Hotel Boomtown

3 Coming Attractions to Houston’s Hospitality Scene

More new lodging options to get excited about.

By Gwendolyn Knapp December 27, 2019 Published in the January 2020 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Rendering of the Westin Houston Medical Center exterior.

Supposedly opening right as Houstonia prints this very issue

The Westin Houston Medical Center

Step into the lobby level of the brand-spanking-new Westin Houston Medical Center, and you can’t help but feel calm. There are skylights inspired by Rice’s Turrell Skyspace, plus green space and a gorgeous rammed-earth wall. Art abounds—18 pieces commissioned by local artists, including Edgar Medina—in the laidback lounging areas.

The project, which we got to preview during a hard-hat tour, is a transformation of the historic Medical Towers, which opened in 1956 and soon became a modern architectural landmark, serving as an anchor for the burgeoning Texas Medical Center—hundreds of doctors had offices here.

In 2014 Houston developers Pearl Hospitality—known for their transformation of the 1910 SF Carter building into the regal JW Marriott Houston Downtown—bought the landmark, which by that point had seen better days. But rather than demolish it to make way for new construction, as is the norm around here, Pearl opted to renovate. The hotel itself is much-needed: Each day over 160,000 people visit the TMC, which is home to 21 hospitals and eight academic and research institutions.

Spanning 18 floors, the Westin’s 273 rooms pay homage to the building’s history with a midcentury aesthetic—sleek lines; mod, kick-back chairs that Austin Powers would look great in; posh leather headboards; hardwood-like vinyl flooring that allows for easy wheelchair access; and high-top work tables with spectacular views through the building’s original windows.

The hotel’s amenities, meanwhile, are decidedly modern. There’s a state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness room and run program (they’ll even lend you shoes); complimentary essential oils; and amazing en-suite soaking tubs. Terrace 54, the in-house restaurant and bar, opens onto the hotel’s west terrace, where happy hour comes with incredible views of the Galleria across town. There’s also a resort-style pool—complete with cabanas, water chaises, bar service, and downtown views, too—so you can sip a cocktail and wonder if you’re really in the Med Center after all. 1709 Dryden St.,

Renderings of the new Westin's pool and lobby.

Coming Soon

Hyatt Place Downtown

The 16-story, 150-suite hotel inside a historic ’50s-era building originally developed for Southwestern Bell will maintain its midcentury-modern design elements—including marble floors and detailing near the elevators—while also offering creature comforts including an in-house restaurant, a top-floor bar with skyline views, an indoor pool, a fitness center, and—of course—wi-fi, which guests will undoubtedly need, as the Hyatt Place brand caters to business travelers, right down to the free breakfast. 1114 Texas Ave.; anticipated opening early 2020.

Rendering of The Allen.

Coming Soon

The Thompson Hotel

Part of Houston-based DC Partners’ $500 million five-tower mixed-use development The Allen, this forthcoming hotel is a project of Hyatt’s luxury brand, which is known for bringing local elements into its interior design. What exactly that will mean in Houston is a mystery at the moment, but some things are known: The Thompson will boast a decked-out ballroom, fine dining, a pool with a bar and cabanas, and glorious views of downtown and Buffalo Bayou—the 170 guest rooms will overlook the waterway at Allen Parkway and Gillette—although it hadn’t broken ground as of press time. There are 95 condos planned, too, in case you love the place so much you never want to leave. 1717 Allen Parkway; anticipated opening 2023.

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