Ah, the holidays are here. For many of us that means visiting relatives and friends. Where can you safely and happily stash your holiday visitors? What's the best bang for your buck? Here's our list of top hotels for visiting relatives and friends. They're spread out around the city. Prices are estimates (we requested rates for one room with two double/queen beds, checking in on December 23 and checking out December 27. Ratings and comments are from user reviews and our own firsthand experience.
10. Hotel La Quinta Inn & Suites - Houston Intercontinental Airport South 15510 John F. Kennedy, 281-219-2000
Let's start somewhere close to the Bush Intercontinental Airport. One online price quote for our fictional stay of four nights for four. was $388. Pretty good price.
On the positive side: The hotel has free breakfast, an onsite restaurant and shuttle service to the airport. It's clean, comfortable and located close enough to IAH that picking up and dropping off visitors at the airport should be a quick trip.
On the negative side: There's isn't much within walking distance and the noise from the airplanes flying overhead might disturb some visitors. (We think of this as the In-law special, cheap and close to the airport.)
9. The Lancaster Hotel 701 Texas Avenue, 713-228-9500
Perfect for visitors who want to stay in the theater district, the Lancaster Hotel is rated four-stars. This one's a little on the pricy side - $741 for our four-person/four night stay. User reviews often comment on the excellent location (walking distance to all of the city's major performing arts venues and several restaurants). Also, the hotel's restaurant is excellent. There's free internet, a complimentary shuttle to downtown locations and $24 a day valet parking.
On the negative side, some of the rooms are smaller and more simply decorated than would be expected in a luxury hotel (this is an older hotel that's been refurbished).
8. Homewood Suites by Hilton Houston 401 Bay Area Boulevard, 281-486-7677
In case you have someone who wants to stay near the Houston Space Center, we recommend the Homewood Suites. A recent online price quote for four nights, four people was $473 (that's two double beds with breakfast). The hotel's not exactly within walking distance of anything, visitors will need a car (or a ride). The site's lovely enough that you won't feel guilty about parking relatives and visitors there for long periods of time.
7. Hotel Element by Westin Houston Vintage Park 14555 Vintage Preserve Parkway, 281-379-7300
This three-star property has a user rating of 9.2 (better than average, damn near excellent). For our fictional family stay, we got an online quote of $455.
The hotel offers free internet, free breakfast and live entertainment. It's a modern property that's close to shopping, making it perfect dropping off visitors at the shops.
6. SpringHill Suites Marriott Houston Hobby Airport 7922 Mosley Road, 713-943-1713
We like the SpringHill Suites' cheery rooms. This is a three-star hotel with an 8.1 user rating. Our online price quote was $473. The hotel gets the highest marks from users for its comfortable beds, polite/helpful service and its cleanliness. We think this is one of the outstanding hotels in the Hobby Airport area.
5. Magnolia Hotel 1100 Texas Avenue, 713-221-0011
We're back downtown for the Magnolia Hotel, what we consider one of the best bargains on our list. The four-star hotel has a 9.0 user rating (excellent). For two queen beds for four nights, we got a quote of $439. That's about $100 a day for a family of four. Total. Users most often comment on the romantic, boutique setting. There's a rooftop pool, a free downtown shuttle, $24 a day parking fee (with in and out privileges).
4. Hotel Sorella, City Centre 800 West Sam Houston Parkway North, 713-973-1600
Out in the Town and Country area of town, to the far west of downtown, we like Hotel Sorella. It's a four-star hotel, with a 9.0 user rating. For two double beds for four nights, we got a quote of $791. Yeah, that's a little pricey, but Hotel Sorella's worth it. There's an onsite spa, plenty of nearby shopping and eating. Users most often comment on the hotel's modern, clean design.
3. Four Seasons Hotel Houston 1300 Lamar, 713-650-1300
This is the most expensive hotel on our list - it's also the only five-star property. For a mere $1,165 your guests will enjoy four nights in one the most luxurious hotels in the region - but not in an "I'm a rapper and have money to burn" way. This is real luxury, modern and upscale without pretension. There's a fantastic bar and pool, a rooftop terrace with a breathtaking view of the city and live music. Users give it a 9.1 rating.
2. Embassy Suites Houston Downtown 1515 Dallas, 713-739-9100
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Want to make a good impression on your new in-laws? We suggest the Embassy Suites - Downtown. It's a three-star hotel with a 9.3 user rating (the highest on our list). Yeah, the price - $670 for a four night stay for four - isn't the most budget-friendly, but it's a good value for the money. There's a pool, free shuttle service, free wi-fi, free breakfast, 24-hour room service and a view of the park from many rooms.
1. Hilton Americas - Houston 1600 Lamar, 713-739-8000
At $510 for a four night stay for four, this four-star hotel is a great value. With a 9.1 user rating, there's a nice mix of comfort and luxury. There's an indoor pool (so necessary in Houston), a great bar, 24-hour room service, valet, downtown limo service. The property includes a beauty salon and spa (with massage as well as beauty treatments offered).
The biggest draw for us is the hotel's location; it's right smack in the middle of the Discovery Green/Convention Center complex. During big events (sports or concerts), the lobby is usually filled with celebrities and near-celebrities so you don't even have to leave the property for some Hollywood-style people watching.