Nestled within a sprawling, wooded 27-acre campus just minutes from the Houston Galleria, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa is a luxe Texan getaway.
A favorite stay of late former President George H.W. Bush — who used it as his official voting residence in the ’80s and had a membership to its onsite fitness facility — the 289-room resort, health club, spa and conference center has held a special place in Houston history for the better part of the last four decades.
The hotel recently announced a $45 million renovation project — slated to begin in late 2019 to coincide with its 40-year anniversary in 2020 — that will upgrade and renovate its rooms and suites, adding additional outdoor event spaces, indoor and outdoor dining at The Houstonian Club, along with an upgrade and refurbishment of its Four-Star Trellis Spa. In anticipation of these changes, let’s revisit five things we love about this Bayou City treasure.
One of the best features of The Houstonian is how unabashedly Texan the design is. It’s not trendy or minimalistic — just the opposite.
Polished wooden floors and dark wood paneling feature prominently in the lobby. A large stone hearth anchors the Great Room sitting area, where the sculpture of a deer draws the eye, while mirrors and tapestries hang above plush couches and armchairs upholstered in understated, patterned textiles.
A celebration of the hotel’s heritage, the style is a tasteful, elegant slice of Texas Americana, and that’s why we love it.
The beautiful grounds
In a city known for its wide swaths of concrete and high-rises, entering the lush, verdant grounds of The Houstonian can be a breath of fresh air.
Winding oak- and pine-tree-shaded pathways, trickling fountains, flower-filled landscaping and well-appointed outdoor spaces provide a private, welcoming escape from the city’s predominantly urban developments.
Outdoor enthusiasts also will enjoy the nearly mile-long paved jogger’s pathway — recently resurfaced using recycled materials — with direct access to the adjacent Memorial Park and a wealth of other alfresco activities.
Thanks to a $3 million refresh and rebranding, dining at The Houstonian has never been better.
At Tribute, the hotel’s new flagship restaurant, executive chef Neal Cox’s menu offers a snapshot of Houston cuisine as it is today: wood-fired Gulf oysters and crab dip au gratin give a strong nod to the Gulf Coast, while dishes like tortilla soup with a spicy chile tomato broth, and duck and dirty rice channel Mexico and Louisiana, respectively, paying tribute (get it?) to the city’s diversity.
Southern dishes like bacon-wrapped Bandera quail, Post Oak grilled chicken, or the smoked wagyu short rib, which would give any barbecue joint in town a run for its money, also shine with regional authenticity.
Complementing the cuisine is an extensive wine cellar, featuring more than 3,500 bottles, with a classic cocktail and bar program to match.
Set in a standalone two-story Mediterranean-style building, the 17,000-square-foot Trellis Spa wraps you in its warm embrace from the moment you step foot through its doors.
Attendants here excel at the art of pampering. They’ll anticipate your every need, from escorting you to your locker and providing a warm neck wrap while you await your treatment to serving you tea and cookies — or just leaving you to rest in the tranquility room.
Facials, like the signature Diamond Life Infusion, utilize Spanish luxury skin care products from Natura Bissé. Make sure to leave enough time to use the sumptuous facilities, including a coed float pool, rainfall showers, steam room and Jacuzzi.
The fitness facilities
One of the best perks associated with a stay at The Houstonian is the access you get to its private health club.
This 175,000-square-foot fitness facility is a workout wonderland with state-of-the-art locker rooms (complete with wet facilities), a basketball court, an indoor running track, a rock-climbing wall, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, padel and racquetball courts, two kids’ play rooms and dedicated studios for cycling, boxing and Pilates. Every amenity imaginable is here, including personal trainers and a roster of more than 250 classes.
Want to swim laps or take a dip before you start your day? All four of the resort’s pools — the lap, resort, garden and kiddie options — are climate controlled for comfort. The water slide at the family-friendly resort pool is also a source of endless entertainment, especially during Houston’s hot summer months.