Marriott, Four Seasons and Hilton

A lull in demand for hotel rooms during the pandemic created the perfect downtime for some hotels to upgrade their properties, and now a handful of Houston hotels have unveiled renovation work wrapping up as leisure, business and convention travel picks up again. Here’s a round up of three major hotel properties that saw renovations during the pandemic that readers may have missed. 

In downtown Houston at 1300 Lamar Street, the Four Seasons hotel this spring completed its third phase of renovation work in a multi-million endeavor that started in 2017 to modernize the 40-year old property. 

Bandista- an intimate, modern-day speakeasy, reminiscent of a 1920s lounge – opened in February as the latest addition to the hotel’s food and beverage options. Bandista comes after the Pan-Latin steakhouse Toro Toro opened in Four Seasons in October. 

Toro Toro opened in October 2021 in the Four Seasons downtown, followed by another restaurant concept and further renovation work to the hotel that recently completed.

Four Seasons Hotels

The renovation work also includes refreshing all 289 guest rooms and 103 suites with a modern Texas-themed design. The hotel’s lavish specialty suites and penthouses also got a facelift, along with a 16,500 square-foot event space. The large residential-style hotel rooms were also updated, and a new perfume boutique called Krigler also opened in the hotel.

“With the transformation of our meeting and event spaces, we’re seeing increased demand from groups of all sizes for short and long-terms stays,” a Four Seasons spokesman said in an email. “Business travel is back, and we’re thrilled to be better positioned than ever to accommodate groups looking for a new and exciting offering.”

The 468-room hotel also has seen its occupancy up by about 50 percent over the last year as more leisure travel returns too, particularly over the weekends.

Hilton-Americas Houston seeing uptick in business travel a year after total upgrade

Other luxury downtown properties are also seeing an uptick in business travel after renovations.

“We have been seeing improvements each week in business travel particularly in the diversity of industries that are traveling,” said Jacque D’Rovencourt, general manager of Hilton Americas in downtown Houston. Historically, downtown hotels were dependent on oil & gas companies for business travel – and while this year’s recent CERAWeek and World Petrochemical Conference provided a big boost – D’Rovencourt said they’re seeing business travelers coming from corporate finance, banking, retail and agriculture recently. 

New and returning guests will find a new look at the luxury hotel near Discovery Green at 1600 Lamar Street.Hilton Americas quietly completed a $54 million renovation in December 2020, but only recently released details about the work.

Each of the hotels 1,207 hotel rooms were refreshed with contemporary design elements, walk-in showers and sliding barn doors; new televisions; plus artwork by local Houston artists Justin Garcia, Jonathan Paul Jackson, Melinda Laszcynski and Nicola Parente.

Local artists were commissioned to paint murals inside the upgraded guest rooms in the Hilton Americas-Houston.

Local artists were commissioned to paint murals inside the upgraded guest rooms in the Hilton Americas-Houston.

Courtesy Hilton Americas-Houston

About 91,500 square-feet of meeting space was also upgraded. New carpet, wall coverings, and sleek furnishings add a warm touch and modern look for the many gatherings on tap in 2022. 

Hilton Americas Houston is expecting its occupancy levels in 2022 to be double what they were in 2020 with about 350 gatherings planned at the property.

Business travel “is not fully back, but what we’re see is encouraging,” D’Rovencourt said.

Marriott Medical Center/Museum District adds restaurants, a private club

South of downtown at 6580 Fannin Street, the Marriott Medical Center/ Museum District says it’s also seeing improvements to occupancy and revenue since it recently completed renovation work earlier this year. 

“We are also seeing an increase in booking in our meeting and ballroom spaces.  It is great to see groups returning and social events being planned again,” Jennifer Gohagan, General Manager at Houston Marriott Medical Center, in a statement.

While the renovations completed in February 2022, owner Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc only recently announced the extent of the multi-dollar project that took place in three phases.The entire 398-room hotel was revitalized with upgraded interiors in the lobby, restaurants, lounges, private function areas and fitness club. 

 Curate by Chef Andreas Orta offers American Cuisine with a "decidedly Texas flair." The relatively new restaurant was named after museum curators as a nod its location near the museum district. The restaurant is on the second floor of the Houston Marriott Medical Center-Museum District. 

 Curate by Chef Andreas Orta offers American Cuisine with a “decidedly Texas flair.” The relatively new restaurant was named after museum curators as a nod its location near the museum district. The restaurant is on the second floor of the Houston Marriott Medical Center-Museum District. 

Courtesy Houston Marriott Medical Center/Museum District

Hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) San Francisco reimagined the hotel with updated lighting and furnishings plus a nature-inspired design of earthy colors. 

The hotel also welcomed two new dining concepts: An American cuisine restaurant, Curate, which is slinging stone-oven baked pizzas, salads, craft cocktails and draft beers; and a healthy breakfast and lunch restaurant Main & Green. 

 A new private club called the M Club offers breakfast, bar service, evening hors d’oeuvres, dessert display, large screen televisions, banquette seating and living room style seating. 

“With the completion of our third and final phase of the hotel transformation, we are excited to showcase our hotel to travelers seeking to explore Houston,” said Gohagan. “Our public areas, restaurants, and bar have been mindfully transformed to invite guests in. The new M Club lounge is a competitive differentiator and provides our business and leisure guests 1,900 square feet to work, relax, and unwind.”

Houston has seen its share of new hotel openings too. Elsewhere in the Medical Center, another new hotel opened last fall, the 267-room Blossom Hotel. And in February, the Laura hotel opened in the former Hotel Alessandra location in downtown Houston.