IF THE LAST YEAR HAS taught us anything, it is that staying put is not so bad.
Without the complete freedom of being able to hop on a plane for an extended European vacation or a luxury Caribbean cruise, Houstonians discovered that vacationing right here in town was a welcome alternative.
With the city continuing to evolve and grow — from new hotels to master-planned developments with popular restaurants at every turn — there are plenty of tucked in places in and around the city to unwind for a few days.
Whether you want to feel the heartbeat of a particular neighborhood or you are looking to trade the hustle and bustle of the city for the great outdoors, consider these exciting Houston neighborhoods for your next staycation.
After years of serving as one the hottest foodie regions of the city, the Heights now offers accommodations for visitors looking to truly hunker down and explore the neighborhood. The Heights House Hotel (100 W. Cavalcade St. Houston, TX 77009) has opened as the area’s first boutique hotel in the former Astro Inn space after a $3.5 million renovation, including a complete gutting of the interiors, room furniture sourced from the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas and splashes of vivid color in the way of a 36-foot neon sign and a “Good Vibes Only” mural by Mexican artists Sergio Aguilar and Jose Kontos. While there is much to see, eat and do in the Heights, staying put at the hotel is recommended too. The onsite restaurant, Space Cowboy, is helmed by top Houston talent, chef Lyle Bento, and boasts a menu of comfort eats and tropical drinks available until the wee hours of 2 am every day. The pool, with its cabanas and poolside DJ is an obvious attraction, but guests can also make use of the hotel’s lawn games, electric scooters and bike rentals. Insider tip: Heights House Hotel is dog-friendly!
As one of Houston’s premier suburban pockets, Sugar Land is a picturesque town with plenty of things to do and foodie places to discover. A stay at the Marriott Town Square (16090 City Walk Sugar Land, TX 77479) gives guests full access to Sugar Land Town Square, a sprawling mixed-use development with boutiques, bars and restaurants anchored by the city hall and a plaza which spills out from its front steps. A leisurely afternoon may consist of perusing the racks at Altar’d State, then ducking into the newest location of State Fare Kitchen & Bar (15930 City Walk Sugar Land, TX 77479) for a cheeseburger or Frito pie. Evenings are best spent taking in the sights and sounds of the main plaza, which features live music performances and family-friendly activities often, then settling in for a long, wine-fueled dinner at Perry’s Steakhouse (2115 Town Square Pl. Sugar Land, TX 77479).
Highly sought after restaurants, eclectic boutiques, craft coffee shops and cozy cocktail bars have shaped the Montrose neighborhood for decades – making the area a no brainer for a Houston staycation. With the reopening of the grand La Colombe d’Or Hotel (3410 Montrose Blvd. Houston, TX 77006) located right on Montrose Blvd., it has never been a better time to stay and play. The past and newly renovated hotel allow visitors to experience a piece of Houston history in a fashionable way. Guests can choose to reserve one of five suites in the iconic mansion — home to Houston’s Fondren family in the early ‘20s — or a suite in the adjacent residential tower. It’s hard not to spend all day lounging at the rooftop pool, located on the tower’s 10th floor, but take time to peruse the grounds which feature an art gallery and sculpture garden. While dining choices are bountiful — there's the new Gatsby’s Steakhouse (4319 Montrose Blvd. Houston, TX 77006) down the road or Chris Shepherd’s new red sauce Italian concept within One Fifth (1658 Westheimer Rd. Houston, TX 77006) a short Uber ride away. Consider the hotel’s ritzy onsite restaurant Tonight & Tomorrow helmed by chef Jonathan Wicks, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Uptown neighborhood has long served as a hub of the city, with convenient access to world-class shopping at The Galleria and River Oaks District, top notch restaurants along Post Oak Blvd. and scenic walking and biking trails at Memorial Park. Nestled in the midst of it all is The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa (111 N. Post Oak Ln. Houston, TX 77024), a true escape situated on 27-acres of lush, wooded grounds. In addition to choosing from one of three temperature-controlled pools to splash around in, guests can explore the property with a pre-packed picnic basket or tour the pastry shop for an inside look at how The Houstonian’s various sweets are made. A day ought to be reserved for a visit to Trellis, The Houstonian’s lauded spa which received a substantial makeover in 2020 revealing updated interiors and new outdoor water features. While The Houstonian offers all of the charm of a secluded, resort-style getaway, venturing out isn’t a bad idea. Nearby shopping and dining meccas include Uptown Park and Highland Village, and both are easily accessible with the hotel’s complimentary car service. Insider tip: Highland Village is home to Solaya Spa & Salon, Trellis’ smaller, sister location.
Houston’s north side is bountiful in lush, scenic parks and protected forests, making it a natural choice for weekend getaways. At City Place, located just 20 miles from Downtown at the axis of the Grand Parkway, Hardy Toll Road and I-45, visitors will discover an all-encompassing destination spanning 2,000 acres with a hefty focus on dining, entertainment and outdoor recreation. Plan a stay at the Houston City Place Marriott (1200 Lake Plaza Dr. Spring, TX 77389), just a stone’s throw from the City Place Plaza, and take advantage of the hotel’s “staycation” promo which allows guests to book rooms for $143 per night and receive 20% off of food and beverage, plus a late check out. It’s not difficult to stay occupied with the nearby Star Cinema Grill featuring hot new releases and restaurants like Common Bond Bistro & Bakery and Dallas-based Bread Zeppelin within walking distance. An extension to the Spring Creek Greenway trail was completed in June, connecting the new trailhead to City Place at its 150-acre preserve. This completion makes Spring Creek Greenway the largest urban greenway in the country, giving visitors the opportunity to partake in canoeing, kayaking, archery and biking along the more than 19-mile stretch.
Downtown Houston can serve as a welcome escape for those looking to break free from the familiarity of their suburban bubble for a few nights. During a staycation at the Marriott Marquis (1777 Walker St. Houston, TX 77010), guests can let all of their worries melt away while leisurely floating around the Texas-shaped lazy river at the Altitude rooftop pool. Located on the hotel’s 6th floor, the pool terrace offers sweeping views and a festive place to enjoy cocktails and live music. With chef-driven restaurants like Potente and Irma’s Southwest peppered around the neighborhood, foodies flock to Downtown for a taste, and one of Houston’s best is located right inside the hotel. Xochi (1777 Walker St. Houston, TX 77010) helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Hugo Ortega, presents diners with a modern take on Oaxacan cuisine, while its patio offers views of — and convenient access to — Discovery Green (1500 McKinney St. Houston, TX 77010), downtown’s neighboring 12-acre park. Here, hotel guests can enjoy free activities like fitness in the park and Friday night concerts, but Discovery Green also often features eye-catching art installations which change from season to season, with the next being Mosaic of Light by the HYBYCOZO design studio arriving in November.