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 hotel 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. Considering the convenient location -- and particularly the hotel's long list of amenities -- the Royal Sonesta offers a surprisingly good value for a luxury hotel.
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, and its prices tend to be quite reasonable for this level of hotel. 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. The fitness center is big and modern, and the outdoor pool is huge compared to those at comparable properties closer to downtown. The hotel has several meeting rooms for business travelers, but free Wi-Fi is only available to Omni Hotel members (it's free to join). The location is far from Downtown Houston, so it's best suited for those doing business in the area.