Texas is often seen — and rightfully so — as a pretty uptight and conservative state. However, no state is ever one dimensional, and Houston, with an openly lesbian mayor, proves that point. And a visit to the Hotel Derek only serves to sharpen the fact.
When it opened in 2002, Hotel Derek, A Destination Hotel, was Houston’s first large independent hotel, and today is still one of the city’s only boutique properties — despite the fact that Houston is the fourth largest city in the country. Its uniqueness has attracted celebrity guests such as Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Counting Crows, and New Kids on the Block.
Situated adjacent to Houston’s Galleria shopping mall just off the 610 Loop, the 15-story high Hotel Derek appears pretty traditional from the outside but one step inside and you see its true colors. The lobby feels like at funky art gallery. From a video installation broadcasting images of grazing cows to a life-size sculpture of a cow with the image of a Texas oil field painted on its side, the hotel’s abundance of artwork pays tribute to the Lone Star state while also being visual engaging.
In addition to guest registration, the lobby has a number of unique lounge areas that are perfect for meeting up with friends and colleagues. And next to the registration desk is a complimentary business center with computers and printing services.
The lobby level is also home to the pool and restaurant. The outdoor pool has an interesting triangular shape and terrace but is rather small given the hotel’s 312 rooms and Houston’s excessive summer heat. On the other hand, the on-site restaurant Revolve Kitchen + Bar is spacious and is highly praised for its food and drinks from the hotel’s guests as well as locals, who seem to really appreciate the happy hour specials.
Also spacious is the hotel’s gym. Open 24-hours and accessible by room key card, it features a variety of professional cardiovascular and strength-training equipment along with fresh towels and bottled water. For guests wanting to go for a run or walk the hotel has a map with designated routes.
Much like the lobby, Hotel Derek’s guestrooms skew a little unconventional. All of the accommodations have been renovated in the past couple years, and each room has a bright, modern décor that is framed by the floor to ceiling windows. Guests will also find cow print robes waiting for them in the closets.
The Standard Rooms offer a generous 350 square feet of space and are located on the third through eight floors. As you go to the higher floors the rooms options expand with additional amenities and space.
The hotel’s most luxurious accommodations are two Penthouse Suites. The 1,200 square foot rooms are on the top floor of the hotel and were conceptualized by Texas-based design firm Flick Mars in collaboration with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, one of the country’s premiere furniture designers with a popular retail location just steps from the hotel.
The makeover of the Penthouse Suites was completed in September 2014. The décor is in keeping with the same sleek look and edgy feel from the hotel’s other guestrooms, and features soothing color tones of storm cloud grey, cream, blue grey and pops of bold yellows and deep plums mixed with mirrored furnishings and stainless steel fixtures.
The Penthouse Suites also boast 46 square foot private balconies. Other amenities include two separate entrances, two Texas-sized bathrooms, luxurious down bed linens and a pillow menu for guests to select from at arrival; plus an office space, complimentary WiFi, and wet bar.
A stay in one of the Penthouse Suites comes with a hefty price tag of $2,200 per night, which is likely out of the price range for the average guest. However, the other guestrooms are very comparable in price to the surrounding cookie cutter corporate hotels.