The Sun Rises Again on The Crescent

A Fort Worth billionaire buys a Dallas hotel and hires a design firm with a knack for hospitality to renovate the architectural beauty.

When John Goff and Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate repurchased Rosewood’s Crescent Hotel in 2016 (a hotel he previously owned in the ’90s), the first order of business was changing the name — it promptly returned to Hotel Crescent Court. Up next? Just a $33 million redesign. In April the hotel unveiled the renovation that includes updates to all 226 guest rooms and suites, meeting and banquet spaces and the spa. Dallas-based waldrop + nichols studio won the bid for the project — the first major renovation since the hotel opened in 1986. The studio’s impressive portfolio includes Shady Oaks Country Club, The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver and the Omni in Dallas.

The Uptown Dallas hotel anchors The Crescent, an 11-acre, luxury mixed-use development that’s also home to Stanley Korshak, Ascension Coffee and Nobu, among other businesses and restaurants. The development, hotel or no hotel, is already an impressive piece of iconic French architecture.

“We really incorporated that [French architecture] in guest room corridors,” says Andrea Waldrop, the designer behind the hotel’s transformation. She points to padded panels with modern fabric and Traditional French patterns in the hallways. Textured wallpaper in patterns that blur the line between traditional and abstract also grace the wall in the elevator areas. The French architecture was thanks to renowned architect Philip Johnson, who’s responsible for many North Texas landmarks including the Amon Carter Museum, the Fort Worth Water Gardens and the JFK Memorial.

Waldrop says the mansard roof — a four-sided roof with two slopes on each side — was always top of mind during the project. The roof, along with the curved building, provided both inspiration and challenges. Because the Crescent buildings are curved, a lot of the furniture in the rooms is also curved. “Anything that has a curve to it is a little bit more expensive to build, softer and more elegant,” says Waldrop.

Once you notice the curved furniture that occupies the spaces, it’s hard to unnotice. Curved side tables correspond with desks with curved edges. Arm chairs, daybeds and serpentine sofas dominate guest rooms, suites and the lobby. It all adds to a light and airy aesthetic that’s also comfortable and cozy without sacrificing any sophistication.

The “level of sophistication,” as Waldrop refers to it, is also thanks to the muted color palette. Blushes, creams and grays dominate the rooms and suites — a conscious decision to ensure the design would be timeless and hold up to future remodels. Curiously and expertly, some of the only pattern can be found in an isolated section of the carpet in each room, in the form of large geometric shapes. “If you look at it from an aerial perspective, it looks like a woman’s dress and like artwork,” Waldrop says.

The lobby, above all other spaces, blends form and function most impressively. The way Waldrop puts it — it’s a well-choreographed lobby. “It was very important for the lobby to have flexibility,” Waldrop says. “The Crescent is known for its power breakfast, so it was important to make that possible. Then you’ve got people who are just passing through or guests that are waiting for somebody. And then it changes at night, and you have the bar crowd.” All of the lobby’s events happen below sculptural clouds suspended from the ceiling. Made to look like crystal, they are Waldrop’s favorite part of the redesign.

The lobby also touts what the hotel calls “serviceable guest pods” — small, curved concierge-type podiums. Gone is any semblance of a front desk that runs the length of the wall. Instead, the lobby is anchored by Beau Nash — the new champagne bar and cocktail lounge. The cocktail part is taken very seriously, too. Bartenders serve up the Smoke & Rosemary — a crowd favorite that’s placed in a bar top smoker. Smoke billows and oohs and aahs can be heard. This all takes place on top of the chocolate marble bar top that was imported from Spain. “When we designed the bar, we were conscious of the floor because the floor remained and was original,” said Waldrop. “We had the cream marble, and we wanted it to look like the bar had always been there.” In a sense, it had. Beau Nash opened in 1986 with the original hotel before shuttering in 2004 when ownership changed.

Waldrop’s also particularly proud of a portion of the hotel most people will never see — the Grand Presidential Suite. The design of the 3,035-square-foot suite is a departure from the rest of the rooms. The design, with a strong contrast in color, black and white floors and a dramatic staircase, was based on “An American in Paris”.

But the hardest part? That was the clock. “The biggest challenge was really the schedule because it was quite aggressive,” says Waldrop of the yearlong project. The team met on weekends, every Saturday for two months, to accomplish the renovation on time — all with the goal of finding the perfect balance between conservation and transformation.