Family Travel in Dallas: The Gaylord Texan is a REALLY Big Hotel

Looking across just a small portion of the massive atrium.

Texans are fond of saying that “everything is bigger in Texas,” and that’s certainly true at the Gaylord Texan, a mammoth destination hotel near the DFW Airport (roughly halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth). It’s so big that you actually need to carry a map around to ensure that you don’t get lost, and directional signs (the kind normally found in airports and huge malls) are posted around the hotel to help people navigate. More than 1,600 rooms and suites surround a massive enclosed atrium that celebrates the best that the state has to offer, with reproductions of the River Walk and the Alamo, colossal oil derricks, a mission-style bell tower, a pair of 14-foot-high cowboy boots, a river (with waterfalls), a life-sized longhorn, a very big lone star crowning the peak of the huge glass enclosure, and thousands of feet of model railway track (complete with trestles that twist and turn and run over the public walkways in the atrium). Added to this are two pools, six restaurants and seven lounges, and a 25,000 square foot spa. And they’re kicking it up a notch this holiday season, decking the halls with 1.5 million glittering lights, a 50-foot rotating Christmas tree, and a life-sized Whoville (of Grinch fame), carved from more than 2 million pounds of ice.

But while this place is certainly big, they haven’t forgotten the small things—and those are sometimes the most important on a family vacation. Every room phone features a Consider it Done button—no need to dither over whether your request is better suited for the bell staff, the concierge or the front desk—all requests can be met with just one push of this happy-face button. In the bathroom, soaps and shampoos are bigger than most hotel freebies (i.e. you can probably get five or six showers out of them, instead of one or two), and there’s a handy pull-across clothes line that you can use after a busy day in the pools (or an evening filled with spills or spit-ups). Big isn’t everything.

— Tim Johnson, CF’s contributing editor

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