Omni Houston Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The 378-room Omni Houston Hotel is big on both style and substance. Well-appointed, modern, and comfortable, the hotel sits in a lovely residential area just outside Memorial Park. The huge, white exterior may be a bit commanding and cold, but inside the hotel attempts to sooth with a Zen-like lobby with calming water features and delicate white orchids. Beautiful, updated guest rooms have flat-screen TVs and alarm clocks with MP3 hookups, while damask-printed accents provide a sophisticated touch. In the bathrooms, oversize mirrors and wallpaper add a designer look. Perks of the property include two large geometric pools with a bar and private cabanas, two restaurants (one for dinner, one for all three meals) and a bar, a spacious fitness center, and a full-service spa. Kids have plenty to enjoy besides the pools -- fun-filled backpacks upon check in, as well as free milk and cookies during their first night's stay.
Omni Houston Hotel at Westside Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 400-room Omni Houston Hotel at Westside is an upscale business chain located in a suburban area near Memorial City Mall. But this hotel has plenty for kids; an older property, the hotel completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, and the stunning lobby now features a large koi pond where tall, slender trees extend from small circular islands and children love to watch the turtles. Other additions include a makeover for Black Gold Bar, a down-home place accented with animal skulls and dark wood. Rooms have contemporary -- but bland -- decor, and flat-screen TVs. Plus, the outdoor pool is huge compared to those at comparable properties closer to downtown and free bedtime milk and cookies for kids during their first night's stay is an extra perk.
Magnolia Hotel Houston Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This 314-room downtown hotel is housed in a 1926 building that was the original corporate headquarters of Shell Oil Company. But it's not all about historic appeal here -- guests are greeted by the fantastic modern lobby, which features high ceilings, curved suede sofas, soft lighting, and a cool fireplace. Each room is outfitted with premium bedding, thick velvet drapes and flat-screen TVs. Gorgeous bathrooms feature marble and granite, and each has a separate walk-in shower and big soaking tub. Kid-friendly amenities include a small pool, free milk and cookies, and free breakfast.
Sheraton Suites Houston Near the Galleria Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Sheraton Suites' reputation as a business-friendly chain lives up to its name in this professional, unpretentious hotel near the Houston Galleria. The 281-suite property features a sophisticated lobby with a grand painting of the Texas landscape. And families will likely appreciate the one- and two-bedroom suites, which are well-appointed with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers equipped with Starbucks coffee. The beds have fluffy white bedding, and the bathrooms are nice and clean (although the wallpaper is a little old-fashioned). Amenities include a solid fitness center, a well-known steakhouse chain, and a nice pool area.