Hotel at a Glance: Hotel Derek
Hotel Derek is Texas with an upscale twist. The name itself is a play on the derrick drilling rig, a nod to Houston’s oil-rich past. Located in the heart of the city’s Uptown neighborhood, the hotel is less than half a mile from The Galleria, a sprawling mall with hundreds of brand-name retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, as well as a slew of restaurants.
- AAA Four Diamond restaurant Valentino serves up Texas-style breakfast daily, with dishes including huevos rancheros and pecan-raisin french toast.
- Upscale nightlife: At Vin Bar, an extensive list of wine and beer complements entrees such as baby back ribs, lobster pot pie, and buffalo burgers.
- See it all: Large windows in superior rooms overlook uptown or downtown Houston.
- Must-see nearby attraction: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which currently houses the exhibit Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait.
Houston: Space History, Museums, and World-Class Dining in Nation’s Fourth-Largest City
As the nation’s fourth-largest city by population, Houston has established itself as one of the Gulf Coast’s most thriving cultural hubs. The city has 19 museums covering everything from history to art to science. For art lovers, the Menil Collection—which Frommer’s calls “one of the world’s great private collections”—is a must-see. Here, you’ll browse a wide array of 20th-century art from Jasper Johns, René Magritte, and Andy Warhol, as well as artifacts from Africa and the Pacific Islands.
You could also spend an entire day exploring Houston’s science institutions. When Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell said his famous “Houston, we have a problem” line, he was talking to mission control at Space Center Houston. Here, visitors can tour the historic mission-control room and get a behind-the-scenes look at astronauts training for the International Space Station. Along Houston’s Hermann Park, The Health Museum exhibits a large-scale human body that you can enter to learn about how your organs operate.
For shopping, visit Uptown Park, an outdoor mall that brings to mind an Italian piazza through Romanesque columns, stone fountains, and open-air bistros with strings of twinkling lights. According to a Zagat survey, Houstonians dine out more than anyone else in the country, and this mall offers some of the city’s best eats, from sushi to Spanish tapas to creamy cupcakes.