The Sinclair, the ‘World’s First All-Digital Hotel,’ Opens in Downtown Fort Worth

The Sinclair, Autograph Collection celebrated its grand opening last week with a Roaring Twenties party, and Intel hosted a drone show in its honor. The firework-like display featured 500 drones that shifted between themed scenes (and had passersby wondering what was going on in the sky).

An incredibly fitting celebration last week anchored a day commemorating the grand opening of The Sinclair, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, in Fort Worth. 

Widely known as a historic landmark near Sundance Square, The Sinclair was constructed in 1929 and used as an office space by its namesake Sinclair Oil Company. But, after being bought by local developer Farukh Aslam of Sinclair Holdings in 2013, the art deco building underwent a major refresh, and is now a beautifully restored luxury boutique hotel.

The Sinclair sits at 512 Main St. [Photo: Dallas Innovates]

Old meets new at The Sinclair. With much of the original architecture still intact, stepping inside is like a trip to the early 20th century. But nestled between history and Fort Worth flair is the most cutting-edge technology—digital showers, presence sensors, smart electric mirrors, wallpaper TVs, and more—giving The Sinclair its reputation as being the “world’s first all-digital hotel.”

Here’s a sampling of Intel’s drone light show, which lasted around 4-5 minutes. Watch a full video here. [Gif: Dallas Innovates]

And the much-anticipated opening (the 164-room hotel soft opened last fall) was celebrated as such. A glitzy Roaring Twenties-themed party invited guests to explore every facet of the hotel, from the Lobby Bar and The Wicked Butcher, a new restaurant concept by locally-based DRG Concepts that spans the entirety of the basement, to the 17th floor rooftop lounge and two-story Penthouse Suite. Living up to its high-tech name, a 500-drone light show, which caused some early buzz when it was being rehearsed, from Intel topped off the evening.

You might remember the drones from the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang, when Intel set a Guinness World Record for most drones flown simultaneously. Intel drone tech will be part of the Olympic Games through 2024.

[Photo: Dallas Innovates]

Coinciding with the festivities was the news that Intel’s IoT team collaborated with The Sinclair to totally transform the guest experience. That included in-room automation for lighting, climate control, and a virtual assistant.

“We have some of the most innovative things that are tried for the first time here,” Aslam said at the afternoon ribbon cutting ceremony, noting the smart building’s energy efficiency. The Sinclair is the first to use Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, which powers amenities like the lights, mini fridges, and window shades. Its backup system is also battery-powered, replacing the need for a diesel generator.

Farukh Aslam envisioned the next-gen hotel when he bought the building years ago. [Photo: Dallas Innovates]

Vernon Bryant, who previously ran Fort Worth’s Southwest Bank and is Aslam’s personal mentor, cut the ribbon at the ceremony. [Photo: Dallas Innovates]

“I’m confident that this building, with everything it brings together, is going to be a stunning example of what we believe in very firmly at Cisco, which is that when you connect people with information, you can do powerful, transformational types of projects like this one,” a Cisco official said at the ribbon cutting. Cisco deployed its Catalyst Digital Building Series Switch for The Sinclair, a first-of-its-kind invention that laid “the foundation for powering and connecting building subsystems into a unified network.”

“This building is going to demand less of the earth. It is going to bring delightful experiences to all guests. [My hope] is those guests leave this property inspired to take the principles that have been placed here in this building into their industries, into their jobs, and make the world a better place.”

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