TEXAS Travel Guide
Jack and Marcus
If there’s anything that’ll make us fall for a hotel, it’s a hotel pet. And although Norman the Scooter Dog is a tough cute-hotel-doggy act to follow, here’s a worthy successor: Jack, the delectable Australian Shepherd here, who lives at the Lone Star Court, an old-motel-turned-retro-hotel in Austin.
Jack actually lives on site – above the front office with his GM roommate, Marcus Latner. But unlike you and me, Jack actually likes his roommate – so he spends the day on property, doing whatever Marcus is doing. Except, that is, when he’s chowing down on a deer antler (one that Marcus especially got for him, rather than the antler table lamps in the rooms).
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The hotel, originally built in 1923, has seen plenty of stars through out the years; it was where Hollywood's movers and shakers stayed while visiting the Texas city. It has seen everyone from Elvis Presley, Judy Garland and Katharine Hepburn in its glory days, to Jessica Simpson and Lebron James more recently after a 2008 refurb.
The new owners, HEI Hotels, plan to update the lobby-bar with modern furniture and take advantage of the unique courtyard to attract Dallas' social-set to the Uptown area hotel. Already, the landmark Beaux-Arts building has changed the restaurant name to T/X, and serving up revamped Latin-American cuisine. We do appreciate when hotels give their properties a little love and spruce things up a bit, even when they're historical legends.
Oh no they didn't!
Marriott announced this week they'll open a third - yes, a third - hotel inside Houston's historic Humble Oil Building by converting 82 apartments into hotel rooms. A new 166-room SpringHill Suites, slated to open in 2015, will join the 191-room Courtyard and the 171-room Residence Inn already residing in the building.
Apparently, Marriott doesn't think three's a crowd. We have seen examples of two brands under one roof, but we can't come up with another site that houses three hotels of the same parent company. There will be 528 hotel rooms in total if you treat them as one conglomerate, but it's not even close to being the biggest dog in town. The Hilton Americas-Houston, for example, has 1,200 rooms.
A room at the Westin Austin at the Domain
2015 will be a busy year for Austin, Texas. We’ve looked at the 50-story Fairmont Austin that will add 1,000+ rooms on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Red River Streets, promising views-galore over Lady Bird Lake and the city. Another 1,000+ rooms come courtesy of the JW Marriott Austin, on Congress Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets.
If all of that wasn’t enough, Starwood has just announced the Westin Austin Downtown, on East 5th and San Jacinto, opening in spring 2015. With its 326 rooms, that means hotel capacity will increase by a staggering 2,400 rooms within a five-block radius.
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Some of us are old enough (gulp) to remember the evening soap Dallas which began in the 1970s and ended in 1991. In it, that darn oil-rich Ewing family was always getting into trouble, but boy, did they live life to the fullest. However, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t remember the original show, you, too, can become a believer: We hear that the new version of Dallas has just been renewed by TNT for a second season.
To celebrate, The Fairmont Dallas wants you to try out the Ewing lifestyle with their "Dallas Oil Baron Experience” package. With the recent news of Larry Hagman's passing, maybe this is a way to let folks honor the 81-year-old actor's most memorable character, so we say, "go for it."
The package offers a minimum of two nights’ accommodation in a Fairmont Gold Room; access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge with its complimentary breaky and afternoon appies; a private tour for two of Southfork Ranch – the Ewing family’s abode; champagne; and a ride in a chauffeured BMW to Neiman Marcus for some shopping therapy. And because you’re special, you even get a signed copy of the Neiman Marcus Taste cookbook as a memento of your weekend of wealth.
Rates for the “Dallas Oil Baron Experience” package start at $469/night. Oh, and don’t forget your cowboy boots. The hotel doesn’t say they’re necessary, but if you’re going to walk the walk….
[Photos: The Fairmont Hotels and Resorts]
Now that the school-season is in effect, it seems fitting that Houston’s quirky Hotel ZaZa, in the heart of the city’s Museum District (and downtown central business region), linked with the Museum of Natural Science’s new Paleontology Hall and created a dinosaur of a discount package to go along with the towering Triassic installation in the hotel’s lobby.
Parents dropping of kids at top-dog Rice and Texas Southern Universities, those in town for Houston Texans football games, or people visiting for work can take advantage of this handsome deal. The Texas Triassic Tour Package includes:
• One night in one of the 300 luxury rooms
• Admission for two to the Houston Museum of Natural Science's Paleontology Hall
• Dinner for two the hotel’s Monarch Bistro
• Complimentary bottle of house wine with dinner at Monarch Bistro
• Complimentary valet parking nightly
• Complimentary daily internet access
Rates for this package begin at $249 a night (which is more than 40% off)
But wait, there's more!
But wait, there's more!