SOVA Micro-Rooms & Social Hotel, Dallas
Will Ross, February 16, 2023
Like many American cities, Dallas fell victim to the influence of car driving as the primary mode for mid-century urbanism. The historic centre of Dallas and the gateway to Texan economy was hollowed out during the 1960s, sending residential development to the suburbs. Thanks to a handful of developers and city support over the past decade, Downtown Dallas has been improving its offering to residents, extending its appeal beyond office hours to cater to visitors too.
SOVA Micro-Rooms & Social Hotel (SOVA) is one hotel playing a role in Downtown Dallas’ revival. Located on the edge of Downtown 400m from the vibrant warehouse district of Deep Ellum and distinctly minimalist, the 39-bedroom property provides a more affordable option to staying in Dallas. Prices on weekends hover around $135 including tax, whereas you would be lucky to get change from $250 when staying nearby at the likes of The Joule and Thompson.
Room types are concise with the option of regular bedrooms which varying in size (with some being windowless), and a suite option – the SOVA Cloud Suite. There is no fitness centre, but guests can use Cowboys Fit Downtown on a 3-day free access pass. A hotel bar and lounge space provide extra space for guests who need to work on a laptop for a few hours – not a developed workspace in itself.
Two dozen restaurants, bars and coffee shops are available within walking distance. Highlights would be National Anthem (located opposite SOVA) – your modern American fare – and Sassetta at The Joule Hotel. Two miles away in the design quarter is the impressive Italian, Carbone, also on the same side of the town as the Bishops Arts District and Written by the Seasons.
Unlike Austin, Dallas is yet to embrace cycling infrastructure but has welcomed the inevitable rise of running. Runners should first cut due West or North-West from SOVA and connect with the Katy Trail, a largely shaded trail that sets a new standard for urban-recreational design.
Tracing the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT), and named after the phonetic pronunciation of its “KT” abbreviation, the 3.5-mile trail is made of a tarmac and tartan strip. Closed to motorized vehicles, the Katy Trail elegantly connects Downtown with the northern suburbs, roughly the location of Southern Methodist University (SMU). The tartan surface means it can be used as a strip for wearing spikes if you need to complete a speed workout – just be away of other runners and cyclists ferrying up and down the tarmac strips.
Cyclists visiting Dallas can rent premium road bikes from Playtri – they have a store at 6465 E Mockingbird Ln. Daily rentals start fom $65 for bikes retailing at under $100, reaching up to $200 per day rate for the highest-end frames ($7k+).
Nearby White Rock Lake presents a large loop for cyclists – a flat, 9.3-mile tarmac route. Further out is the Cottonwood Trail – a 3.5-mile trail from Richardson, north of Dallas, also the longer Chisholm Trail – a 20-mile trail that connects Plano to McKinney.
Swimmers can choose one of the six lanes at the T. Boon Pickings YMCA, a 25-yard tub that’s a 4-minute walk north from SOVA. Playtri Open Water Club organise open water swims from March on Saturday mornings at Pier 121 Marina, Lake Lewisville.
A Barry’s Bootcamp is located not far from the Katy Trail, for those looking to workout indoors with music.
Head to Sova for more information, visit sovahotels.com. This review is based on a stay in room 302 in (February 2023).