The Mansion on Turtle Creek
The Mansion on Turtle Creek
Address: 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd.
Web Address: http://www. mansiononturtlecreek.com
The Mansion is our first foray into an “urban escape” and we couldn’t have asked for a better place to start. This is a marvelous retreat that merits a trip even from places outside local driving distances.
Built in 1908 by Texas cotton baron Sheppard T. King as his family’s estate, the property burned to the ground in 1923, was rebuilt by 1925 and then passed through two other owners before being purchased in 1979 by Carolyn Rose Hunt. Hunt spent $21 million to transform the residence into a world class hotel and restaurant that opened in 1980 to rave reviews.
Set on nearly 5 terraced acres in one of the city’s most fashionable neighborhoods, the hotel is only five minutes from the downtown business district and just a half hour from the airport. Despite some stiff competition from other luxury brands, The Mansion remains the choice of many for its charm, ambiance and exceptional service.
Our car was met in the stone courtyard where we were escorted through the canopied portico to a dramatic 32 foot high marble rotunda that leads to the reception desk. The scent of stargazer lilies filled the air from a magnificent flower display and the elegantly appointed lobby was decorated with antiques and comfortable chairs and sofas arranged around a fireplace. Hot apple cider and shortbread cookies were set on a sideboard.
With 127 rooms and 16 suites, the hotel has plenty of space yet manages to retain a feel of cozy intimacy. Rooms are oversized at 450 square feet and up and lavishly decorated in warm colors, antiques, polished dark furniture, rich fabrics and beautiful artwork. French doors opened onto a private walled patio with table and chairs. The plump bed was covered in custom made Italian linens with down pillows and comforter. The good sized marble bathroom had a double shower, fresh orchids and Lady Primrose toiletries Shortly after we got to our room, we received a platter of fresh fruit and bottled water which we enjoyed on our patio. A very nice touch.
First stop before dinner is the dark, richly paneled Mansion Bar where inlaid ceilings, exquisite hunt artwork, leather chairs, bar top lamps and a baby grand piano create a wonderful private club ambiance. You almost expect to see JR Ewing sitting there. Have the signature “Blazing Turtle” a mixture of peach puree, fortified wine, simple syrup, champagne, line juice and ancho chili flakes. Go Cowboys! There’s also some 50 wines by the glass.
Also, a good place after dinner where there is entertainment on the weekend. This place is hopping at night. The all day menu is perfect for lunch and the bar menu is excellent and a terrific alternative to a big meal.
A 2007 makeover of the Mansion Restaurant resulted in it being named one of Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2008. Diners can enjoy a variety of settings that suit their mood; the casual but elegant Main Dining Room with honey colored walls, bone leather chairs and local Texas artwork, the bright and airy Veranda with rattan furniture, green curtains and palladium windows, the wonderful outdoor Terrace with lanterns hanging in the trees and two fireplaces or the dark and intimate Chef’s Room, the restored library of the Mansion. For dinner we like the Terrace when the weather permits and the Chef’s Room when it doesn’t. Breakfast in the Veranda Room or on the Terrace is the perfect way to start the day.
Dinner began with an offer of 6 different types of bread, served with butter on a block of Himalayan sea salt. An amuse bouche followed with smoked salmon napoleon with a delicious salmon roe. As appetizers, we an Alaskan king crab in a sinful garlic butter sauce with potatoes and parsley puree and Nantucket Bay scallops in a casserole with smokehouse bacon. We shared a pasta course, a wonderful hand rolled Garganelli with a black truffle cream and the chef then grated black truffles on top….wow.
For entrees, we chose a Prime filet mignon with Yukon Gold potato puree, asparagus, cipolini onions and sauce béarnaise and braised short ribs with maple collard greens and a truffle mac & cheese. Both perfectly cooked and the short ribs just may have been the best we ever had. Dessert was almost too much but we shared a marvelous lemon verbena pound cake with a frozen lemon soufflé, lemon curd, crispy meringue and lemon ice cream.
The wine list, under the direction of Michael Flynn, wine and beverage director (voted Washington, D.C.'s "best known, best loved sommelier" by the Washingtonian and "one of America's finest sommeliers" by the Wine Advocate) and Sommelier Scott Barber, who did a wonderful job of wine pairing for us, is highlighted by a fantastic collection of wines by the glass and half bottles. We love this because it allows the diner to try a couple of wines with different courses without breaking the bank. The rest of the list is excellent, albeit a bit pricey.
This was an amazing meal with wonderful flavors, terrific wines, and perfect service. I will find a way to get back to Dallas soon.
Appetizers: $15-$28, Pasta: $18-$40, Entrees: $38-$65 and Desserts: $13. Just a personal note; they might do better to offer a 3 course prix fixe at say, $85 or $95 which might take the sting out of seeing a $60 price tag on the filet mignon.
It seems that providing exceptional service should be an easy thing to figure out. Unfortunately not everyone gets it….but the Mansion does. Everything they do is designed to anticipate your needs and make your stay as comfortable as possible. A two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio insures that nothing is left to chance.
Concierge services are available around the clock. There’s 24 hour room service. The Business Center and Fitness Center are available at all times. Complimentary coffee is served in the lobby from 5am and other refreshments are served throughout the day. Housekeeping comes twice a day and laundry services are available overnight. They’ll shine your shoes, loan you a 2008 Lexus at no charge, transport you around town in a Lexus sedan or even give you a GPS to help you navigate the City. You’ll get a handwritten welcome note, a wish for “pleasant dreams” with a weather forecast on your pillow and a feeling that they are really glad you are there. Oh yeah, and the dining room napkins are “lint free” Egyptian cotton, so the ladies don’t get lint on their black slacks or skirt. How thoughtful!
THE RATES: From $299 in winter, $250 in spring, $275 in summer and $350 in fall.
WHAT OTHERS SAY…
Mobil 5 Star Recipient
AAA Five Diamond Recipient
“Not a detail is left to chance” for “pampered” patrons of this “pinnacle of luxury hotels” housed in a 1925 palatial home that “knocks your socks off” with “fabulous Texas grandeur”, and has “only gotten better” with a “makeover”; “impeccable” service is “so personal it can be embarrassing” (“how everyone seemed to know my name, I’ll never know”), and the rooms are “charming.” ZAGAT
Chef Bruno Davaillon (ex Alain Ducasse’s Mix in Las Vegas) is at the helm of this Uptown Dallas “icon” turning out “haute” American fare in glossy, “modern” digs; a “thrilling” wine list and “seamless” service that “makes you feel like an oil baron” mean it’s still a “top” pick for special occasions. ZAGAT
WHILE YOU ARE THERE:
The Mansion has an outdoor heated pool complete with food and beverage service and a full service fitness studio. Nearby parks provide trails for walking and jogging. As with most major cities, Dallas has the full range of professional sports and cultural activities. Sports fans can enjoy the Cowboys, Mavericks and Stars and The Arts District, which includes the renowned Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center and the Nasher Sculpture Center, will satisfy your cultural needs. You won’t want to miss the Dallas Arboretum and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (Kennedy assassination). www.visitdallas.com and www.dallassmartguidermtc.com are two excellent resources for what is going on in the City at any given time.
Shreveport, LA: 3 hours
Austin: 3 hours 15 minutes
Oklahoma City, OK: 3 hours 21 minutes
Houston: 3 hours 49 minutes