Scorching heat, a global pandemic, and uncertain times across the country all are an almost apocalyptic reality we have been living in 2020. Luckily for us, there is a reprieve within reach summarized in one word: staycation. Staycations offer an opportunity to get away without going far. Staycations offer the ability to clear minds without having to board a plane or jet. Staycations offer a holiday close to home. And fall promising a cool, crispness in the air, is upon us!
We searched Houston to find hotels and restaurants featuring safety measures to ensure you are comfortable during your stay away from home. The hotels we are featuring today require guests to wear masks in their common areas and fully sterilize their rooms prior to guests starting their stay. You can enjoy your time without worrying about personal safety.
Now, let’s talk about location. In Houston, there are two luxurious hotels that we suggest for a weekend stay. You might even want to stay more than a few days once you give these gorgeous spots a shot. There are two fabulous and chic parts of town you can explore while on your fall staycation, so we wrote about some nearby places to visit as well .
The Hotel ZaZa and The Museum District
If you are looking for a chic, modern spot to sit and enjoy gorgeous poolside views, consider booking a weekend at The Hotel ZaZa. This boutique hotel chain now has several locations, but the location in Houston’s Museum District is nothing short of a piece of art. Speaking of art, this hotel features several gorgeous pieces of art throughout the hotel lobby and located within rooms. For an opulent weekend, be sure to upgrade your stay to a suite. Suites with the ZaZa feature a variety of amenities available contingent upon which suite guests select. Suites feature full-sized living rooms, additional sleeping spaces, and even full-sized kitchens. My personal favorite suite feature: a hot tub on the patio overlooking Hermann Park in a popular room called the Tycoon.
If you are tense from months of being at home, fear not! The Hotel ZaZa features a top-notch spa. Massages, facials, and special baths are available to help you unwind. The ZaZa also features an array of amenities, not to be overshadowed by one of it’s best-the secluded, unique pool area. Individual cabanas are available to rent overlook with beautiful views of the neighborhood. Located onsite there is also dining, a bar, and gym facilities so you can stay onsite for your whole visit if you so choose or venture out to the rest of the Museum District.
Things to Do:
The Museum District is one of the gems of the greater Houston area for a reason. As its name indicates, this area has some of the best attractions in town. Have a visit appreciating some of the finest art collections in the country and even enjoying the natural beauty on the campuses of these collections.
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005)- with one of the largest collections of art in the country, this sprawling mecca of art hosts over 64,000 works in its various buildings. This is always a must-stop in any staycation itinerary.
McGovern Centennial Gardens (1500 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004)- If you are looking for a classically gorgeous garden, McGovern is your spot. Just a hop, skip, and a step away from museums also features sculptures for the avid art consumer that also loves the outdoors.
The Menil Collection (1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006)- This museum hosts a collection of modern art, features the Rothko Chapel, The Byzantine Fresco Chapel, and a full campus of engaging activities available to guests.
Locations to Dine:
In the past, this area had a bit of shortage when it came to places to dine. Thankfully, Houston is now one of the hippest food hotspots in the whole country and the Houston Museum District hosts two fantastic options we are happy to recommend.
The Pit Room (1201 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77006)- this BBQ restaurant features dishes full of flavor for a down-home treat. The Pit Room is a great stop for a lunch mid museum day.
MF Sushi (1401 Binz St Ste 100, Houston, TX 77004)- if you love sushi, this is the place featuring a traditional Japanese style menu with an option to call ahead for Omasake-a specialty chef-prepared meal. Be sure to pop by for a lovely dinner that will not disappoint.
The Post Oak Hotel and Uptown Houston
If you are looking for a truly luxe experience, look no further than the area’s’ only five-diamond rated gem, The Post Oak Hotel. Located in the elegant Uptown area, this hotel’s property features not only truly exceptional lodging, but also features office spaces, restaurants, and shopping. Upon entering this stunning new lobby, guests are struck by high ceilings, unique art, an unusual chandelier, and a poolside view.
Suites at The Post Hotel features a bar, living room quarters, and an unparalleled peek at Houston from up high.
The Post Oak Hotel is not limited to suites or rooms, however. The hotel features two fantastic spots to dine within the building and within the same parking lot, two Houston restaurant classics. This site also features a full-service spa, with every service you can imagine. Sprawling a massive 20,000 square feet, this spa is truly a retreat you can easily get lost in for a full day if you so choose.
Another avenue to complete relaxation is to spend the day poolside. Servers can offer drinks or food poolside, which boasts of an almost art deco design with in-pool lounge chairs. This area also features five cabanas available for rent with an old Hollywood feel.
What makes The Post Oak Hotel unique is an array of experiences exclusive to this hotel. Perhaps one of the most distinctive features on this hotel’s property is a Rolls Royce/Bentley dealership. But the most outstanding experiences this hotel offered aren’t necessarily the visible ones. This hotel takes hospitality to the next level by having optional Experiences on Demand featuring the opportunities to visit tigers, sharks, take helicopter rides across the city, taste fine wines or whiskeys, and many other exciting adventures that are a booking away.
Things to Do:
The Uptown area of Houston features some of the best shopping in Houston. With more than just stores, this part of town has a little something for everyone.
The Rooftop Cinema Club (1700 Post Oak Blvd Fl 5, Houston, TX 77056)- if you are looking for an outdoor, socially distant night of fun or miss your movie going days, this is your spot.
Elizabeth Anthony (1180 Uptown Park Blvd #8, Houston, TX 77056)- an elegant storefront with a rotating cycle of renowned designers makes this shop one of the best places to go for eveningwear or handbags in Houston.
The Rustic (1121 Uptown Park Blvd Ste 4, Houston, TX 77056)- this outdoor venue is one of the few places in Houston you can catch live music safely (following health regulations) every Thursday-Sunday while dining on some tasty treats.
Locations to Dine:
The Post Oak Hotel features several restaurants on its grounds including the well-known Maestros, which is a great option for a steak dinner. However, if you care to venture off The Post Oak’s extensive property, there are several options nearby.
Craft Pita (1920 Fountain View Dr, Houston, TX 77057)- a delightful spot for lunch run by a team of professionals will ensure you have the best lunch you can get in the area from a local business owner.
North Italia (1700 Post Oak Blvd Ste 190, Houston, TX 77056)- fresh-made pasta and an amazing bolognese you won’t quickly forget makes this restaurant a necessary stop on your itinerary for your staycation.
Peli Peli South African Kitchen (5085 Westheimer Rd Ste B2515, Houston, TX 77056)- despite being located in the traffic-heavy Galleria, this spot will transport you to a different part of the world featuring a diverse menu full of delight.
Like the simple joy of meeting a friend in a crowded coffee shop or the comforting feeling of huddling with family over heaping plates at a bustling restaurant, gathering with a group, shoulder to shoulder, for a festive day of live music can offer a thrill unlike any other. While the “new normal” can, at times, feel anything but — after all, shoulder to shoulder is limited to six feet apart these days — Houston is cautiously pivoting to allow visitors access to live entertainment in a safe and appropriate way.
Over the past six months, many establishments have made the necessary adjustments in the way of sanitizing surfaces and reconfiguring furniture to offer clean, well-spaced out dining rooms and patios for social distancing. Pair that with limiting capacity and adhering to the proper CDC guidelines, the journey back into Houston’s dining and entertainment scene has been a gradual one. And for those who prefer to play it safe, many restaurants and live-performance venues offer virtual experiences as an option to bring the fun into the home.
In Downtown, the famed House of Blues concert hall has rescheduled or canceled a number of its previously planned shows after Covid-19 cases continue to fluctuate across the country making it difficult for bands to tour. However, live music lovers can still partake in the fun of something new with the addition of Greensky Bluegrass: The Leapyear Sessions, a series of virtual concerts offered every Friday in September by rock ‘n’ roll band Greensky Bluegrass who incorporate instruments like the banjo and mandolin into their show. The weekly shows, presented in high definition complete with the high energy of lights in a true concert venue, come as a result of the band’s 3-night run postponement at Red Rock Amphitheatre and the longing to play as a group together again. Tickets for each show are $14.95, which guests can live-stream from the comfort of their own living room.
Though some can argue it isn’t quite the same to watch from home, the silver lining of viewing a concert virtually is that the music of the world can be brought directly to you. On September 5th, the Houston Symphony presents POPS Live from Jones Hall: Best of Broadway, a live-stream show given by singers from Houston’s Theatre Under The Stars and musicians from the Houston Symphony. No travel to New York City necessary! Featured will be hits from Waitress, Les Misérables, Jekyll and Hyde, Frozen and Ragtime. The one-hour show begins at 8:00 pm and tickets can be purchased in advance for $20.
In the way of venturing out of the house though, there are plenty of venues to rediscover. Downtown’s The Rustic is offering free music to go along with its menu of casual comfort fare and frozen drinks. Andy McCarthy takes the stage on Thursday, September 3rd, Daniel Holmes and Max Flinn on the 4th and JB Barnett plays on Saturday, September 5th during the Talk Derby to Me Kentucky Derby-themed “Jam & Toast” brunch.
In Montrose, longtime standbys Avant Garden and La Grange have resumed business as usual with live music on their respective patios. Avant Garden’s scenic courtyard and lush gardens sets the stage for a rotating list of DJs and live local talent. Down the street, La Grange also offers a pretty patio to parlay on and enjoy coastal Mexican cuisine with cocktails. The Wednesday steak night with John Egan gives guests the opportunity to pair live music by local talent from 7 to 9 pm with a $17 special featuring an 8 oz butcher’s cut, two head-on Gulf shrimp, asparagus, rice and garlic butter.
Then, the weekend brings Dem Roots Music to the patio every Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm, performing for a festive Sunday Funday crowd.
Houston nightlife veteran, Scott Gertner is living proof that the rhythm is going to get you, and invites visitors to indulge at his newest concept The Rhythm Room in the Bayou Bend neighborhood off of Memorial Drive. A day-to-night lounge, bar and patio offers a full kitchen, cocktails and live music Wednesday through Sunday with local talent manning the mic and turn tables. On Saturday, September 5th, R&B singer Melanie Covington will host an all-white soiree (guests are encouraged to dress in all white) in honor of her birthday, followed by an after party by DJ Rich Kidd, with doors opening at 6 pm. Guests can wine and dine while they dance the night away — the menu places a spotlight on Gulf Coast cuisine and classic cocktails like spicy Bloody Mary’s and frozen watermelon daiquiris.
Visitors to Hermann Park or the Museum District may want to duck into Monarch at the ultra-trendy Hotel Zaza as Music on the Drive resumes on Friday, September 11th from 6 to 10 pm. The inaugural evening will kick off with the Kelly Peters Trio, a band who covers all genres including modern classics. Guests can make a night of it as the menu from Monarch which features fine dining with a Texas twist and libations will be available. In an effort to maintain social distancing within the intimate space, reservations are required.
Live music and fresh seafood are a regular weekly occurrence at buzzy River Oaks District hot spot Loch Bar, where talented singers and bands can be found performing for guests Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9 pm to 1 am in the main dining room. During the month of September, Little Terry and the Bluesbirds will take up residence every Thursday and Saturday, while Stevie Matthews covers Friday nights. The restaurant’s kitchen is open until 1:30 am on weekends, so kicking back with an order of Maryland crab cakes or a seafood tower and gin martini is recommended.
New to the scene, in Uptown, Turner’s is the latest concept from the highly coveted Berg Hospitality Group (B&B Butchers, BB Lemon). Located beneath iconic Houston restaurant the Annie Café & Bar on Post Oak and hidden in plain sight with just a subtle letter “T” posted on its awning, this grandiose venue gives new meaning to the phrase “dinner and a show”. Fitted with a single mahogany baby grand piano, guests can pair intimate performances from local pianists amidst a backdrop of vintage décor with a sophisticated menu curated by executive chef Robert del Grande. Upscale from start to finish, menu highlights boast king crab terrine, escargot and braised oxtail ‘en croûte’ and Lobster Thermidor with a broad-ranging wine list, reaching upwards of $10,500. Labor Day weekend finds pianists Alex Navarro (Thursday, September 3rd), Gilbert Sedeno (Friday, September 4th), and Barry Sames (Saturday, September 5th) performing with reservations available in the main dining room, and bar seating available, first come first serve.
Live-performances and virtual concerts may look a little different, and they may feel a little different, but there is a lot of heart behind each note played and each song sung. There is no doubt things will continue to change as the year goes on… but for now, there is plenty of great live music being played in the city, and even more great food and drink to go along with it. For Houstonians, by Houstonians — the beat goes on.
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