland Dallas. Photo: Courtesy of The Highland Dallas

Everywhere I looked in the guest room—including snakeskin-inspired upholstery under the swivel lounge chairs—there were clever discovery points that nod to the location. I pulled the blackout blinds to discover artwork depicting horses. Framed art above the bed featuring a bare leg wrapped in rope clued me in that this was an adult-oriented property with a Texas edge. Organic abstractions throughout the carpet amped up the modern feel. The materials palette of velvet, leather-inspired and hide-like upholsteries and rich wood tones reinforced the regional vibe.

The Highland
Genius moment: An upholstered panel backdrop behind the TV not only adds Texas flair, it mitigates sound transfer between rooms. Photo: Courtesy of The Highland Dallas

And perhaps most importantly, all of these details complemented the hotel’s other spaces, including Knife—a high-profile steakhouse concept from James Beard-nominated chef and Bravo’s “Top Chef ” contestant John Tesar that was designed by Dallas-based Breckinridge Taylor—and Exhale Spa, a wellness concept designed by Studios Architecture that has been on the property for over a decade.


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