A downtown Houston hotel reimagined –– plus 5 things to do nearby

By: Kristin Finan
July, 2021

It’s like someone turned on the lights inside Hyatt Regency Houston. 

A longtime downtown stalwart for business travelers thanks to its prime location and towering façade, the hotel recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation that has resulted in the ultimate glow-up for the 955-room hotel. 

Hyatt Regency Houston recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation. Hyatt Regency Houston photo

“The hotel was thoughtfully redesigned with today’s modern travelers and executives in mind, while incorporating odes to artist influences from throughout the state and reflecting Houston’s reputation as a world-class destination known for its rich history and modern innovations,” said John Schafer, managing director of Hyatt Regency Houston. “With the updates now complete, we are excited to reintroduce the hotel as a one-stop destination that blends top-notch hospitality, world-class dining and high-end meeting facilities paired with modern comforts and conveniences for business and leisure travelers alike.” 

RELATED: 24 hours of spa bliss at one of Houston’s poshest hotels

Having stayed at Hyatt Regency Houston in the past, I was curious to visit again last month, post-renovation, to see how different the property looked. Walking through the lobby doors, the transformation was immediately obvious. 

Rooms have a refreshed color palette at Hyatt Regency Houston. Hyatt Regency Houston photo

The hotel has swapped the green marble, brassy gold and rich mahogany of yesteryear for a light and bright concept that features everything from individual check-in stations with a backdrop of the 30-story atrium – a free-flowing concept meant to highlight the fluidity between interior design and architecture that the hotel says was inspired by the artist haven of Marfa – to guest rooms with a gray, blue and deep rose-petal color palette influenced by artist Mark Rothko.

Even the hotel’s signature steakhouse, Shula’s, has been reimagined with a Scandinavian contemporary aesthetic featuring warm, neutral and earth tones. 

Shula’s Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Houston is part of the refresh. Hyatt Regency Houston photo

During our stay, my kids naturally gravitated toward the sparkling rooftop pool, which offers one of the most beautiful views in downtown Houston. The pool is also in the midst of a family-friendly refresh that will add movie nights, s’mores and poolside games. 

The rooftop pool at the Hyatt Regency Houston. Hyatt Regency Houston photo

If you’re looking for a Houston basecamp that’s both luxurious and affordable – rates start around $150 a night – I highly recommend Hyatt Regency Houston. And if you do book a stay, here are five ideas for fun things to do in the area. 

Discovery Green

Downtown Houston needed a heartbeat, so several philanthropists got together to do something remarkable – they took a sprawling concrete eyesore and turned it into a lush and bustling 12-acre urban park called Discovery Green. Following a four-year transformation, Discovery Green opened in 2008 across from the George R. Brown Convention Center with features that include two restaurants, a fountain, a playground, a dog park, a lake, a putting green, bocce courts and multiple stages. The park also hosts hundreds of free events each year, ranging from fitness classes to concerts to movies on the lawn. During our recent visit, the park which is also filled with iconic art such as Margo Sawyer’s bright mosaic-style “Synchronicity of Color” to Jean Dubuffet’s red, white and blue “Monument Au Fantome” was brimming with families enjoying a lingering Sunday evening together.

Unique art is on order at Discover Green in Houston. Kristin Finan photo

Info: http://www.discoverygreen.com/

Houston Brew Pass

The Houston food and drink scene has been on fire for years, and there’s no better way to get a taste of the offerings literally than by snagging a Houston Brew Pass. The pass is $28.95 and allows you to select up to four of Houston’s incredible craft breweries to explore within a 24-hour period, with each providing flights or pints and some offering additional exclusive perks and discounts. There are more than a dozen breweries included on the pass, including Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Southern Star Brewing Co., Great Heights Brewing Company and Galveston Island Brewing. There’s also a three-day pass that includes 14 breweries for $39.95 and a 90-day pass for $74.95 that stays valid for 90 days after your first use. Don’t drink? Try the Houston Museum Pass, which includes admission to a dozen of the city’s world-class museums. 

Info: https://experience.visithouston.com/checkout/3/visit-houston/8/houston-marketplace/perk/484/houston-brew-pass 

RELATED: Daytrip to Dreamland in Dripping Springs

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

With an art scene as incredible as the one in Houston, it’s only fitting that there would be unexpected places to see it – including underground inside a former drinking water reservoir that was first built in 1926. Now, the Cistern, located at 105 Sabine St., has been transformed into a public space that houses changing art installations and is open for tours, including the 30-minute history tour, which focuses on the architecture of the space and its past, and 30-minute art tour, which currently offers a viewing of Anri Sala’s immersive installation, “Time No Longer,” on view through Dec. 12. Reservations are required. 

Info: https://buffalobayou.org/visit/destination/the-cistern/

Minute Maid Park

Located a short walk from the Hyatt Regency Houston, Minute Maid Park – home of the Houston Astros – is a great place to take in a game on a summer afternoon. But even if the team’s on the road while you’re visiting, you can still get a behind-the-scenes peek at the ballpark with a Minute Maid Park Tour, offered at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Expect to learn about Historic Union Station, check out the broadcasting and press boxes and even see the Astros’ and vistors’ dugouts. Cost is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for kids ages 3-14. 

Info: https://www.downtownhouston.org/guidedetail/tours/minute-maid-park-tour/

The Beer Can House

When people talk about Houston’s art scene, that talk isn’t just limited to museums – there’s also a quirky, experimental and unexpected vibe here that surprises you when you least expect it. Case in point: the Beer Can House. Started one drink at a time in 1968 by John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Beer Can House is now adorned with an estimated 50,000 beer cans and stands as a monument to recycling. It’s open for tours from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays; reservations are required and admission is $5. Children under 12 are free. 

Info: https://www.orangeshow.org/beer-can-house

If You Go

Stay:

The newly renovated Hyatt Regency Houston is ideally situated for taking in all that the city has to offer. Hyattregencyhouston.com

Do:

Discovery Green is an ideal spot for families looking for free fun. Minute Maid Park is a cool place to catch a game or a ballpark tour. For art, don’t miss the Houston Museum Pass or tours of the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern or the Beer Can House.

Insider tip:

Houston has one of the most magnificent food scenes in the country. Some favorite spots include Brennan’s of Houston, Backstreet Café and anything by James Beard Award Winner Chris Shepherd.

Info:

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