Houston: Come for the Renovations, Stay for the Electric Cabs

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While trolling the nether regions of the UK press, we came upon this, touting the wonders of Houston as a luxury vacation spot.

It's all enough to make Hair Balls wish it didn't live here already so it could start making travel plans now!

We cannot help but imagine how impressed our luxury-seeking Limey friends will be with "the expansion of Bayport Terminal, the opening of Houston Premium Outlets and Houston Pavillions." Blimey! A Books-A-Million, pet!

Not to mention the improved transport delivered by "developments within Terminal E at Bush International Airport and the addition of Houston to the CityPass scheme," and "a wealth of new developments, renovations and new openings."

While unwinding from gazing awestruck at developments and renovations, the author recommends you pamper yourself at a Galleria-area place called Gentlemen's Tonic, where you can choose between two distinct spa treatments -- the Hemingway ("perfect after a heavy night on the town") or the Montgomery ("for those who like to take charge.") Rowwwrrr!

Or you could get a spa treatment at the Omni Houston Hotel," which "has just launched its luxurious new Mokara Spa as part of a $30 million (£20 million) expansion and renovation project."

For those not of the metrosexual persuasion, the article's decent recommendation is that you download recordings of former experimental punk-rock musician and current Sugar Hill Studios co-owner Dan Workman's tales of Houston's yesterdays and today. (Or you could take Shara Fryer and Guy Hagstette along on your strolls around, respectively, the Museum District and Discovery Green.)  

"All visitors need is an MP3 player or an iPod, to experience these educational and fun tours which are suitable for the whole family to enjoy."

Sounds great, you say, but how will I get my family from one walking tour to another? Environmentally friendlily, that's how!

"Getting around downtown and midtown Houston couldn't be easier with the launch of a new environmentally friendly electric/zero emission motorcar taxi service. REV, Houston's short-trip service allows passengers to hail a cab from designated REV Stops by calling or texting 1.877.Go.REV.Go."

So much for the attractions! Where should I stay?

They've got you covered: another of the many thrilling renovation projects ongoing in this dynamo of a firecracker of a hotspot is the Hotel Derek, which is "known for its trendy décor and celebrity guest [sic] -- including country mega stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Counting Crows and New Kids on the Block as well as a host of others."

We're picturing the surreality of a visiting Limey sitting in a (renovated) sauna next to Adam Duritz while Dan Workman's disembodied voice reminisces about the glory days of Cabaret Voltaire in the background...

That's a pretty heavy scene, to be sure, maybe a little too heavy for some. In that case, you can lay your weary head down at the Embassy Suites Downtown which the article proudly introduces as "the first privately developed, full service downtown hotel to be built from the ground up in Houston's Central Business District in the past 25 years," only that's not technically true, because as the article goes on to state, it is not expected to open until late next year.

So...we're not quite sure why it was one of two hotels listed under "Where to Stay in Houston," but still... Tim McGraw! Spa treatments! Renovations!

-- John Nova Lomax

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