Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hip Houston

           In only a few years Downtown Houston has reinvented itself. Once a place to do business during daylight hours, in addition to some nightlife and the Astros, today downtown Houston owns a thriving shopping and dining scene, the remarkable, sustainable Discovery Green park and hip new places to live and stay overnight.

            The new EmbassySuites is a prime example, sporting fun colors and modern furniture and designs, plus complementary amenities of free Wifi, manager’s reception at night and a full “cooked-to-order” breakfast with friendly, helpful staff. The hotel features 262 all-suite rooms in this hip high-rise, with a sitting area separate from the bedroom, both very comfortable and arranged to accommodate any mood, whether business, entertaining or a family gathering. All rooms offer a kitchenette, sofa bed, MP3 connections and flat-screen TVs with HBO and Showtime.

            Swim through fountains in the indulgent pool or soak in the terrace spa, both of which overlook Discovery Green, the George Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, or work out in the 24-hour fitness center. A shuttle is available to take visitors throughout the downtown area until about 10 p.m. each night.

            Because of the location, visitors should take advantage of Discovery Green and its almost daily activities, whether learning yoga or zumba or listening to a free concert. Also close by is Houston Pavilions, Houston’s Theatre District (fourth largest in the country) and Bayou Place. Houston Pavilions is home to many dining options, including the House of Blues. Since we arrived mid-afternoon, we voted for Guadalajara, another colorful hip spot downtown, and its Happy Hour, enjoying margaritas and appetizers for a discount.

            Along that vein I would recommend “Houston Classic Mexican Recipes” by Erin Hicks Miller (Pelican Publishing), a collection of recipes from the city’s many great Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants.

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