A warmly lit room with numerous shelves full of books and a small sign reading "Taschen Books"
Taschen Library at The Joule Photo by Dave Shafer
Large gears adorn a richly decorated hotel lobby
The Joule’s lobby Photo by Dave Shafer

The Joule


Upon checking in to the Joule, marvel at the 14-foot spinning industrial gear by the front desk—preferably while sipping the glass of prosecco that the friendly staff pours you upon arrival. The gear is the anchor installation of a lobby brimming with fanciful, thought-provoking art. Among the pieces are the lobby’s many Italian glass mosaics by midcentury artist Millard Sheets. The mosaics’ human figures—reaching heavenward, making fire—were almost lost when the building that originally housed them was demolished. But the Joule’s billionaire oilman, film producer, and art collector owner Tim Headington saved, restored, and rehoused them in this neo-Gothic building turned swanky and supremely comfortable boutique hotel.

Headington’s personal art collection is always on rotation in the Joule lobby. Recent highlights include colorful oil paintings by art luminaries such as Paul Mogensen and Richard Phillips, and a 6-foot mirror designed like a Time magazine cover that hotel guests can pose in front of. Headington also brings in temporary site-specific installations, like the Texas-born Hass brothers’ 9-foot furry beast sculpture called King Dong, which sat in the middle of the lobby for several months. “Not only is the hotel in the heart of downtown, but it also borders the arts district,” says Headington’s art adviser, John Runyon. “Having the Nasher and the Dallas Museum of Art right there set the bar really high.”

Judging from his art selection, Headington has a sense of humor. Walk out the hotel’s gold-framed doors onto Main Street and you’ll see a 30-foot bloodshot eyeball also owned by Headington on the lawn across the street. Called The Eye, the fiberglass sculpture by Tony Tassett has become a downtown Dallas Instagram landmark. According to the concierge at the Joule, it’s also a punny retort: When Headington wanted to build on the site, city officials said his plans would be “an eyesore” and denied permitting. Now the sore eye of downtown Dallas watches over his hotel—testimony that sometimes art is the best response.

Rooms start at $375/night.
1530 Main St., Dallas.

Art hotels aren’t just beautiful places to stay; gallery-worthy artwork is chief among their amenities.

Also Check Out

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Hotel Dryce

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Vinyl spins ’round the clock in this hotel lobby oozing with swagger. Hotel Dryce is quite simply a vibe. And as the first boutique hotel in Fort Worth’s rapidly expanding Cultural District, the Dryce offers deep discounts to single and budget travelers in economy rooms, plus a complimentary welcome beverage—Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $130.
3621 Byers Ave., Fort Worth.
817-330-6437; hoteldryce.com

The Middleton Hotel


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Inn on Lake Granbury


This adults-only B&B overlooking Lake Granbury is secluded and romantic but within a short walk of the historic downtown square. Cozy rooms offer lake views, steam showers, and heated bathroom floors. Enjoy delivery of complimentary wine and appetizers each evening.—Cynthia J. Drake

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