We recently set out to document and create in-depth guides for all of the key sites in the Dallas/Fort Worth area associated with the tragic death of John F Kennedy.
It seemed logical that we would start things off at the Hilton Fort Worth, which has a close connection to JFK’s last moments.
In this article, I’ll give you a breakdown of what to expect if you stay at the Hilton Fort Worth, including some insight into the connection the property shares with JFK.
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We booked the Hilton Fort Worth not because it was easy *but because it was hahd*.
Okay, sorry, couldn’t resist.
We booked this hotel because it seemed like a necessary stay for our itinerary, which was set up for us to explore all of the sites in the DFW area associated with the Kennedy assassination.
We paid $156 for one night which I felt was a pretty good deal for this historic hotel.
It was also nice to earn nearly 10,000 Hilton Honors points from this stay thanks to Hilton Diamond elite status and a special promotion. At a valuation of .54 cents per point, that’s like getting back $53 on the stay or close to 20% back on the entire stay. Not bad.
Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!
Location overview: Sundance Square
The Hilton Fort Worth is located in Sundance Square, which is a pedestrian-friendly district right in the heart of downtown Fort Worth.
Surrounding the hotel, you’ll find a lot of dining options including many quality steakhouses such as: Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Capital Grille, and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse.
There are also a lot of shops and different forms of entertainment like theaters and concert venues. You’re also just a block away from the Fort Worth Convention Center.
In short, the hotel has a great central location for exploring Fort Worth.
Constructed from 1920 to 1921, the hotel is known for being the last place where JFK delivered a public speech and for being the location where he spent his last night before his assassination.
Although at the time of the assassination the hotel was under a different brand and name (the “Hotel Texas”), you’ll get a sense of that history throughout the entire property and even the surrounding block.
On every floor, you’ll find blown up photographs chronicling JFK’s last day, many if not all of them taken at the time of JFK’s visit to Fort Worth.
On the second floor of the hotel, you can find the historic Crystal Ballroom where JFK gave his last speech to the Chamber of Commerce and over 2,000 guests during breakfast.
Just before that event, JFK actually gave a speech outside the hotel to a crowd that gathered during a cold and rainy November morning.
It was apparently an impromptu speech that didn’t last long but that stole the hearts of many Texans there to catch a glimpse of the president.
To be honest, it was a bit chilling to take in the ballroom and impossible to not think about the last moments of JFK.
After he gave a speech in this ballroom, he would then make his way to the airport and then fly into Dallas Love where he would embark on his final motorcade through the city of Dallas.
You can watch a video of the speech here:
In the corridors outside the ballroom, framed photographs and news clippings from the time of JFK’s fateful visit to Texas are on display.
Just outside the property, there is a well done tribute/memorial with a statue, engravings, and photographs that depict JFK’s legacy as well as his visit to DFW.
As for the actual room JFK stayed in (suite 850), the hotel has undergone renovations since 1963 and that room no longer exists.
However, if you head to the eighth floor and go to the rooms near 808 and 810 that is reportedly where the old suite JFK stayed in was located.
Interestingly, when JFK stayed at the hotel, it supplied 14 works of art from famed artists like Picasso and Vincent van Gogh for the president to admire.
The Vincent van Gogh painting on display was an oil painting “Road with Peasant Shouldering a Spade” pictured below.
If you are willing to splurge, you can shell out a couple of grand to rent the JFK suite on the 15th floor.
We flirted with the possibility of splurging on this suite but when we called to inquire about booking it, it was already booked up for the weekend.
We arrived around 5pm and decided to valet which would end up costing $32 for the night.
As we approached the front desk for check-in, we were greeted by some friendly hotel staff members who promptly got us situated for our room on the 10th floor.
We had been automatically upgraded and received notification about it a few days prior thanks to the new upgrade system Hilton is doing.
After getting checked in, we scoped out the lobby which was a nice and open area, complete with chandelier lighting and a café.
The large star found on the floor in the middle of the lobby reminded me a lot of the big star at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.
There is a mini-market area near the check-in desk which has a cool self check out system allowing you to easily put items on your room tab.
As we entered the room, I was impressed by how spacious it was. From a square foot perspective, this room is basically a junior suite without any partition.
The king bed was pretty comfortable and all of the bedding appeared to be very clean.
On either side of the bed we had lamps with power outlets but no USB ports.
There was a sofa with a (misaligned) coffee table in front of it and behind that, were some pretty good views looking out at downtown Fort Worth.
The room had a pretty basic workstation area with a couple of outlets accessible on the lamp.
The room did have one of the air purification systems called Pure Wellness. It caused the room to have a very strong scent which to be honest was a bit overwhelming and took a while to get adjusted to.
I guess it was nice to think about how clean the air was in the room but I could have done without it due to the strong scent.
While I loved that the room was big, it did mean that the TV was extra far away from the bed.
Underneath the TV is where you’ll find the mini-fridge and also the hotel coffee maker.
As for the bathroom area, the sink is detached from the toilet and shower room. It offers a good amount of counter space and a square vanity mirror, which I have rarely seen.
It’s a interesting little set up because there is a little nook behind the sink which had some decent views out the window.
The shower was pretty spacious and modern and we did not have any issues with water pressure or soap dispensaries.
The only complaint about the bathroom is that the toilet and shower were very close together, making it a pretty tight fit.
The dining area for breakfast was very spacious and offered a lot of seating options. During other hours of the day you can also grab drinks and other snacks or meals in this area.
Due to our elite status we were given two $12 credits for a total of $24 in food and beverage credits. Breakfast was about $21 per person so this meant we were spending about $9 per person out of pocket for breakfast.
I don’t think this breakfast was worth close to $21 per person but because we were only coming out of pocket $9, I was able to live with the price a lot easier.
With that said, the breakfast did have a pretty good range of options including fresh fruit.
For hot options they had eggs, home fries, bacon, and even biscuits and gravy.
The scrambled eggs were about what you would expect for a hotel breakfast but the bacon was actually surprisingly good.
I was pretty excited to see biscuits and gravy at a hotel breakfast but unfortunately those did not impress.
They also had some other standard options like oatmeal, toast, bagels, muffins, and cereal. I personally enjoyed the muffins.
The hotel also has a fitness center which looked pretty high-quality to me.
The Hilton Fort Worth is a hotel rich in history and worth staying at especially if you have any affinity for JFK or presidential history.
For the price point, I thought the hotel was actually a pretty great deal especially with all of the Hilton promotions we took advantage of.
Overall, I was not crazy about the breakfast but I really liked the general location of the hotel and did thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in history even if the history was on the tragic side.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.