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 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. Though the Magnolia comes in at a close second, this Omni tops our list; afterall it has two pools and a spa.
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. There's no spa, but guests can access the 24-hour fitness center or hit up Houston's only rooftop pool and Jacuzzi for some sun and relaxation. The hotel also offers some great perks, including free shoe shines, free daily breakfast, and an evening reception with assorted beers and wines. Bedtime milk and cookies are also served -- a cute and comforting touch.
Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 485-room, business-oriented chain hotel is located off the busy West Loop freeway, within walking distance to shops and restaurants. The big lobby has comfy seating areas, and a large curving staircase stationed next to a baby grand piano adds wow factor. The classic, chain-like rooms have big, comfortable beds with crisp bedding and fluffy pillows, and leather arm chairs. Suites feature small kitchenettes, while all rooms have flat-screen TVs and minibars (though guests are charged merely for using the fridge). The bathrooms are simple and clean and feature high-end Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. The Royal Sonesta has no on-site spa, but the concierge can arrange in-room massage services. Amenities include a modern fitness center, a classy restaurant and bar, and an outdoor pool in a sunny courtyard.
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. This older property completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, and the stunning lobby now features a large koi pond where tall, slender trees extend from small circular islands. 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. The bathrooms are clean but generic, and shower/tub combos have dated pink tile (one reason why this luxury property comes in last on our list). The fitness center is big and modern, and the outdoor pool is huge compared to those at comparable properties closer to downtown.