Gulf Cooking and Golf Swinging at Four Seasons Houston

April 22, 2018
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Pulling into the porte-cochere at the Four Seasons Houston, there’s no mistaking that one has arrived in Texas. Houston’s wide avenues give way to a grand circle drive where guests are greeted by bell staff in cowboy hats offering hearty greetings and broad smiles.

It’s an arrival experience one can expect from Four Seasons, which has taken pains to impart a distinctive sense of place to each property worldwide. Arriving here, one would be hard-pressed to think they’d arrive anywhere else. The smooth stones and tufted leather sofas give off the feeling of a grand cattle ranch, and the open-plan lobby bar and restaurant rattle with a cozy bustle in the evenings.

The service I received on my visit really set the staff apart. A storm had moved through the area the previous evening, and lingering transformer issues caused blackouts in some parts of the building. When I reached my floor, the corridors were dark and the guest room was warm with no air conditioning or lights. I’d barely managed to sit down before a bellman appeared with my luggage, called the front desk, found a new room, and whisked me away to it.

The new room happened to be in the residential tower, which has a private lobby and elevator, and the rooms are designed for long-term stays, with full kitchens and dining areas. In both towers, guest rooms are outfitted lavishly with standard Four Seasons amenities. Bath amenities vary based on the locale and flavor of the hotel, and in Houston, it’s Salvatore Ferragamo’s Tuscan Soul, perhaps a nod to the region’s vaguely Mediterranean climate.

It’s that same climate that makes the hotel pool a necessity, and the rooftop pool here is a gem. Surrounded by hotel rooms with direct access, the pool, hot tub, and outdoor bar are shaded by tall trees and have plenty of beach clubby lounge furniture. Outdoor grills are also available, undoubtedly for the benefit of the residential guests.

The Four Seasons bed is one thing that changes very little from property to property, and it melts away Houston days just as easily as it does days on the other side of the planet. My bedside companion figurine, to be laid on the sheets if they require changing, had a similar local flair to the tiny Boeing jetliner at the brand’s Seattle property. In Houston, the figurine is a locally made ceramic cowboy boot that can be purchased to benefit a local children’s hospital.

When it’s time for happy hour, the lounge experience is heightened in the lobby with the Richard Sandoval concept Bayou & Bottle, which is bourbon-themed and plush, drawing inspiration from southern culinary traditions. Here, guests can sip on a Dr. Pepper-inspired old fashioned and graze on house-made charcuterie and shareable plates like Richard Sandoval’s signature lobster tacos or a sumptuous take on gulf shrimp and grits.

For the golf-minded, TopGolf has installed Swing Suites as part of the lounge, where guests can enjoy food and drinks from the lounge while practicing their swings on a variety of challenges and courses. There’s room for a group of up to about six, and non-guests can take advantage of lunchtime specials to get some practice in during the workday.

The Takeaway

The Four Seasons Houston hits all the required notes of the famed hospitality brand, with a heady infusion of local color that will satisfy guests on even the shortest of visits.

The Math

I’ve seen weekend rates from $276 during the off-season.

Instagrammable Moment

My feed got good engagement from shots of the Top Golf Swing Suites, comfortable guest rooms and gracious pool deck.

Loyalty

Four Seasons does not operate a loyalty program.

Good To Know

Guests planning to spend much of their time at the pool can take advantage of Cabana Rooms with direct access to the pool deck.

The hotel’s luxury apartments offer facilities designed for longer-term stays.

Accommodations were provided by Four Seasons Houston in preparation for this story.



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