Located in the heart of downtown, the Four Seasons Hotel Houston is an expansive hotel with the sort of state-of-the-art facilities and lavish amenities business travelers and families can enjoy. Kid-friendly touches like mini-me bathrobes, complimentary milk and cookies, and babysitting services will keep little Jimmy happy while you enjoy some well-deserved grown-up time at the roof-top pool to end all pools, with its spectacular city views and a fully stocked bar for R&R starved parents. It might be family friendly, but it’s still a downtown hot spot with an elegant Italian hotel restaurant Quattro (see the EAT chapter of our guide for more on this).
This luxury boutique hotel recalls an Italian palazzo, with its sumptuous brocaded rooms in autumnal colors. And it’s not just a pretty face. Located in Post Oak, Houston’s choice shopping district, Hotel Granduca offers all the necessary comforts for an H-town tourist. Sizeable suites come with a full kitchen that’s likely to remain untouched once you venture to one of the city’s most iconic restaurants only a stone’s throw (or even an elevator ride) away. Not that you have to leave the hotel for a good time—travelers and Houstonians alike flock to the hotel restaurant, Ristorante Cavour, and the intimate bar often hosts local musicians. There’s also a gym, should you be feeling virtuous.
An excellent choice for the young professional traveler, this hotel offers cozy guest rooms full of character, as well as extended stay suites. The hotel is as comfortable as it is functional, and as convenient as it is charming. Yes, the gym has cardio and weight machines, but they're a vibrant fire engine red. Yes, there is immediate access to Houston’s legal and business districts, but there’s also a lively lounge that showcases an inspired cocktail menu, and Voice, the eclectic hotel restaurant with Chef Greg Lowry at the helm, buzzes with activity.
Hotel Sorella is an understated oasis in the heart of Houston's CITYCENTRE shopping development, boasting sleek design … not to mention great perks like complimentary continental breakfast, available every morning in a lobby that boasts beautiful views of the gardens beyond the hotel. With modern accommodations for over 200, the hotel offers its guests spacious and sleekly designed rooms and suites, sophisticated onsite dining at Bistro Alex and Bistro Bar, a pool, a meeting and event space, and a luxe spa and fitness center.
Hotel Zaza is located in the serene Museum District of downtown Houston, giving art buffs easy access to the impressive Museum of Fine Arts among other cultural hubs. Within the walls of the hotel are a host of amenities including a spa, fitness center, and the trendy Monarch restaurant. Guestrooms are sexy—with pop art on the walls and wild animal print furniture that bring a touch of chic. But they’re also plush (and practical) with high-speed internet and down comforters. It’s one of the hottest spots in Houston, constantly buzzing and consistently delivering exceptional service.
The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa sits on an 18-acre wooded oasis right in the heart of the city. Combining first-class comfort with casual elegance and attentive, personalized service, this classic Houston hotel is kitted out for the most discerning visitor. And it’s pretty darned lavish—the grandeur of this palatial hotel is equaled only by the 125,000 square foot fitness facility, where walking from one side to the other could be considered a workout. All this luxury draws a thriving business in high-end weddings. With a gargantuan kiddie Centre Pompidou-like climbing complex in the spa, we suspect you won’t see much of your kids while you’re here.
La Colombe d'Or is one of the most singular hotels in Houston. While many hotels in the city cater to the bigger-is-better crowd, this luxury hotel is one of the smallest in the world. The main building is a mansion that houses five spacious one-bedroom suites, some featuring sitting areas and dining rooms. And across the street sit the Villas at the Court of Colombe with one- or two-bedroom suites with separate living areas and kitchens. The hotel is optimally located for tourists, minutes away from some of the city's best museums and attractions. And for the culinary minded, Cinq at La Colombe d'Or is perfect fit for this luxurious and intimate hotel.
If you’re looking for all the beautiful people in Dallas, they’re at Hotel Zaza, lounging pool–side, often behind enormous sunglasses. Dragonfly, the hotel’s restaurant, looks like someone scoured the exotic flea markets of the globe to put it together: antique Thai wooden cabinets, bejeweled chandeliers and Indian embroidered silks. But it’s the hotel’s themed suites that shock and delight. Ask for the Rock Star suite if you really want to feel like one; they take the theme to serious rock star excess with plush Gothic thrones and intimate pictures of movie star couples. If you’re feeling a more restrained kind of luxury, go for the Russian Royals suite and lounge on antique tasseled chaises–longues amidst black and white photographs of Nicolas II and his family in Faberge egg–like frames
Among the sprawling mega hotels of Dallas, Hotel St Germain is a refreshingly cozy converted house reminiscent of an auberge in the French countryside. You know the type: the charming lady that checks you in also helps you take your bags up, makes your dinner reservation, and gives you detailed hand–written directions when you leave. Downstairs, the old–world candlelit dining room and lounge have exposed wood beams and romantic nooks by the fireplace with heirloom roses. Chef Chad Martin serves classic dishes like Oyster Rockefeller and Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Confit and Potatoes au Gratin on equally extravagant antique plateware.
The Dallas hotel is luxurious landmark, with plush rooms and soaring lobby ceilings. Its fine dining establishment headed up for over 20 years by Dallas mentor chef Dean Fearing has been taken over by John Tesar, previously of rm Las Vegas. The luxurious dining room and its conservatory overlooking the courtyard is all full-bloomed pink roses and floor-length white tablecloths and the menu is Tesar's homage to classic French fine dining to with dishes like Lobster Bisque or Mussel Souffle with Green Curry Froth.
In the heart of downtown Dallas, the Adolphus is home to the luxurious, over–the–top French Room with the cherub–festooned ceiling and gilded gold walls of a French palace. Its silverware rests not directly on the white linen tablecloth but on crystal cutlery holders — this is seriously classic hotel fine dining. Chef Jason Weaver and Sommelier Gregory Cheval make a great team and Weaver’s dishes are not as old–school as the ambience suggests: tiny parcels of fluke are wrapped in smooth, cold foie gras terrine and drizzled with a bright pink rhubarb sauce and spicy wasabi sprouts. Check out the piano that was nearly lost onboard the Titanic but made it to the hotel’s lobby where it’s played every evening as guests enjoy their pre–dinner cocktails.
With daily wine tastings in the bright, airy lobby and a resourceful, helpful staff, the Palomar manages to be comfortably trendy without intimidating their guests. Chef Tom Fleming’s restaurant next door, Central 214, is a comfortable, chic space with a hearty American menu. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a Sunday morning, don’t miss the bottomless Mimosa for $20 before you wobble off to the pool. If you’re staying in, Fleming's excellent room service menu puts the more expensive silver-domed room service of much fancier hotels to shame — order the tangy artichoke gratin or one his ultra–thin crusted pizzas.
Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin (named for the state’s founder) is a stone’s throw from the Texas State Capitol Building, and the city’s power brokers regularly meet on its upstairs terrace for drinks, bargaining, and a taste of Chef Patrick Newman’s upscale Texas-style bar food (think ancho shrimp and five-spice quail) at Stephen F’s. Travelers in the know enjoy the perks of staying at an international chain (reward points, ahem) with an ample dose of local charm—the hotel was originally constructed in 1924 and has historic landmark status. Intercontinental club members can enjoy complimentary Champagne at teatime, cocktails at happy hour, and a breakfast buffet for the morning after. And all guests can take advantage of the whirlpool, heated lap pool, and extensive fitness equipment.
Step out of the boho-chic shops of South Congress and into the urban oasis that it Hotel San Jose. Built in 1939 as a motor court, the refurbished bungalow-style rooms circle a postage stamp pool and courtyard, where you can drink sangria and nibble on appetizers before hitting the town. The décor is rustic Texas modern with low-lying platform beds, Eames chairs, concrete floors, cowhide rugs, and vintage rock posters. Plus, each room has a front porch and chairs; it’s a mini Southern home away from home, only with a better decorator. Low-key luxury is the key here: mini-fridges are packed with Texas Amber Bock and other local brews, along with sparkling Topochiko, and the bathroom is stocked with herbal Malin and Goetz soaps and shampoos. For breakfast, and a taste of the Austin community, just cross the parking lot for a coffee, an egg and bean taco, and an hour or so of people watching at Jo’s.
Hilton Austin offers the conveniences of a large conference hotel with the ultimate downtown location—it’s steps from Sixth Street party central and the Austin convention center. Its Tower Health Club and Spa boasts a pool, state-of-the art fitness equipment, and a tranquil spa for pampering. And guests can stop by fine-dining Finn & Porter at happy hour for specials on Chef Triet Huynh’s sushi or stay for a memorable dinner of creative steaks and seafood from Chef Ryan Gosset. Comfortable, business-ready rooms complete the stay.
The Driskill is the grand dame of Austin Hotels, and, recently celebrating its 125th anniversary, she’s still the pulsing heartbeat of the city. On any given night, the upstairs bar and lounge area is packed with families, businessmen, and revelers, all listening to live music and taking in a swig of the city. And a great number of the city’s events begin up its sweeping staircase in a fit-for-a-belle ballroom. The service at the Driskill is impeccable; every member of the staff takes a great pride in passing on a piece of Texas hospitality. Whether you’re dining at the four-star Driskill Grill or requesting a new toothbrush, you are the Driskill’s top priority. Its 189 guest rooms—decorated with Hill Country charm—are split between the original 1886 structure and a newer tower constructed in 1929. If you’re looking for history, great food, or just a good time, the Driskill is waiting.
With views of San Antonio’s eponymous canal, the Westin Riverwalk Hotel is a luxury hotel that eschews corporate stringency for a bit of Spanish colonial warmth in its spacious lobby. Rooms lose some of that ambience but are as well-equipped as you might expect for a Westin, and larger than many of its other sister hotels. Notable amenities include outdoor heated pool, spa and a Spanish version of high tea offered daily. Also a plus: restaurant Zocca offers rustic Mediterranean fare by night and a worthwhile Tex-Mex breakfast during the early hours, both of which can be eaten in a spacious alcove next to the river.
In the heart of Texas Hill Country is luxury beacon Éilan Hotel, which opened in 2012 and is a European-style boutique with a warm Texan approach. Many of the 139 regular rooms or 26 suites feature hardwood floors and pebble-stone flooring, rainforest showers, and dark Michelangelo or white Carrera marble. Éilan Hotel may be a few miles from many of San Antonio’s tourist attractions, but with both an indoor lap pool and outdoor pool, tennis courts, spa, and even a golf simulation room, it has a number of pastimes. Of course, one of the biggest hotel attractions is the flagship restaurant, Sustenio, where Chef David Gilbert has created contemporary Texan fare that boasts an in-house charcuterie program, ceviche bar, and fresh on-hotel garden produce.