Many times vacations are not relaxing at all and involve lots of going, lots of exploring and little relaxation. And then there are trips that we take that involve recharging, unwinding, and so much relaxing that it makes it hard to get back to reality. I find both types of getaways nice, but there are times when my needs are more prevalent and the latter relaxing vacation, however long or short, is required.
This past Easter weekend, my family and I had the pleasure of staying at the Omni Fort Worth, a luxury hotel located downtown on Houston Street. We booked the Zoo Package, and I had every intention of exploring the city in addition to the zoo since my past trips to Fort Worth included a trip the the Stockyards and that was about it. I was eager to learn more about the city known as “Where the West Begins”, but we found ourselves interested in exploring the amenities of the hotel… and finding that a more relaxing trip would be the order of the weekend!
We headed to our room upon arrival, dropped off our luggage and made a beeline to the outdoor heated pool and spa located on the Rooftop Terrace. While springtime in Texas usually means it’s warm enough to swim, the chilly wind kept us out of the pool but was perfect for a long soak in the hot tub. Within the first few minutes of being in the spa, I felt the stress rolling off. It also helped that the Water Horse Pool Bar was just steps away, offering everything from margaritas to beer, wine, and a wide variety of mixed drinks. I settled in with a Bloody Mary, my husband with a beer and the kids happy with lemonade. The top notch service made us feel a little spoiled and helped to solidify our plans for Day Two: Pool lounging.
The Omni Fort Worth has two on-site restaurants with plenty of fare choices for even the pickiest of eaters. After our soak in the spa, we decided to try out the fancier of the two restaurants on our first night. Bob’s Steak and Chop House has been voted one of the “Top 50 Restaurants in the Country” by Travel + Leisure, “Diner’s Choice Winner” by Open Table and “Best Steak,” “Best Wine List” and “Best Hotel Restaurant” in Fort Worth Magazine’s Annual Culinary Awards. We were eager for a good steak, but we changed our minds once we realized there was roasted duck on the menu. The kids shared an order of lobster mac ‘n cheese and filled up nicely on the fresh bread and butter that was brought to the table. With an extensive wine list available and large portion sizes (large enough that two adults could easily share a meal), Bob’s was a definite hit. Everything served was delicious and fresh. Full and sleepy, we took back the remaining wine in our bottle to our room to enjoy after the kids went to sleep!
Initially, I was worried about dining at Bob’s Steak and Chop House with my younger child in tow. He’s four and can meltdown during dinner time as it’s so close to bedtime. We asked the waiter if it was okay to dine there with kids, and he assured us that kids of all ages are welcome.
The zoo package includes a daily breakfast buffet which is served in the Omni’s second on-site restaurant, Cast Iron. Buffet items are handmade and include the traditional eggs, sausage, bacon, pastries, and cereals, as well as oatmeal with all the fixings, steak and egg scramble and an omelet station with wide range of ingredients for creating an omelet unique to each person’s taste. Tip: indulge in some carbs and try out the different jellies on a croissant. The cranberry and orange marmalade with whiskey were our favorites.
On our second day in Fort Worth, we headed out to the Fort Worth Zoo at around 10 am. We arrived early enough to park in the lot closest to the entrance and were surprised to find a line of cars and an even longer line of people in the ticket line. The Zoo was incredibly busy with kids being out of school for Good Friday, but we were able to zoom right on in since the hotel provides pre-printed tickets. No need to stand in a long line to purchase tickets on a busy zoo day! We visited with all the animals, spent a long time watching the baby elephant and giraffes, and took the one-way train ride back to the front of the zoo once we were ready to head back to the hotel. Logging in over 3 miles of walking, our plan to head to the Stockyards was foiled as the kids were tired and looking forward to a break in our room.
Note: A shuttle is available to drive families to the zoo. We considered it as an option but would have had to install our son’s car seat in the shuttle so decided it would be easiest to drive.
We headed back to the Omni, a short drive just a little over fifteen minutes from the zoo, and crawled into the comfy beds for a little television surfing. Sadly, this break didn’t last long. It never does! The kids insisted on heading back to the swimming pool. The chilly winds from the previous day had died down and the heated pool water was perfect. We settled in for a couple of hours of playing in the pool and spa while enjoying more drinks from the bar. The bartender recommended a Shirley Temple for the kids which was a huge hit! It was decided that we would not leave the hotel again before our checkout the next day, other than taking a walk to explore the Ft. Worth Water Gardens, easily walkable as they are located directly across the street from the hotel.
The kids fell asleep quickly after dinner, leaving some time for my husband and I to enjoy a nightcap in our room from Whiskey & Rye. We woke up fresh after a full night’s sleep to a gorgeous Texas sunrise, ready to face the rest of the weekend. While our trip was definitely on the relaxing side this time around, we look forward to making Fort Worth a destination stop in the future to explore more of the city, using the Omni Fort Worth as our home base while visiting.
Some features we loved:
- The view. We had a corner room on the 8th floor with spectacular views of the city.
- My train-obsessed four year old stood by the large windows looking at all of the trains coming and going from the nearby Texas & Pacific Railway Station. When making a reservation, it’s worth a shot to call and ask for a room with a view of the tracks as it was highly enjoyable for him to see so many trains.
- Area attractions within close distance to the hotel make it easy to explore the city while not spending too much time behind the wheel.
- Starbucks located in the lobby. We loaded up on to-go coffees for the 2 ½ hour ride home.
- Personal, friendly service. I had the pleasure of getting to know a few of the staff members – where they come from, why they are in Texas, what their favorite activities are in the area. True Texas hospitality!
- Clean rooms…. that’s just a must at any hotel. The details down to the smallest ones are not missed at the Omni Fort Worth.
- Free newspapers. We grabbed three papers in the morning and took turns leisurely reading them by the poolside while the other parent paid attention to the kids. For parents, it’s a rarity to actually get to read through a newspaper and is a sure sign of a good day when it happens!
- Large bathroom with walk-in shower
- Pillows on the beds are perfect. Some were fluffy, some flatter. My husband and I prefer different types of pillows and it seemed that we each found the perfect ones for a good night’s sleep.
- Valet parking. It’s $19 to self-park or $25 to valet. There were enough valets to quickly retrieve cars when the hotel was at its busiest time on Saturday morning.
- Understated luxury that is comfortable and welcoming
What our kids loved:
- Cookies & milk delivered to the room
- Shallow water at the pool for more playing opportunities
- Omni Kid’s Backpacks upon arrival with activity books, crayons, straws and a game
Appealing to both kids and adults with several vacation packages to choose from, the Omni Fort Worth is a wonderful option for families looking for relaxation and reconnecting time or for a fun-filled adventure.
Disclosure: The Omni Fort Worth invited LiveMom to stay for free. All opinions expressed are our own.