With charming neighborhoods, eclectic shops, world-renowned art galleries, award-winning micro-breweries, and an increasing amount of trendy bars, restaurants, and cafes, Houston is the understated new southern capital of cool.
It also makes a welcoming destination for a short city break or a longer stay. From gorgeous boutiques to modern and shiny, if you want to stay somewhere equally as unique, here is our choice for the coolest and most unusual hotels in Houston, Texas (in no particular order)...
1. Hotel Derek, River Oaks – a chic, unique, sexy and very Instagrammable hotel perfect for partying Millenials and Gen Zs
Don’t let the peculiar name of this hotel put you off. Whereas most hotels describe themselves as chic, this place is both chic and cool. Hotel Derek, Houston is a genuinely vibrant hotel sitting next to the West Loop South Highway, close enough for the benefits of Downtown whilst far enough away for the peace of the parks.
Contemporary rooms feature modern artwork and have floor-to-ceiling windows many with city views.
There are suites with separate sitting and living areas, some have private balconies, and all rooms, from standard to luxury penthouse suite, are designed with imaginative flair using bold colors and unique shapes producing a comfortable, care-free ambiance – this is one of the best party hotels in Houston!
Amenities include a 24-hour gym, a trendy terrace pool with a movie screen, a 24/7 business center with lots of meeting space, even a ballroom. There’s also a hip bar/restaurant serving Texas-inspired fare and craft beer, as well as a coffee bar.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Derek, Houston
2. Hotel ZaZa, Museum Park – a hip and funky upscale boutique hotel and one of the best hotels in Houston
There are two Hotel ZaZa in Houston – one in Memorial City and this one in the Museum Park district. It’s a good 15 miles or 30 minutes drive between the two, so make sure you reach the right one.
This very hip high-end Houston hotel is a 2-minute walk from Hermann Park and 3 minutes on foot from Museum District light rail station.
Refined rooms have chandeliers and plush over-the-top sofas with bold colors and strong styles, which should all be gaudy but work brilliantly to create a feeling of fun and grandeur.
If you really want to overdose on ZaZa, themed suites are available, including a French-inspired apartment and a Soho-style loft.
A pantry with free coffee and tea on each floor is a great addition. Other amenities include a hacienda-style outdoor pool with bar, a very lovely spa and sauna, fitness center, and business center.
There’s also a sophisticated restaurant with a terrace and beautiful views of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mecom Fountains.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel ZaZa, Museum Park
3. Hotel Ylem an Ascend Hotel Collection Member, Braeswood – a cool, fun and creative boutique hotel perfect for art-loving Millennials and Gen Zs
This fun place to stay in Houston features a façade with a street art-style mural, this creative and laid-back hotel is very close to the NRG Stadium and Houston Aerodrome, just 3 miles from Houston Museum of Natural Science.
It’s also on the edge of the Brays Bayou Trail, a riverside hike that runs through the heart of this city.
As you enter Hotel Ylem it surprises with super-funky colors and furnishings creating a semi-boutique, semi-European trendy, youth styling.
The relaxed guest rooms are lovely with simple, eclectic décor to make you smile, and all come with coffeemakers, minifridges, and microwaves. Some rooms have sofa beds and sleep up to 6 guests.
Amenities at this funky Houston hotel include a stylish, hip lounge and a bar, plus a 24/7 gym and a library. There’s a decent hot breakfast and, unusually for Houston, free parking.
Although there are plenty of venues close to the hotel, you will need that car. This is typical Houston where nobody walks.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Ylem an Ascend Hotel Collection Member
4. The Westin Galleria Houston, Greater Uptown – a hip and trendy hotel with a swimming pool and great city views minutes from many of Houston’s attractions
The Galleria shopping center in the Greater Uptown district contains two Westin hotels – Westin Oaks and Westin Galleria. Both are conveniently positioned above the enormous shopping center and have similar amenities. You could easily spend the entire time in the hotel and stores without venturing into the city beyond.
Contemporary rooms at The Westin Galleria Houston are spacious and nicely designed with thoughtful furnishing and a good use of color to create a relaxed ambiance.
As you’d expect there are upgraded suites with living areas and wet bars; some have stereos, fitness equipment, and sectional sofas, if you want a bit more space to spread out your shopping.
The public spaces are equally as well displayed with little touches to break the corporate monotony often found in big hotels. There are three good restaurants and bars offering American cuisine, light bites, and a grill menu.
There’s a big 24/7 fitness center and a small rooftop pool, so you can shop till you drop and then exercise it all away to start again the next day.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Westin Galleria Houston
5. Houston Towers Inn, Greater Third Ward – a unique upscale boutique bed and breakfast housed in a Victorian Mansion with individually designed rooms
Not far from the Texas Southern University campus, the Houston Towers Inn is an eccentric-looking, adults-only, mock-Victorian mansion guesthouse just 1 mile from the Japanese gardens at Hermann Park.
Each space is individually furnished in what can best be described as late 20th-century Texas hotch-potch with a wow factor, splashed with pieces of original art from around the globe.
There are just 3 standard rooms and four 1-bedroom suites, three of which contain their own tower – one with a private viewing balcony.
Parking is free, and breakfast is served in a similarly eccentric dining room. Other amenities consist of a delightful outdoor pool, a hot tub and a terrace.
In a world of identical hotels with Nespresso machines and branded throws, this is a small, peculiar and entirely refreshing, non-corporate escape from the norm. A perfect place to retreat, relax, recharge and wonder at the sheer odd beauty all around.
- To book, check prices or availability for Houston Towers Inn, Greater Third Ward
6. The Laura Hotel – a chic, polished and stylish hotel located in downtown Houston said to be one of the best places to stay in the city
Matching up classic elegance with sleek contemporary style and tech, The Laura Hotel in downtown Houston Downtown has everything you need to enjoy your trip to the city. From the Art Deco lobby and marble grand staircase to the turquoise blue rooftop
swimming pool with stunning views, this is a unique 5-star hotel experience.
The spacious rooms have minimalist decor in a soothing neutral palette with restful deep green accents, very comfortable beds and floor to ceiling windows that look out over the cityscape. The luxurious treatments at the spa are a reason in themselves to return, as is the southwestern style food at the Hull & Oak restaurant accompanied by tequila cocktails and craft beers.
Quite suitably for a hotel so much in keeping with the trendy energy of the city, it’s right in the middle of it all, near The Shops at Houston Center, Toyota Center, the Theater District, Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, the GreenStreet entertainment complex and a variety of restaurants.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Laura Hotel
7. Blossom Hotel Houston – a cool and unique boutique hotel with stunning design details close to popular attractions including the NRG Stadium
Listed as one of the Top 3 Houston hotels on TripAdvisor and Expedia, Blossom Hotel Houston in the heart of Bayou City offers a sanctuary where you can relax and recharge for the next day. The location makes it easy to get to the NRG Stadium, Texas Medical Center, the Museum District and Rice University/Rice Village.
Taking its cue from Houston’s nickname Space City, the decor is lunar-inspired with unique lighting, soft colors and bright accents. Amenities include a gym, laundry room and rooftop pool with a sun terrace.
Guests can unwind in the luxurious setting of the rendezVu lobby lounge with craft cocktails small bites or order from the full-menu room service, all overseen by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Ho Chee Boon.
- To book, check prices or availability for Blossom Hotel Houston
8. The Westin Houston Medical Center – a cool, sleek and contemporary design hotel with fabulous city views where pets are also welcome
Houston is as renowned for its medical facilities as for its NASA Space Center, so whether you’re traveling for work, play or a medical treatment, the Westin Houston Medical Center hotel is a great place to rest and recover. Major attractions and destinations like the Houston Museum District, Rice University, Texas Children’s Hospital and other hospitals are all nearby, as also a wide selection of restaurants.
The rooms and suites have a soothing decor and all the comforts with signature Heavenly Beds, spa-like bathrooms and long stay options. You’ll enjoy the southwestern style menu at the rooftop Terrace 54 Bar + Table, which also has stunning views of the city and extended breakfast hours on the weekend. Relax at the Sip Cafe with barista-brewed coffee or grab a packed meal to go.
With all of this, what really sets the Westin Houston Medical Center hotel is the staff, who are warm and welcome, and amazingly efficient.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Westin Houston Medical Center
9. The Moran CITYCENTRE, Memorial – a chic, modern and trendy boutique hotel located in the heart of central Houston
The Moran Hotel is a relaxing oasis in the heart of Houston’s exciting CITYCENTRE – a shopping compound on the western reaches of Houston, not the city center.
Just a few miles from the Energy Corridor and Westchase District, and 4 miles from hiking trails in Terry Hershey Park, the hotel is surrounded by sophisticated retailers, elegant dining, upper-end commercial office buildings and an entertainment plaza.
The Moran has exquisite on-site dining options, a small swimming pool, a fitness center, versatile event and meeting space, and spacious guest rooms and suites.
The rooms and public areas are all styled in a clean-cut, corporate brown and cream with just a splash of lime here and there to add warmth.
The hotel specializes in imaginative packages, often involving local attractions. The CITYCENTRE complex is packed with interesting restaurants, shopping and entertainment for adults and kids, which deserve to be enjoyed whilst you’re here.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Moran CITYCENTRE, Memorial
10. The Sam Houston Hotel – an ultra-chic boutique hotel where guests can immerse themselves in historic elegance and charm
The historic Sam Houston hotel first opened its doors in 1924 and the landmark building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
It’s close to major attractions and destinations like Minute Maid Park, the Brown Convention Center, University of Houston, the aquarium and the theater district.
The decor merges old-world charm with modern comfort, and the rooms come equipped with a 40″ flat-screen TV with cable channels, Keurig coffee machine and free toiletries. There’s a fitness center and the Pearl Restaurant & Bar which draws upon the Texas heritage with a coastal and Tex-Mex menu accompanied by local craft beers and speciality cocktails.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Sam Houston Hotel
11. Hotel Granduca Houston – a stylish, unique and lavish boutique hotel inspired by the style of a beautiful Italian Villa
This boutique hotel in the exclusive Uptown Houston neighborhood is inspired by the design and luxury of an Italian villa. You’ll find old world comfort and elegance, with wood panelling, rich fabrics, tapestries, chandeliers and a Tuscan-inspired color palette.
The 122 suites have separate kitchens and living and dining areas, and many come with balconies and private patios. Guests will enjoy the serene courtyard with terracotta statuary, colonnade, a lion’s head fountain, swimming pool and cabana. There are several Italian restaurants onsite, and high tea is served every afternoon.
The location is convenient for trendy boutiques, restaurants, and spas, as well as the Houston Museum District. As you would expect from a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the complimentary house car service takes you shopping in high style, in a Maserati.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Granduca Houston
12. C. Baldwin Curio Collection by Hilton, Downtown – a modern and stylish upscale hotel based in a great downtown location
Set amid offices in the financial district, this laid-back Hilton business hotel is right next to the city hall, library, historic parks, theatres and entertainment of Downtown Houston.
Accommodation ranges from relaxed rooms with seating areas to suites with living rooms, dining tables, kitchens and soaking tubs.
The higher up the building, the better the view from the full-length windows. The C. Baldwin is designed in a typical Hilton style with plenty of grey, beige and wood accentuated with the occasional colorful scatter cushion or armchair. Everything is nicely done and exactly as you would expect.
The only break with convention is in the interesting Italian restaurant where terracotta fabrics and an abundance of pot plants have been installed to conjure a Mediterranean feel. Other amenities include a simple grab-and-go café and a small lobby bar, plus a good-sized gym.
- To book, check prices or availability for C. Baldwin Curio Collection by Hilton, Downtown
13. Hotel ICON Autograph Collection, Downtown – an elegant themed luxury hotel with vintage-chic decor housed in a former bank built in 1911
In the heart of Downtown, very close to the University of Houston, perfectly located for business, legal, entertainment or sports, this former bank built in 1911 retains many original details, including the vault, and is just a block from METRORail and bus stops, and a 10-minute walk from the restaurants, bars, and shops.
The public areas at Hotel ICON Autograph Collection, Downtown are richly decorated with a dipped-in-gold feeling whereas the rooms and suites are more subdued with elegant, restful, almost-deco styling.
Many have rainfall showers and clawfoot or whirlpool tubs. Suites, as you’d expect, offer separate sitting and dining areas.
There’s a very stately restaurant/bar serving breakfast, lunch, light afternoon snacks, and dinner daily in the lounge and dining room, with a strong menu of Texas-sourced cuisine and craft cocktails.
Amenities include a very good spa, a 24-hour fitness center and handy complimentary shuttle service to any downtown destination. Known as one of the best hotels in Houston and with good reason!
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel ICON Autograph Collection, Downtown
14. Hyatt Regency Houston West – a modern and sleek hotel that offers great facilities including a heated outdoor swimming pool and a whirlpool
Set amid lush landscaped grounds with a 2-acre lake, the recently renovated Hyatt Regency Houston West is ideally located for visitors in the heart of the Energy Corridor. It’s close to the famous West Houston restaurants and a short drive to the theater district.
The lobby creates an ambience of tropical luxury with a waterfall, foliage and brightly colored fish in the pools. The rooms are quiet oases of comfort, with views of the city, lake and gardens.
The Café on the Lake serves breakfast and lunch with farm-fresh ingredients, in its beautiful atrium setting. There’s also the Black Gold Bar, a fitness center and swimming pool with a pool bar, and a Grab & Go Market.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hyatt Regency Houston West
15. The Post Oak Hotel, Greater Uptown – a trendy and lavish upscale retreat located in the heart of uptown Houston
In a grand high-rise building with apartments and offices, this very posh hotel off Interstate 610 is a couple of miles from the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center and close to some very smart stores. Not that you need to know the streets if you landed on the private rooftop helipad.
There are nine variations of room, suite and apartment at The Post Oak Hotel, Greater Uptown all designed in a streamlined ultrachic contemporary-meets-Texan style with acres of marble and crushed velvet; some rooms offer panoramic views of Houston.
The 1-bedroom suites add lounges and wet bars; some have kitchens. A 2-bedroom residential suite features a private gym, a balcony and a media room for when you need to stay for a month or two.
There are 3 great quality upscale restaurants, as well as a more casual eatery, a French café and a refined bar. Other amenities consist of an outdoor pool with loungers and cabanas, a full spa, salon and fitness center and a grand ballroom.
There’s even a car showroom where you can buy a Bentley, Rolls Royce or Bugatti… if you get bored.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Post Oak Hotel, Greater Uptown
16. Aloft Houston, Downtown – a hip and funky new design hotel with a youthful vibe in a great location
There are four Marriott Aloft Houston hotels spread around the city. Aloft Houston, Downtown is the most central, just a minute’s walk from METRORail trains at Central Station.
This hip hotel is a 12-minute walk from entertainment and professional sporting events at both the Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park baseball stadium.
Contemporary rooms in Scandi-chic design cleverly make use of the space incorporating minifridges, coffeemakers and desks. The public areas are equally well thought through with a modern and practical, yet comfortable approach.
Enjoy craft cocktails and live music at the bar, play a game of pool with friends in the lounge, or grab a quick snack from the 24-hour pantry.
There’s a small rooftop pool with a little bar if you want a short laze in the sunshine.
Neat and thoughtful as this hotel is; it’s in the heart of Downtown and the perfect base for exploring the delights of Houston. A fabulous cool, and new hotel to stay in Houston, Texas.
- To book, check prices or availability for Aloft Houston, Downtown
17. Cambria Hotel Houston, Downtown – a large and chic new upscale hotel with a gorgeous design set in a landmark art deco building
Set in an impressive landmark art deco high-rise in Downtown, this polished hotel is very conveniently located, just a 4-minute walk from a tram stop, 8 minutes walk from the George R. Brown Convention Center or Toyota Center, and on the doorstep of Minute Maid Park baseball stadium and BBVA Dynamo Stadium.
The warmly decorated rooms at Cambria Hotel Houston, Downtown are designed in an oil-rich Texan style with strong furnishings dominating the spaces to add comfortable grandeur.
It’s very well executed both in the guest rooms and shared spaces creating a fine ambiance of charm throughout the building.
Amenities include a simple restaurant/bar, grab-and-go lobby, a 24-hour fitness center, and event spaces. This is an excellent destination hotel for everything you want to see or do in Downtown Houston.
- To book, check prices or availability for Cambria Hotel Houston, Downtown
18. Magnolia Hotel Houston a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Downtown – a chic boutique hotel rated one of the best new hotels in the world
Close to the JP Morgan Chase Tower, housed in an elegant 1926 building, this upscale hotel is precisely central to all the different quarters of Downtown Houston.
There are plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs, and stores all around. You also have the tramways just 2 minutes walk to get you wherever you want to be.
The spacious rooms at the Magnolia Hotel Houston a Tribute Portfolio Hotel are neatly designed, with a nod to the history of the building in the vaguely deco styles and fabrics, cleverly producing an almost boutique feeling even in the largest spaces. There is the usual choice from standard rooms to a presidential suite all finished to the same high standard.
Freebies include a regular evening drinks reception and a local car service.
Other amenities consist of a swish restaurant and lounge, a 24-hour gym, a billiards room, and finally; a really cute rooftop plunge pool and hot tub with city views – yes, it’s small, but perfectly formed and a great place from which to appreciate the Houston skyline.
- To book, check prices or availability for Magnolia Hotel Houston a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
19. Sara’s Inn, Greater Heights – a cozy and unique boutique inn with quirky details and a vintage-chic design
Sara’s Inn on the Heights Boulevard is just a mile from the antique stores and restaurants on historic Houston Heights’ 19th Street and 4 miles from Downtown Houston.
The Heights is one of the very few districts in Houston where you can walk to venues, such as the theatre and opera, without the need for a car. Sara’s Inn is a proper family-run B&B in a listed Victorian mansion. It has been run by the same family for the last 35 years.
There are 11 highly individually decorated rooms each with a private bathroom. One room has a 4-poster bed, there’s a suite with a winding staircase, and another has a claw-foot tub and private balcony.
Much of the interior is a wildly over-the-top, eclectic mix of Queen Victoria versus King Louis with bold damasks, statement pieces and gold flourishes. It sounds gaudy, but it is superb. A complete, restful, elegant release from corporate beige.
The weekday continental breakfast includes waffles; egg dishes if you ask nicely. On weekends, a hot breakfast is served. There’s no restaurant or bar – because everything is available in the surrounding streets.
- To book, check prices or availability for Sara’s Inn, Greater Heights
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/