When it comes to enjoying and indulging in the finer things in life, Texas may not immediately come to mind, but it certainly should. Of course, the Lone Star State has long been regarded as one of the most obvious place to visit when you want to sink your teeth into delicious barbecue, cheer on your favorite football team or two step your way around town. But it's also bursting with luxe lifestyle offerings if you know where to look.
Photo Credit: RISE
For starters, there's a premium private aircraft service called RISE that makes commuting from the state's most notable cities (currently serving Austin, Dallas and Houston, with San Antonio on the way) an absolute breeze. The plane accommodates nine passengers at a time and flies on an ongoing schedule daily. The members-only service operates out of private terminals, which eliminates the hassle of navigating massive airports and waiting in line at security check-ins and baggage claims. At just $1,850 for an unlimited RISE membership, this option is a great solution those wanting to check out Texas’ major cities during one trip.
Photo Credit: Pecan Lodge BBQ
Once you arrive in Dallas, head straight to the famous Pecan Lodge BBQ restaurant, where a sizable crowd will most likely be waiting to dig into award-winning brisket, beef and pork ribs, handmade sausage and more. Although it's thriving with business now, the popular eatery had humble beginnings. Pecan Lodge started as a mom-and-pop operation selling their mouth-watering meats at a shed at a local farmer's market before the demand declared they needed to open a true brick-and-mortar establishment to keep up with the crowds. If you have a sweet tooth, save room for dessert. Southern treats like homemade banana pudding and decadent peach cobbler are reason enough to stand in line and take home leftovers.
Photo Credit: Hilton Anatole
As far as accommodations, Texas really does do things bigger. The Hilton Anatole, is a gorgeous property decorated with countless fine art pieces and collectible Asian sculptures. The suites are spacious and offer Peter Thomas Roth toiletries, inviting beds and plenty of plush seating and living areas to accommodate families or groups. Not to be missed is Jade Waters, the property's newly-renovated pool (to the tune of $20 million), complete with huge water slides, a beautiful swim-up bar, private cabanas and more to soak up the sun. And while you're sunning yourself, be sure to book an appointment at the hotel's V Spa, a beautiful oasis offering exquisite treatments for the face and body. Tip: The Vino Therapy massage is pure bliss for any weary traveler, and the perfect 80-minute escape.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Chan
For fine dining, make reservations at Uchi Dallas or SER Steak + Spirits. For a great sushi experience with fresh fish flown in from Japan daily, Uchi does not disappoint. The chef's tasting menu is the way to go for a generous sampling of the best of the best, as well as more inventive hot and cold fusion bites. Guests can expect dishes such as delicious cuts of bigeye tuna with watermelon and Thai chili, ocean trout with cantaloupe and country ham, foie gras, king crab sushi and dayboat scallops served with curry and Thai chimichurri. At SER, enjoy scenic views of the Dallas skyline and expect classic steakhouse offerings with a dynamic twist thanks to Executive Chef Kevin Spencer. You'll enjoy savory dishes like venison carpaccio, tartare deviled eggs, Wagyu steak, bone-in beef filets, Colorado lamb chops, pan-roasted duck breast and more.
Photo Credit: Dallas Cowboys
After dinner, head over to The Happiest Hour, an expansive rooftop bar for breathtaking views of the city. The massive venue fills up quickly, but thankfully there's ample room (two stories in addition to the outdoor area) to accommodate crowds, so while it may be packed, it's still quite pleasant. The cocktails are delicious, and you may even catch a celebrity sighting at the popular spot if you're lucky.
And of course, when it comes to weekend fun, there's nothing more exhilarating than attending a Dallas Cowboys game in a private suite. This experience is essential for any true NFL fan or even for a visitor looking to observe what all of the homestate hoopla is really all about. Watch the legendary Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and the boys in blue and white take home turf from the comfort of an elevated suite equipped with plenty of food and drinks for all of your friends.
Photo Credit: Hilton Austin
After you've fully immersed yourself in the glitz and glamour of Dallas, hop on over to the state's illustrious capital city Austin, in just over an hour flight with RISE. For an incredibly comfortable stay, book a room at the Hilton Austin, which will soon be home to the new Cannon + Belle restaurant by Chef Peter Maffei in a matter of weeks. The property is just one quick block away from 6th Street and situated among the city's finest attractions including UT Austin and the Texas State Capitol building, as well as buzz-worthy restaurants and live music venues around the corner. Currently undergoing a massive renovation, the hotel will boast new culinary concepts, flexible meeting spaces and a new lobby that will all be completed by the end of 2016.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Chan
During your local sightseeing, allot some time to visit the Circuit of the Americas, just outside of Austin. As the world's best Formula 1 race track, COTA is designed to host premier motorsports championships and to give drivers and spectators an unforgettable thrill of a lifetime. Along with races, the venue also plays host to musical performers such as Taylor Swift and Usher + The Roots and visitors can regularly attend various events throughout the year like MotoGP, X Games, Austin360 Amphitheater and RedFest. Of course, for true automotive enthusiasts, you can certainly rent the track in advance for a driving experience you'll never forget.