AOL PICK from our Editors
Houston has an array of hotel choices, ranging from upscale rock star suites to bed and breakfasts to luxury boutique hotels at a variety of price ranges. There are dozens more chain hotels but we’ve selected ten of the best Houston hotels (these are places that showcase the Bayou City’s urban multicultural diversity). If you stay at centrally located hotels in Downtown and Midtown, you can catch the METRORail to many areas and attractions—including the Museum District, Minute Maid Park, and the Theater District—without needing to rent a car. No matter where in the city you stay, there are many convenient places listed as the best Houston hotels from which you can choose.
Hotel Za Za
Neighborhood: Museum District Price Range: Expensive
Staying at the Hotel Za Za can be like a vacation in itself. Each of the rooms has its own, individual theme. We love the Asian-themed Geisha House and the art-deco, Space concept “Houston We Have a Problem” suites. Located in the same building as the former world-famous Warwick, Hotel Za Za is conveniently set on the roundabout overlooking the Mecom fountain next to the museums and known as one of the top hotels. Most people don’t know that if you get a mani-pedi here, you can have free access to their luxury pool for the day. Indeed, it's one of the top Houston hotels.
Kemah Boardwalk Hotel
Neighborhood: Kemah Price Range: Expensive
If you want to stay close to NASA and Space Center Houston, pick one of the best Houston hotels, the Kemah Boardwalk, for the prime location smack dab in the middle of all the Kemah Boardwalk attractions—the rides, the shops, restaurants. This two-story hotel has a crème-colored façade that blends nicely into the bayside region, and the rooms themselves have a homey ocean motif, with tans and blues. The hotel is owned by Landry’s, which also runs the Downtown Aquarium, the Aquarium restaurant in Kemah, and Inn at the Ballpark across the street from Minute Maid Park.
Neighborhood: Montrose Price Range: Expensive
Owned by Steve Zimmerman and recently renovated by his sons, Mark and Dan, the small but luxuriant La Colombe D’Or Mansion has just five one-bedroom suites in the mansion itself, and across the way nine one- and two-bedroom villas clustered around a European-style courtyard. La Colombe D'Or is one of the best places to stay in Houston if you value privacy and luxury. Each villa has its own kitchen, balcony and Jacuzzi tub, which makes them ideal for extended stays (and for saving money on meals because you can cook right in the hotel). La Colombe D’Or operates a quaint on-site restaurant that specializes in cuisine from the French Riviera. It’s an easy mile to the light rail stop, and walking distance to the Museum district and medical center—or Rice University if you want to see southern ivy.
Neighborhood: Downtown Price Range: Moderate
If you’re coming to Houston on business, the Alden is a great choice—not only do they have ample room and desk space, but they also have created-for-comfort Herman-Miller ergonomic chairs. This historic downtown hotel’s urban contemporary décor has a clean, crisp look with its pressed white linens, spare walls, and dark wood end tables. The Alden got a new owner in March 2010 who plans to change the lobby and reconnect the hotel with its historic roots which could make it one of the top Houston hotels. Originally opened as the Sam Houston hotel in 1924, it closed doors for some 25 years, before reopening as the Alden in 2002. Now under brand new management, the hotel’s name will stay the same but they’re toying with renaming the a+ bar the Sam Houston. Sports fan? Request room 1008 and you can watch the Houston Astros play at Minute Maid Park through your window.
Neighborhood: Memorial Price Range: Moderate
Located near Memorial Park on the west side of Houston, Hotel Sorella has a great location within the hip new mixed-use development called Citycentre. It also has a novel modern European-Italian style décor. First, the rooms: black wood laminate floors, oval and square furniture with hues of soft green, deep purple, chocolate, and white, plus floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the pulsing activity of Citycentre with the Houston skyline in the distance. Not exaggerating: you will fall back into the ultra-plush bed and get the best sleep of your life. Citycentre has shops, restaurants (Ruggles Green, RA Sushi, Cyclone Annayas, and more), a movie theatre, and an outdoor central area where live musicians come to play, complete with a dance floor under the stars—all walking distance from the hotel. The double rooms have only full-sized beds which are a squeeze if you’re sharing. The oversized King Suite, which will cost you approximately $100 more per night than the double room rate of around $179 per night, feels like home—only better. Free Wi-Fi and a continental breakfast of pastries, cereal, fresh fruit, coffee (including cappuccino) and juices are two more reasons to stay at one of the best Houston hotels.
Sara's Bed and Breakfast Inn
Neighborhood: The Heights Price Range: Moderate
A Victorian home in the historic Heights, Sara’s B&B is a quaint place to stay that catches the mood and history of the Heights District. During the week the B&B is often filled with business travelers while on the weekends a 20-something crowd comes to play. Their breakfasts are yummy enough that a lot of people ask owner Bob and Connie McCreight if they plan to open a full-service restaurant. On weekends, they serve a full buffet breakfast, but during the week expect something lighter, albeit still flavorful, like spinach and bacon quiche, fresh watermelon and berries, and a croissant.
Neighborhood: Uptown Price Range: Budget
Calling all bargain hunters—you’re going to love this place! Built by Starwood Hotels, Alofts have started popping up in cities around the U.S. One of the best places to stay in Houston, the Aloft offers complementary WiFi throughout, a public meeting space called the re:mix lounge featuring comfy couches, flat screens, billiards, an indoor pool, the w xyz bar, and a 24/7 re:fuel snack bar. The rooms have modern furniture, nine-foot ceilings, and built-in work desks built by a window overlooking the Galleria. The roomy bathrooms have nice oversized showerheads. Bring your pet! Dogs up to 40 pounds are allowed.
Neighborhood: River Oaks Price Range: Budget
There are many online specials for this and other hotels, but for the location and luxury of Crowne Plaza in Houston River Oaks, the weekend rates in particular are great. Sure, it’s a pretty generic chain, but we’re including it because of the comfortable details like spacious rooms, marble countertops, and mini-fridges that make it one of the best places to stay in Houston. The entire hotel, from the pool to the 18th floor emerged from a major renovation in the spring of 2009. They also offer free WiFi and have a brand new fitness facility. Ask for a north-facing room for a great view of the downtown skyline.
Neighborhood: Downtown Price Range: Budget
This boutique hotel with neoclassical architecture and bold contemporary furnishings is a Houston legend. Built in the old 1911 Union Bank building, Hotel Icon's massive brass vault still provides a backdrop to the front desk. If you don’t want to rent a car, this is a great place to stay because you can catch the Metro’s new light rail right near the doorstep to the Museum District, Minute Maid Park, Rice University and the Medical Center and Hermann Park. Jay Leno filmed a live segment of his show in the tri-level Ritz penthouse, a favorite of VIPs. The hotel’s VOICE bar has a popular Wednesday $1 martini night.
Neighborhood: Uptown Price Range: Budget
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It’s hard to believe that the Indigo is a budget hotel, or a chain for that matter. Although Indigo hotels exist in several other cities, each feels like an independent boutique property with its own unique décor and color theme. At the Galleria Indigo, the vibrant cobalt blues and tasteful seashore themed décor, fits the name. Rooms have hardwood floors, a spa-inspired glass shower, mini-fridges, and the same tasteful and varied shades of blue found in the lobby, pub-style social area, and Golden Bean café and Phi bar. We were especially impressed with the Napa dream beds with 400-thread count sheets and down pillows—the perfect ending to a day spent shopping the Galleria.