With charming neighborhoods, eclectic shops, world-renowned art galleries, award-winning micro-breweries, 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. If you want to stay somewhere equally as unique, here is our choice for the coolest and most unusual hotels in Houston (in no particular order)...
1. Hotel Derek, River Oaks – a chic, unique, sexy and very Instagrammable place to stay in Houston
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.
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. The Westin Galleria Houston, Greater Uptown – a hip and trendy hotel 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
3. Hotel ZaZa, Museum Park – a hip upscale boutique hotel
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 high-end 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
4. Hotel Ylem an Ascend Hotel Collection Member, Braeswood – cool, fun and creative perfect for millennials and Gen Zs
Featuring 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 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
5. The Post Oak Hotel, Greater Uptown – a trendy upscale retreat 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
6. Hotel ICON Autograph Collection, Downtown – a chic and elegant hotel 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 an 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.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel ICON Autograph Collection, Downtown
7. The Moran CITYCENTRE, Memorial – modern but relaxed accommodation in 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
8. Houston Towers Inn, Greater Third Ward – an upscale 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
9. Grand Tuscany Hotel, Fairbanks – a beautiful themed hotel in Houston
Set 13 miles from Downtown Houston, at the intersection of two major highways, this hotel is in a bustling commercial area 8 miles from the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center.
Grand Tuscany Hotel describes itself as resort-style high-end luxury. There’s a central lazy river with poolside cabanas backed with plastic grass and a wacky glass and iron gazebo. A pleasant poolside Venetian bar offers a variety of refreshments, cocktails, and poolside dining.
This place makes it onto the list from the sheer exotic quirkiness of the décor throughout. Imagine, if you can, Las Vegas meets Benidorm for a gypsy wedding. There are bold colors, white statues, gold highlights, chandeliers and white-painted wrought iron galore in the public areas. Accommodation is slightly more subdued, and a little dated, but still has wild carpets and random dollops of color.
A mix of casual and fine dining including a couple of restaurants and café, one themed after classic film star Audrey Hepburn with her face printed front and back of every dining chair; an Instagram dream.
- To book, check prices or availability for Grand Tuscany Hotel, Fairbanks
10. Aloft Houston, Downtown – a hip new design hotel in a great location
There are four Marriott Aloft Houston hotels spread around the city. Aloft Houston, Downtown is the most central being 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.
- To book, check prices or availability for Aloft Houston, Downtown
11. C. Baldwin Curio Collection by Hilton, Downtown – a modern and stylish upscale hotel
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 entertainments 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
12. Cambria Hotel Houston, Downtown – a cool and chic hotel 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
13. Magnolia Hotel Houston a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Downtown – a 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
14. Sara’s Inn, Greater Heights – a cozy and unique place to stay in Houston
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
15. The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa, Greater Uptown – a refined hotel set in 18 acres of woodland
This refined independent hotel is hidden in 27 acres of woodland, yet still in the city. Part of it was once the residence of President George H.W. Bush. The Houstonian lies 0.8 miles from Memorial Park Golf Course, and 2.6 miles from The Galleria shopping mall.
The Houstonian oozes comfort, elegance and service. Houstonian Hotel guests receive complimentary access to the exclusive Houstonian Club, one of the nation’s top, private health clubs. Trellis Spa welcomes guests with a Mediterranean-style respite, complete with treatment rooms, a float pool and salons.
Plush rooms and suites come with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the surrounding woods, simply styled in clean tones with the occasional artwork. This feels like an honest place where you and service matter.
There are four onsite restaurants, classic bars, and immeasurable ways to wine, dine and unwind, including a café and lively poolside grill. The fitness club has 3 pools, a rock-climbing wall, a boxing ring and 8 tennis courts. Other amenities include a spa, meeting facilities and free transportation to The Galleria.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa