NYLO - The Starbucks of boutique hotels?

Plano, TX

We stayed up in Dallas for the New Year, attending a birthday party for an old friend of mine. I’ll likely write more about that later, but what I want to talk about before it slips my mind is the really unusual hotel we stayed: The NYLO hotel in Plano.

The NYLO is Hilton’s attempt to mass-produce the boutique hotel experience. I’d say that they did better than I expected, but there are still a few wrinkle that remind you that you’re staying in a big chain hotel and not a tiny one-off.

The name “NYLO” stands for “New York lofts”. That’s very much evident by the amount of concrete on display. The lobby is concrete. The meeting room is concrete. The walls, floor, and ceiling of the rooms are all concrete. Is there exposed plumbing? You bet! Uncovered lighting? Do you even have to ask?

But ya know, this isn’t a bad thing at all, even if it feels a little contrived. The big hotels have felt pretty much the same for as long as I can remember, which is a disturbingly long time. This is a very modern take on a hotel. The bed, which was comfy, is on a raised platform at the end of the room. There are curtains hanging from the concrete walls. And, hallelujah, there are electrical outlets everywhere. That one little feature makes more of a difference than I’d thought it would.

What didn’t work was the bathroom, which had a sliding door (fine) and a shower instead of a tub & shower (bummer, but not a big deal). The problem was that the walls of the bathroom didn’t reach the ceiling. This may well be “authentic”, but sometimes authenticity gets in the way of common sense. When there are two people (or more) in the room, you really, really want a bathroom area that is isolate. Also, weirdly enough, the toilet paper was awful. I’m sure it’s biodegradable or something, but it was super thin and very rough.

One thing I would strongly recommend they do, going forward, is to lose a little bit of their floor plan efficiency and break up the hallways a little so you don’t just have a bank of doors on either side of hall. If you’re trying to role-play as a boutique hotel, nothing breaks the illusion faster than those long, straight corridors.

The exterior has some of the same problems that the Rangers’ soon-to-be-replaced stadium does. It’s very retro and urban and, thus, completely out of place with its surroundings. It looks like it belongs downtown instead of in the middle of the Land of Corporate Headquarters in deep suburbia. It’s not a bad look; it just highlight’s the fact that this is a chain hotel in boutique drag.

The room was smaller than what you’re normally expect, but that was fine. We had a king-sized bed and enough room for our clothes and, unless you’re planning on entertaining, that’s more than enough. The price reflected the space savings: We paid under $100 for a king room on New Year’s Eve, so yay for that.

Would I stay there again? Absolutely. The price was right, the place was clean, the staff were good, and I appreciate the modernity, even it is to “boutique hotels” what Starbucks is to “neighborhood coffee shops”.