This summer, get away—but don’t go far—and rediscover hip Houston properties proffering posh pools, culture cred and enticing staycation packages.
1. The Hotel Derek’s pool has gotten a splashy makeover. Not coincidentally dubbed Splash, the deck has been restyled with a graffiti wall and daybeds in high-contrast black and cream—and another touch that’s, well, reel cool. If you can take your eyes off the hotties in the water, check out the new movie wall. Turning a concrete wall of the adjacent parking garage into functional art, the Derek plans to show old Westerns, among other fare. Created by local public artist Ken Goar, the Western-themed wall spans three floors in height. The screen itself, about 25 feet tall, is bordered by a cowboy rope and rests on a large-scale cow-patterned mural. The Western motif is echoed in the Should’ve Been a Cowboy package, starting at $819, which includes a three-night stay, three days at Sankey Rodeo School, complimentary valet parking for pickup trucks, and cold craft beer every night. Yahoo! Overnight rates from $139. 2525 W. Loop S., 713.961.3000
2. CityCentre’s Hotel Sorella offers an over-the-top deal for summer adventurers. The Sky’s the Limit package includes two nights in a penthouse suite, where a personal chef plates a multicourse dinner in the dining room one evening. Between spa treatments (massages and manis are included), take a private kayak tour of nearby Terry Hershey park, and rest up for a three-hour helicopter trip through Downtown and the Ship Channel. Package from $3,200. Overnight rates from $169. In CityCentre, 713.973.1600
3. Location, location, location. Scout Hotel Icon’s prime setup in the heart of Market Square—home to some of H-Town’s hippest bars, like the new tiki-savvy Honeymoon Cafe and Bar, and the Nightingale Room lounge. It’s also minutes away from other popular Downtown destinations, and the city’s B-Cycle bike-share program, which has an outpost in the Square, makes it a breeze to explore the area. The Icon’s Discover Downtown package offers incentive to do so, too, with perks at the nearby House of Blues and credit at the also-walkable upscale Lucky Strike bowling alley. Recover from a big night out with breakfast for two at the hotel’s Line & Lariat restaurant, included in the rate. Package from $199, overnight rates from $189. 220 Main St., 713.223.4266
4. Nestled behind the Uptown Park shopping center, Hotel Granduca offers Euro-chic staycation packages to get one’s mind off the Texas heat. The Escape to Serente option, starting at $622, features a treatment at the next-door Serente Spa, such as an illuminating hydramemory facial. Also enjoy a chilled glass of prosecco—best enjoyed poolside—and a late checkout, for those who want to savor a few extra hours of shut-eye. Meanwhile, the B&B Italian Style package, starting at $285, offers breakfast for two—lemon-ricotta pancakes, anyone?—at the hotel’s Ristorante Cavour and a shuttle to nearby boutiques in Uptown Park, the new Boulevard Place development and the Galleria. Overnight rates from $260. 1080 Uptown Park Blvd., 713.418.1000
5. After unveiling its $25 million reno in the fall, the Royal Sonesta reveals an equally stylish summer staycation package. The Royal Escape, starting at $269, includes a $100 gift card to the nearby Galleria and overnight valet. Also enjoy a food and beverage credit to be used toward dinner in the recently rebranded ARA restaurant—think smoked short ribs with parsnip puree, or cured Scottish salmon with dill mustard. Overnight rates from $129. 2222 W. Loop S., 713.627.7600