Visiting Houston and looking for a few recommendations on accommodations? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Born, raised and currently living in Houston — plus being an avid traveler myself — I’m always torn on where to stay when I’m visiting a new-to-me city or even looking for a staycation destination. And let’s be honest, even if you’ve visited the city before, trying to keep up with what’s new or changed can be time-consuming.
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So, what is the best area to stay in Houston and which hotels do you recommend?
Take the guesswork out of choosing a hotel in the right area with this simple guide. Here, I highlight 6 popular areas of Houston and provide my top picks for hotel accommodations. Without further ado, here you go:
Venturing to the city’s west side, you’re sure to pass the Memorial and Energy Corridor neighborhoods. Not only does a majority of Houston’s residents call this side of town their home (mostly due to the number of oil and gas companies and their employees), but it’s also home to the popular Memorial Mall and CityCentre (a walkable complex with various shopping and dining options) — which both provide a nice break to the always busy Galleria area.
An Italian-inspired hotel with 266 rooms is situated right in the heart of the CityCentre complex. Perfect for a business trip or staycation, the hotel offers free shuttle service within a 5-mile radius (but you probably won’t need it), complimentary continental breakfast, free parking, and an on-site bar, the Monnalisa, that features an impressive outdoor space with cabanas and a fireplace.
Located across the street from Memorial City Mall, this is the perfect location to rest your head if
shopping work is on the agenda. 024 Grille, their on-site restaurant, is available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and room service and is the perfect place to relax with a cocktail. They offer a free shuttle within a 5-mile radius and have an infinity pool on the 18th floor.
This is the second ZaZa hotel to open in Houston and the location is everything. Its swanky decor and close proximity to both CityCentre and Memorial City, make it a great choice for those wanting to stay in the area. The ZaZa Spa is not to be missed along with any of their specialty themed suites and state-of-the-art fitness center.
Museum District/Medical Center
A visit to Houston would be bittersweet without a stop in the Museum District. So, getting a chance to “stay a while” will place you in a neighborhood known for its 19 different cultural venues, including the Houston Zoo, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Museum of Fine Arts, and the Children’s Museum of Houston. Plus, the nearby METRORail and BCycle stations make getting around the area easy breezy. This location is also ideal for those visiting the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world.
If you’re looking to stay at the “place to be” in the area, then Hotel Zaza is it. The Houston Museum of Natural Sciences and Hermann Park are less than a mile away, and if you need to go a bit further you can utilize their free shuttle, complimentary bikes or car service. You’ll find a fantastic breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner (and equally great craft cocktails) at the Monarch, the hotel’s on-site fine dining restaurant.
Situated in a park-like setting, this hotel is located a short distance from several museums and is located less than a mile from Rice University and the Houston Zoo. If you’re staying during the cooler months (Houston doesn’t really have that many :)) you’ll find the hot tub and indoor pool right on time. End your evening at the Driscoll for dinner or Paladora Lounge for light bites.
This hotel is steps away from the Texas Medical Center and Transit Center and offers any and everything you’ll want from a hotel and more. From free Wi-Fi, to large family rooms, luggage storage, and guest rooms equipped with an electric teapot, the InterContinental Houston – Medical Center has got you covered.
Known for its shopping and nightlife, this area is best-known for the Galleria Mall, one of the largest malls in the country. With the luxury mall serving as the central “hub” for the district, everything surrounding it is just as posh. From the high-end restaurants and hotels, you’ll find nothing but the best here.
If you’re looking to have the red carpet laid out for you and celebrity treatment during your stay, then the Post Oak Hotel will not disappoint! The rooms at the city’s only 5-star hotel feature a marble bathroom, premium bar, and Nespresso coffeemakers. Perfect for business and leisure travelers alike, the 10-acre complex also boasts a steakhouse (Mastro’s), a two-story Rolls-Royce showroom, and direct helicopter pad access.
It doesn’t have to be over-the-top expensive and lavish to be a preferred accommodation in the Galleria area. I’ve always been impressed by the approachable, yet sophisticated and distinctive style of Hotel Indigo properties. The hotel’s vibrant colors and unique artwork will greet you and continue on to the rooms where you’ll find fun and comfortable vibes. Did I mention the free Wi-Fi access?
There are so many things to love about the Royal Sonesta. Starting with the on-site restaurants…Ara restaurant offers international cuisine serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Axis Lounge offers over 200 spirits, light snacks, and tapas, and there is a cafe perfect to drop in for snacks and coffee. They offer free shuttle service is provided to the Galleria (and other locations within a 3 miles radius), free Wi-Fi, and all guests rooms come equipped with a refrigerator.
A suburb of Houston that started its life as a settlement of sugar plantations is now one of the fastest-growing areas on the outskirts of Houston. A mere 15 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Sugar Land is home to the family-friendly Sugar Land Town Square (hosting events year-round) and the new Smart Financial Centre, a concert venue that pulls in some of the top acts coming to town. This location is ideal for those attending a concert or just wanting to experience a different side of H-town.
If your number one reason for visiting Sugar Land is to be right in the heart of Sugar Land Town Square, then look no further. Here, you’ll be surrounded by too many dining and shopping options to count plus you’ll have direct access to the many festivals and events that take place on the lawn directly in front of the hotel. The Houston Marriott Sugar Land is the only full-service hotel in Sugar Land.
When a hotel offers a complimentary continental or buffet breakfast (for members), I am already sold. The rooms at the Hyatt Place Houston/Sugar Land are roomy, to say the least, and come with over 450-square-feet of space with a separate living area and workspace. This hotel also offers shuttle service, free Wi-Fi throughout the property, free parking, and it’s also pet-friendly.
Offering guest rooms and suites, the Courtyard by Marriott Houston Sugar Land/Lake Pointe features a serene lakefront setting near all of Sugar Lands top attractions. Their complimentary shuttle will take you anywhere within a 5-mile radius, and parking is free as well as Wi-Fi. You’ll find their “market” a convenient place to stop in for grab and go snacks and coffee.
Surrounded by 6,000 acres of protected green space, this master-planned community on the north end of Houston is a destination in itself. It’s home to several malls, numerous parks (that are known to hold awesome must-attend festivals), an outdoor music pavilion, its own convention center, miles of bike trails, and a plethora of residential neighborhoods.
The Westin at The Woodlands is the perfect location if you’re planning to attend any event at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion or planning to spend the day at The Woodlands Town Center — as both are less than a mile away. The hotel overlooks the Waterway Square and is steps from some of the best shopping and dining spots in the area. The Westin is known for their ultra-comfy Heavenly Bed, Heavenly Bath and WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio and those are always a nice touch.
Located in Market Street, a shopping and dining district of The Woodlands, the Hyatt Centric The Woodlands is ideal for those wanting to be in the mix of it all, but also want boutique-like accommodations. With only 72 rooms and suites, the amenities are not your average. BeeKind toiletries, a Drybar hair dryer, and plush robes are all ready to upgrade your stay. The suites feature private patios overlooking Market Street or Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and offer impressive views to enjoy with your glass of wine.
A popular hotel for staycations and company retreats (I’ve done both at this location), The Woodlands Resort is a destination like no other. Stretching across 500 acres, the resort features a golf course, tennis courts, a beautiful spa, and high-end shopping boutiques. For the kids or kiddo at heart, enjoy a fun-filled day at the Forest Oasis Waterscape, which has two outdoor pools, a waterslide, and a lazy river.
A few honorable mentions: The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center & Embassy Suites by Hilton The Woodlands at Hughes Landing.
Downtown Houston is one of the busiest areas of the city — but that traditionally has been the case only during business hours. Where the district was not typically a popular place to venture to at night or on the weekends, that is changing drastically each year as downtown residential living is becoming more of a thing to do. In addition, areas like Discovery Green and the Theater District, plus the multiple sports stadiums, are turning downtown into a destination that offers something for everyone.
The JW Marriott Houston Downtown is perfect for those wanting to bask in the many entertainment venues in the downtown area. Its close proximity to Alley Theater, Theatre District Houston, Wortham Center, Minute Maid Park, Discovery Green Park, and the George R. Brown Convention Center, makes it a top choice for many travelers. The guest rooms are a sight to see too and come equipped with an in-room iPad that allows guests to book spa appointments, order room service, or call valet — and the complimentary wireless Internet access is a bonus.
Also close to Discovery Green Park and the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hotel Alessandra is a 5-star hotel offering a rooftop pool, guest rooms with impeccable city views, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary car service within the downtown area. An in-room tablet allows guests to order room service and schedule spa services and each guest room comes equipped with an espresso maker and minibar. The on-site restaurant, Lucienne, features French cuisine, and the Bar Bardot is known for its craft cocktails.
AC Hotels are ideal for creatives and those who want to mix a little work with pleasure. Recently opened in the summer of 2019, the hotel is drawing in guests who crave modern vibes, clean lines and want to be within walking distance to Midtown-area attractions. The guest rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, ultra-plush beds, and TVs with streaming capabilities.
Traveling to Houston? If so, drop any questions about the city, things to do, or places to eat in the comments below!