The first thing I notice in Room 1204 of the Post Oak Hotel is the art above the couch, where two black-and-white framed photographs are mounted to the wall. On the left is President John F. Kennedy. On the right is Marilyn Monroe. The next thing I notice is Tilman Fertitta’s voice. The Houston billionaire’s distinctive drawl appears to be coming from … the bathtub?
Indeed, here he is on a 27-inch TV screen embedded on the bathroom wall, in view of the luxurious soaking tub. On a video loop, Fertitta promotes his recently released first book, Shut Up and Listen!, in which he shares how he became the 153rd-richest person in America.
This hotel—a gleaming, 250-room, 38-story masterpiece carved from limestone, granite, and marble—is the soaring centerpiece of Fertitta’s 10-acre mixed-use development in the heart of Uptown. If there were ever a doubt that Fertitta is, in fact, the king of hospitality, the Post Oak—the only hotel in the entire city to earn AAA’s coveted Five-Diamond Award, and just six months after its March 2018 opening, no less—has smashed that to pieces.
I finally figure out how to turn off the TV before surveying the palatial bathroom. Encased from top to bottom in glistening white marble, it’s a sight to behold, with a massive mirror spanning the entire wall over the double-sink vanity, a heavenly tub, and a glass-enclosed shower filled with Acqua Di Parma amenities made exclusively for the Post Oak.
I take in the rest of my staycation digs. Even the smallest guest room on offer here—mine, dubbed the “Luxury King”—is a generous 500 square feet, with 10-foot coffered ceilings that make it feel even larger. A hulking wooden credenza separates the commanding king-sized bed from the living area while also inconspicuously housing two back-to-back 50-inch televisions that magically arise with the push of a button.
I’m marveling at this when the doorbell—yes, my room has a doorbell—chimes from across the expansive marble entryway. On the other side a smartly dressed concierge presents me with a plate of fresh fruit. I bite into a juicy fig and wander to the windows: With one gentle tug, the floor-to-ceiling drapes open on their own—more magic!—to reveal a bustling Uptown at dusk. Tug them again, and they swiftly close.
Technology is put to good use here: Everything from room temperature to mood lighting is controlled from a bedside tablet. With one tap you can set the room to “romance” mode, which dims all lights except those around the bed, and order champagne to the suite. Room service runs 24 hours a day, and there’s even a pet menu that includes filet mignon. For your dog. I don’t have one to bring, but if I did, I’d find my room equipped with a plush dog bed and chic water and food bowls for that prime cut.
Alas, I have the space all to myself for this much-needed night of self-care. Like the rest of the Post Oak, my room is posh and sleek, all dark wood and burnished gold where it’s not marble. Collapsing on the bed, with its ultra-soft pillows and 500-count Egyptian cotton linens, feels like landing on a cumulus cloud. Between this and the tub—both superb spots, I find, to finally finish the book I’ve brought with me—there’s a strong internal argument forming for never stepping outside Room 1204 tonight.
But there’s too much to explore: seven restaurants, a 12,000-square-foot spa, a salon, a boutique, and a Rolls-Royce dealership all on the property. And so I make my way out toward the elevators to find that even the hallway presents an Instagrammable moment here thanks to upholstered wall panels, black marble accents, and glinting crystal light fixtures every few feet.
Walking through the magnificent atrium lobby with its jaw-dropping Swarovski chandelier feels like putting on a show, and I’m glad I wore a dress. As I make my way toward H Bar, the hotel’s dark and moody drinkery, I find myself concocting a backstory for everyone I see—a man is an international spy; a woman, a trained assassin—while wondering what kind of backstory I present in my jet-black faux fur.
H Bar is a see-and-be-seen kind of place, very swank and made for Page Six–worthy canoodling on tufted-leather banquettes. The spicy tuna roll is perfection, as is a craft cocktail made with Grey Goose and lavender. Page 11 of the menu advertises the Black Gold, a Japanese A5 beef burger with foie gras, shaved black truffles, a black brioche bun infused with caviar and 24-karat gold, hand-cut truffle fries with more gold, and a bottle of 2006 Dom Pérignon. The meal is $1,600.
The next morning the New York Times is delivered to my door. I live here now, I think, unfolding the Gray Lady from the comfort of my cloud bed. Soon enough I’m starving, and I make a beeline to breakfast. Along the way I marvel at the glass-and-stainless-steel spiral staircase flanked by a Rolls-Royce Wraith, which I can’t help but notice costs about as much as my parents’ house.
After that photo-op I reach Bouchée Patisserie, the whimsical Parisian-themed café full of glass-encased confections that taste as good as they look. Tempted by giant s’mores macarons and sculptural tarts that look more like art than food, I restrain myself and opt for an iced white-chocolate mocha and a pumpkin-spice Danish.
I feel a little melancholy when I depart, mocha in hand, to collect my non-Wraith from valet. Still, spending just a night here exploring the glitzy grounds has turned my long week around, and I’m leaving a whole new woman. To experience the Post Oak in all its opulence is to know a world that others only dream of—even if only for a night.