Where to Stay, Eat & Relax in Houston for the Weekend
Texas’ biggest city has sophisticated food, top museums and the nation’s largest polo club
By Deborah Hamilton-Lynne
Believe it or not, fall is around the corner. So is Houston. That last part might be a stretch, but Texas’ largest city is less than a three-hour drive from Austin which makes it a great option for a weekend away as our weather starts to cool down. Whether you’re looking to escape as a couple, with the whole family or with friends, an urban adventure consisting of excellent food, comfortable accommodations, parks and museums awaits easy and a bit south of here.
Here are a handful of recommendations for a weekend away in Houston:
The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa, located on 27 acres adjacent to Memorial Park, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Impeccable service and an elegant mix of classic and modern stylings with a Texas touch are hallmarks of this historic property in the heart of Houston. The resort recently completed $23.5 million in renovations to preserve the exquisite wood-paneled lobby and fireplace. Rooms were also updated with floor-to-ceiling windows, fresh, contemporary design and lighting, tech conveniences, soaking showers and tubs and the addition of two-room suites.
The Houstonian offers complimentary transportation within a 3-mile radius of the hotel — a nice perk for those on a weekend getaway who prefer not to mess with the city’s infamous traffic and highways.
This may be the best reason to book your stay at The Houstonian: Access to the private Houstonian Club is complimentary to guests of the hotel. The club holds three resort pools, restaurants, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, exercise rooms and studios, fitness classes and a climbing wall. The club has a plenty of activities for young guests and provides childcare for kids ages 6 weeks to 12 years while parents workout, take classes or enjoy the amenities.
Out of Doors
Memorial Park is one of the nation’s largest urban parks. With miles of trails, there are many options for running for exercise, walking through the woods, spotting wildflowers or birdwatching. The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is located in the park and open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk. Memorial Park is also the site of the Houston Polo Club has become the largest in the U.S. since it was founded in 1928. The private club, on 26 acres of its own, does sell tickets for Sunday matches and makes for a delightful day outdoors with friends or family.
Chef Neal Cox creates memorable meals at The Houstonian’s restaurant TRIBUTE with his “Tex Lex” cuisine that’s inspired by foods from Texas, Louisiana and Mexico. Try the Snapper Pontchartrain with crawfish sauce and the Coconut Tres Leches for dessert. Check with Sommelier Dat Le for his wine suggestions.
Houston is an internationally renowned culinary hot spot with an impressive array of food from around the world to discover in both sophisticated and no-frills dining rooms across the city. There are too many options to list but you might start with restaurants like The Blind Goat for Vietnamese, Nancy’s Hustle for bistro fare with creative cocktails and natural wines, Hugo’s for authentic Mexican dishes made from scratch and BCN Taste & Tradition for inspired Spanish tapas, seafood, salads and more.
Live & Learn
Houston’s Museum District is the home to some of the finest collections and exhibits in the world. The Houston Museum of Natural Science holds a planetarium, butterfly center and permanent exhibits that showcase dazzling collections of fossils, gems and minerals, wildlife from Texas to Africa as well as the Herzstein Foucault Pendulum, which was debuted in 1851 at the World’s Fair in Paris. Victoria, the world’s largest and most complete T. rex skeleton is on display until September 12th but the museum’s Morain Hall of Paleontology is filled with eye-popping prehistoric creatures.
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston is now hosting A Passion for Impressionism: Monet to Matisse, an exhibit that will run through September 9th. Exhibits highlighting Georgia O’Keefe’s photographs and 80 works from Calder and Picasso will open in October.
Take a Break
A massage, facial, a glass of champagne, mineral body wrap, nourishing food, therapeutic soaking pools, a tranquil meditation garden — whatever “pampering” means to you, Trellis Spa at The Houstonian likely has it covered. Clocking in at 26,500 square feet, it’s the largest spa in Texas and the only Forbes four-star spa in Houston. Seasoned spa goers might be interested in two exclusive treatments not found in any other spa in the nation. Cellis Slimming uses a unique machine for non-invasive, no-touch therapies to enhance skin radiance and tones the body. The MLX I3 Dome uses light to help detox the body, improve circulation, boost energy levels and rejuvenate the skin.