Drake makes no secret of his affection for Houston. He namedrops our fair city in at least a dozen songs (“Houstatlantavegas,” anyone?), showing love to institutions like the Galleria and Warehouse Live and even Treasures. He’s so dedicated, he even has the ‘Stros logo tattooed on his shoulder, which he was probably more than happy to show off on or around, say, November 1.
But true Drizzy fans know that when Drake comes to town—which is, evidently, pretty frequently—he only stays at one place: Hotel Derek.
And now, the luxury boutique hotel in the boujee River Oaks District is showing love back with a new line of merchandise. Among the cheekily branded offerings is one campaign slogan we can get behind: “Drake for President.”
“He always has such nice things to say to the staff and about the hotel,” Hotel Derek sales and marketing director Stephanie Summerall says. “He’s a great fan of us, and us [of] him.”
Drake’s relationship with Hotel Derek goes back to the start of his career: It’s rumored he signed his lucrative deal with Lil Wayne at that very spot.
“I didn’t work here then, so I can’t obviously validate whether or not that’s true, but that is the word on the street,” Summerall says.
While we can’t definitively pinpoint where the legendary signing went down, we do know the process at least started at Hotel Derek. Drake said so himself during a visit to Houston in 2014 when he relayed how Weezy booked him a flight into town.
“I remember so clearly, I stayed at the Hotel Derek,” he said then. “I sat there and [was] just so nervous, waited about eight hours to meet him. That hotel was the beginning. … From that point, I never really left [Houston]. He ended up signing me after two weeks [here] and I put out my mixtape under his watch, so this is where it started.”
Obviously, the hotel—a favorite of other visiting stars, too, like Diddy and Justin Timberlake—made an impression on young Aubrey. On 2015’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, he and Travis Scott—Missouri City’s native son—rap about a whole bunch of Houston spots in “Company.” Drake’s last verse on the track ends as such:
Yeah, that’s why you gotta come through quick, quick
I’m posted at the Derek up on Westheimer
Hit me when you’re done your shift.
If you want to rep Hotel Derek à la Drizzy, there are around a dozen designs to choose from, including such truisms as “All the pretty people live in H-Town” and plenty of references to being inside the Loop. The latter was initially perceived as a disadvantage when, in 2012, a new management company acquired the hotel. Being on the “wrong side” of 610—away from the Galleria—was a weakness, people said.
“All of us were sitting around the room, and we’re like, ‘wait a minute–we’re in the loop, all of them are out of the Loop! I think they’re wrong,’” Summerall recalls, and so the effective marketing campaign urging guests to “stay in the Loop” was born.
“We go rogue in a lot of things; we’re a little bit edgy,” Summerall says. “We’re kind of known as the [hotel] that pushes the boundaries a little bit.”
New merch, which ranges in price from $28 for tanks to $35 for yoga pants or polos, is available at the hotel gift shop—call or visit to snag yours, and maybe you’ll even run into Drake in the lobby.