Texas is in the midst of a hotel-building boom, fueled by population growth and corporate relocations. While this expansion obviously benefits travelers, it’s also a gift to locals who enjoy new watering holes, dining options, and other design-rich environments. Here are some notable newcomers, relaunches, and projects opening in the next few months.
The Statler originally opened in 1956 as one of Conrad Hilton’s first convention properties, and for decades it was a glamorous economic engine, favored by celebrities and conventioneers alike. (Tina Turner made her escape from Ike here in 1976.) But it was later neglected and closed in 2001. Following a $255 million redevelopment that preserved the mid-century modern flavor, the nineteen-story hotel and mixed-use development opened in October and features both residences and guest rooms. Bourbon & Banter, an underground cocktail lounge with an extensive bourbon and whiskey selection, is open, along with Overeasy, a contemporary diner and coffee shop, and Waterproof, the poolside bar and lounge on the nineteenth-floor pool deck. Scout, a large space with social games like bowling and ping pong, will open in early February. Fine China, a full-service Pan-Asian restaurant, will open in March, with R&B, a ramen and bao restaurant, following in April.
This is the most luxurious and ambitious project yet for Valencia Group, the firm behind San Antonio’s Hotel Valencia, Houston’s Hotel Sorella, and a pair of new boutique hotels in Bryan/College Station. The striking new construction blends classical proportions with sleek finishes. Interiors were designed by Houston’s Rottet Studio. The hotel, which had a soft opening in early October, offers complimentary car service within downtown, but given the location, you might just choose to walk off the Continental European cuisine from Lucienne or the handcrafted cocktails from Bardot.
With its second Houston location and third overall (a fourth outpost is coming to Austin as well), Hotel ZaZa promises another helping of the brand’s luxurious, artsy accommodations and the fashionistas who love them. Swanky spa? Dog-friendly policies? Sumptuous themed suites? Check, check, and check. Tipping Point restaurant offers al fresco dining overlooking the pool, known as The Beach Club, which is sure to be a steamy scene this summer.
This project was centered around the redevelopment of Houston’s historic and long-abandoned Melrose Building. Built in 1952, the Melrose was Houston’s first International Style skyscraper, and was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. Starwood’s Le Méridien maintains the retro-modern vibe, even in the guest-room furnishings. So does Oxbow 7 restaurant, led by chef Bryan Caswell, serving elevated Bayou cuisine. The hotel’s Unlock Arts program means your hotel room keycard grants you complimentary admission to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Come back and enjoy the 360-degree views from Hoggbirds Rooftop Lounge on the 23rd floor.
This opening has been delayed to early 2018, but when the 37-story, 1,048-room hotel finally opens in downtown Austin, it will become the city’s largest. The Fairmont’s aim is to appeal equally to business travelers and vacationers, by combining convenience with resort-like amenities. An elevated walkway will provide direct access to the Austin Convention Center across the street. Conventioneers’ travel companions, meanwhile, will be able to enjoy in-pool lounging and downtown’s largest spa. And Austin’s food scene will get five new offerings: a grill house called Garrison, the Fulton lobby bar, Good Things coffee shop, a seventh-floor floor cocktail bar called Rules & Regs, and Revue, which will emphasize group dining, global cuisine, and pastries.
This Texas landmark’s new owners have been updating the 1861 building’s systems and making repairs, and are on track to reopen by May. Nestled among six acres of mature oak trees along Salado Creek, the renovated inn will feature 48 rooms with balconies and patios. The restaurant also underwent a year-long renovation, reopening this past June. The famous prix fixe menu was reimagined as an ode to the iconic recipes that have endured for generations, such as the 1861 Hushpuppies and Chicken Fried Steak. Stagecoach Inn also introduced an a la carte menu that includes new items like Deep-Fried Bacon and Slow Smoked Beer-Can Chicken. Happy hour, weekend brunch, and a “shotgun lunch” menu are also welcome additions.
Round Top is becoming a year-round destination for seekers of antiques, cool new stores, and small-town charm and, to an extent, for fans of the sisters behind television’s Junk Gypsies, Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes-Smith. This winter the queens of stylish salvage are opening their first hotel, the Wander Inn, which until now was primarily a guesthouse available only to friends like singer Miranda Lambert and those coming to town for the biannual Round Top antiques fair. The décor, naturally, is the main event; and although it’s less chockablock than their typical style, the mix of rustic Americana, shabby chic, and rock ‘n’ roll is familiar and inviting. There are only eight suites, but the sisters have plans to make over more historic farmhouses in 2018.
The grand dame of Dallas hotels has been undergoing the most sweeping changes since Adolphus Busch, co-founder of Anheuser-Busch, first erected the Beaux Arts hotel in 1912. Under the direction of Dallas design firm Swoon, the Studio, excess ornamentation that was overlaid in the 1980s was removed, so the hotel feels historic, not dated. A raft of added and renovated amenities is drawing in a new generation of Dallasites. Spa Adolphus and City Hall Bistro are brand new. The storied French Room and its bar and Pool Adolphus got makeovers before reopening. Afternoon tea returns January 5. And in the final stretch, February will bring a retail outpost called Commerce, offering Texas-based goods as well as international designers; The Barbershop at The Adolphus, a collaboration with Brass Tacks; and a Viennese-style coffee shop, Otto’s.
Many know this building as the Radisson at the prime location overlooking Lady Bird Lake at the north end of the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, and it continues to operate as a Radisson during renovations. In spring 2018, it will convert to Line, a chic brand with just two other locations, in Los Angeles’s Koreatown and Washington, D.C.’s Adams Morgan. The design team has emphasized the mid-century DNA of the structure and made more use of the lake views. Three new restaurants, an artist residency program, and a gallery highlighting emerging local artists all will help make the hotel feel homegrown.
Billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s newest project is a $300 million, 36-story, limestone and glass tower in the Houston Galleria area that will house a hotel, office space, residences, restaurants, and retail shops. The Post Oak will open in March. Fertitta made his fortune in middlebrow dining and entertainment, but this 250-room hotel is luxe. Picture a $1 million Swarovski crystal light fixture, a two-story Rolls-Royce dealership, and a hangar-sized ballroom. The 5,000-square-foot Presidential Suite will offer private elevator access, a media room, exercise room, and secluded terrace.