Texas restaurateur Tim Love opens Hotel Otto: Travel Weekly
As Texas chef and restaurateur Tim Love’s culinary career heated up, he increasingly found himself on the road to fulfill his growing number of obligations. It wasn’t long before this unplanned crash course in hospitality led him to form his customer service focus on the hotels he was staying at.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the hospitality industry,” Love said. “I travel a lot and I’m a big amenities guy. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of big hotels that seem to be giving up on amenities these days, and thought it would be worth trying to ‘build one – something unique and different.’
This vision to create the kind of hotel he loved to book on his own travels led to the self-proclaimed “microresort” Hotel Otto, which opened this summer in Fort Worth, Texas, with a solid menu of experiences. and amenities, many of which revolve around food and drink.
Love is the owner and executive chef of the Fort Worth restaurants White Elephant Saloon, Love Shack, Woodshed Smokehouse and Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. He also branched out, opening pop-up businesses in Seattle and restaurants in Houston and Austin, Texas; Knoxville, TN; and other cities. He’s also worked on food festivals and TV shows, including co-hosting CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup,” where he took on Joe Bastianich as they evaluated and poured money into new concepts. of restaurants.
In 2019, Love opened Gemelle, a pizza and pasta restaurant on the banks of the Trinity River in Fort Worth that includes a 10,000 square foot garden. He saw the land as the perfect place to test his hotel idea.
A room at the Otto Hotel. Photo credit: Kelsey Wilson/Courtesy of Otto Hotel
Each of Hotel Otto’s eight 160-square-foot bungalows are made from converted shipping containers and feature a queen-size bed, walk-in shower, Hermès toiletries, bathroom amenities, and a bathroom. a full bar, coffee maker and refrigerator. Guests can dine in-room on private rooftop terraces adorned with Adirondack chairs, Yeti coolers, and Solo stoves (for a smoke-free bonfire). The property offers bocce courts and a swimming pool also fashioned from an old shipping container that can be heated or cooled depending on the weather.
After developing the rooms and facilities, Love and his team decided “to add lots of fun experiences”.
Guests must be at least 21 years old and check-in takes place at Le Gemelle’s bar, where they are greeted with a cocktail. Every night there’s a “Knocktail” hour when a staff member goes from room to room with a cart offering a few different free cocktails. You will also find Aperol spritz kits in the room with recipe cards.
The hotel offers electric bikes for rent and easy access to Fort Worth’s extensive Trinity Trails network and kayaking on the Trinity River.
“We have a guest experience manager, or concierge, available 24/7, and we also do trail riding,” Love said. “You can kayak down the river. It’s a two and a half hour paddle where you get a cool perspective of the city. You end up downtown and then we have a picnic with champagne and wine. deli.”
Hotel Otto’s bungalows feature rooftop terraces with Adirondack chairs, solo stoves, and Yeti coolers. Photo credit: Kelsey Wilson/Courtesy of Otto Hotel
The hotel and restaurant host live music on the weekends, and guests can also use various theme cards provided by Otto for barbecue, taco, and margarita tours. Guests also receive priority reservations at all seven Love’s restaurants in the Fort Worth area, and they can charge a meal at any of them to their room.
“One of the most fun parts of the project was approaching the hotel through the eyes of a restaurateur,” Love said. “In a restaurant, you’re always looking to improve the experience. It’s more about ambiance and service. For example, when customers hang out in the common areas, I want staff to bring them a glass of wine , not that they expect them to come and ask for one.”
In the on-site garden, you can carve your own basil for a Margherita de Gemelle pizza or harvest berries to mash into a cocktail.
“Or sit there, and we’ll do anything for you,” Love said.
All eight rooms can be reserved for small events or gatherings of family and friends, and the property can host parties of up to 250 people.
Love is encouraged after a deliberately quiet start and considers adding rooms.
“Ideally, I think it’s a 12-14 room hotel,” he said. “Otherwise, we’re very happy with the results and excited to spread the word. We started very, very slowly on purpose. I’m not a hotelier…I had an idea and tried to make it happen. I I think it turned out really cool. We think it’s the most equipped hotel in our city, and we’re extremely proud of it.