by Sarah J.F. Braley | January 01, 2014
Why Here?
Lots of excitement awaits in these two powerhouse Texas cities. For example, at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, above, the on-site Speedway Club gives up to 600 guests panoramic views of the track, and the venue is installing a giant video screen that will bring the action right into your lap.

Delicious Dishes
Two Dallas eateries have made Esquire's list of Best New Restaurants of 2013: John Tesar's Spoon Bar and Kitchen ( is a seafood-lover's delight, while Stephen Pyles is behind Stampede 66 (, turning locally sourced ingredients into fine Texas cuisine.

New Venue
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has enjoyed a banner first year. More than 1.3 million people explored its 11 permanent exhibit halls. Groups of up to 1,500 can take over the whole facility.

New Flights
Qatar Airways has announced new daily international service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Doha, Qatar, starting on July 1.
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Local Update

• Work continues on a new 30,000-square-foot meeting facility at the 514-room Renaissance Dallas Hotel. When the conference area opens in June, the property will have a total of 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a new 16,000-square-foot grand ballroom. The meeting center is aiming for LEED Silver certification. Meanwhile, at the in-house Asador restaurant, chef Dean Max has designed a menu of farm-to-table American cuisine with a Latin flair. Recreational amenities include a rooftop pool.

• The 161-room Joule Hotel has finished a $78 million renovation that included the addition of an 8,000-square-foot spa called Espa. Set on two subterranean floors of the hotel, the facility offers several multifunction treatment rooms. Work also included an expansion of the hotel's lobby and three ballrooms, and the addition of 31 new guest rooms. The Joule has more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool (called the Poule), a yoga studio and a 24-hour fitness center.

• The 76-room NYLO Dallas South Side has earned LEED Gold certification. The hotel is in a 102-year-old former factory that sat vacant for more than 10 years. Steps taken to achieve the certification included adding a well-insulated roof, installing a 3,900-gallon cistern to collect rainwater for landscaping and irrigation, and installing sensor-controlled thermostats and low-flow bathroom fixtures. The hotel has two small meeting rooms along with a 4,500-square-foot rooftop terrace.

• The 1910 Butler Brothers building is becoming a 200-room Hilton Hotel, along with 250 residential units and 21,000 square feet of retail space. The hotel will have two restaurants and a pool; specific meeting space details and other amenities, as well as an opening date, have not yet been announced.

Meeting Hotels: About 30,000 hotel rooms are within the city of Dallas, and a total of 75,544 are in the greater metro area. The headquarters hotel for the convention center is the 1,001-room Omni Dallas. Other nearby properties include the 1,120-room Hyatt Regency Dallas. For more, go to

Convention Center: Dallas Con­vention Center; exhibit space, approximately 1,018,942 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 88; (877) 684-7322;

Airport Transit: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, about 20 miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $40; by shuttle, $19

Love Field, approximately six miles from the downtown area. Transfer by taxi, $18; by shuttle, $19

Taxes: Room tax, 15%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15%

Group Venue: Groups can enjoy cocktails while strolling through an underwater tunnel at the Dallas World Aquarium. The popular attraction, in the main gallery, gives a close-up view of coral reefs, waving kelp and tropical fish. Among other highlights are exhibits on the Mayan world, South Africa and Borneo. Private events can be held for up to 2,800 people; for smaller groups, the second-floor Port Hole holds 600 for a reception, while the Reef Room hosts up to 125 for a dinner, the Rainforest seats 250 and Mundo Mayo holds 125 for dinner. (214) 720-2224;

Contact: Dallas Con­vention & Visitors Bureau, (214) 571-1000;