Four-Star Hotel and International Restaurant near Houston's Galleria
Revamped as part of a $25 million renovation completed in April 2014, with its glass façade, the 23-story Royal Sonesta Houston complements the modern look of its neighbor, The Galleria, one of the nation's largest shopping malls. The four-star hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to The Galleria, where you can browse more than 350 stores, play at a tennis club, dine at one of several sit-down restaurants, and skate at an indoor ice rink year-round. Royal Sonesta Houston is also a short drive from other popular attractions, including the museum district and the Houston Zoo.
A baby grand piano and a winding staircase in the lobby add classy touches to the decor. Upstairs, guest rooms continue that elegant aesthetic with neutral-toned furnishings accented by vibrant artwork and patterned carpets.
Head to the hotel's ARA restaurant for breakfast, or stop by later to select from an extensive menu of international dishes for lunch and dinner (one of this Getaway's option includes a $30 credit). The Axis lounge offers a laid-back atmosphere where you can sip specialty cocktails and local and global craft beers.
Uptown Houston: World-Class Shopping, International Cuisine, and Picturesque Bayous
Uptown Houston is best known for The Galleria, which Travel + Leisure named one of America's most-visited shopping malls. It has hundreds of shops, suspended glass balconies, and vaulted glass ceilings modeled after Italian Renaissance arcades. But the area has plenty to offer beyond high-end boutiques and retail stores. Steps from the massive shopping mall, the 64-story Williams Tower looms as the city's tallest building outside the downtown area. Be sure to get a snapshot in front of the neighboring water wall, where thousands of gallons of water cascade down a sleek six-story structure.
But if shopping's your thing, Uptown Park presents a charming alternative to The Galleria. The outdoor mall brings to mind a Venetian piazza with its Romanesque columns, stone fountains, and open-air bistros bedecked with strings of twinkling lights. You can also indulge in some of Houston's best dining here, at a classic Italian restaurant, a French eatery, and quaint cafés.
For a taste of Houston's scenery, venture to Memorial Park, a nearly 1,500-acre playground with bayous, bike trails, and volleyball courts. Check out the park's Arboretum & Nature Center to hike nature trails highlighting native plants and wildlife.