Remember the staycation craze? When the economy tanked nearly 10 years ago, they were all the rage. Locals who saw their incomes shrink become explorers in their own cities, discovering sights and sounds they didn’t know they were missing.
Move over, staycation. Downtown is introducing the SAFEcation.
Like its explore-your-own-backyard cousin, the safecation offers an in-town getaway for people tired of being cooped up at home during the pandemic—but don’t want to find themselves on crowded airplanes. In other words, everyone. We're also overwhelmed by working, learning and childcare all taking place in the limited square footage of our own homes.
Given our current situation, who wouldn’t want to get away from it all for a weekend or two?
Just in time for our sanity, Downtown Houston and our stellar hospitality industry have gotten creative with a whole range of offers for anyone wanting to choose their own adventure while staying safe. From a romantic weekend (heeeeeey) to fun with family, this fall it’s all about finding ways to change your surroundings, indulge a little and STAY HEALTHY.
We’ve curated a list of Downtown hotel deals designed for your very own great escape. Each offers something unique and ALL of them are a quick jaunt from our favorite Downtown destinations. Outdoorsy explorers can walk, bike or paddle through some of the city’s green spaces like Market Square Park, Buffalo Bayou Park or Discovery Green. Grab takeout at Bravery Chef Hall, Phoenicia Specialty Foods or a ton of tasty Downtown restaurants to turn any outing into a picnic. Just know that the city’s hotels, restaurants, shops and parks are ready to safely welcome guests this fall!
The Big Brands Bring Their A-Game
Marriott Hotels announced this summer the corporation was upping its cleanliness and safety features to combat the spread of COVID-19. From electrostatic sprayers for hospital-grade disinfecting and increased cleaning of high-touch spaces in its guest rooms, the brand has been all about helping guests feel safe. They've even installed social distancing signage in addition to contactless check-ins and the ability to use your phone as a room key!
See firsthand how those enhancements translate to a great stay with the AC Marriott’s (723 Main) Salud to the Weekend! package, which runs through Dec. 31. In addition to getting 50 percent off the room rate, the stay includes complimentary parking, a king room, two complimentary Starbucks refreshers and a 2 p.m. checkout. That’ll give you some extra time to enjoy the hotel’s Main Street location! Take a walk up to Market Square Park or grab lunch to go from the Corner Bakery before heading over to Market Square or Discovery Green. Rates start at $129 a night.
Sister property the Marriott Marquis (1777 Walker) has two specials that inject a little luxury into these decidedly un-luxurious times. The Experience Romance package comes with a bottle of champagne AND 20 percent off a 50- or 80-minute spa treatment for one person, plus a take-home spa amenity. Rates start at $299 a night. Want something more indulgent? The Experience Spa offer includes a glass of champagne, a free 50-minute spa treatment and a spa amenity to take home. Available Sunday through Wednesday, rates start at $309 a night. Plus, up your stay by reserving a poolside cabana, the perfect vantage point to enjoy the Marquis’ Texas-shaped outdoor pool. Walk a few blocks over to Phoenicia, and you can grab an array of imported and house-made cheeses, baked goods, dips, premade meals and more for a picnic at scenic Discovery Green.
The Hotel ICON, one of the city’s chicest choices and located in the former Union National Bank Building (220 Main), is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The boutique brand-within-a-brand makes for a one-of-a-kind experience. With the Any Day to Getaway offer, you’ll get complimentary parking, wi-fi and an in-room movie with popcorn and two sodas. That’s a perfect mini-break for couples or families after a change of scene. The rate is good through Dec. 31.
Lovers of luxury know The Four Seasons has always been the place for indulgence, but this time it’s all about health, too. The organization partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine to create a suite of health and safety measures based on medical best practices. The result is the Lead With Care program, which showcases enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures along with additional food-handling protocols and improved ventilation systems. The Four Seasons (1300 Lamar) is offering a Resident’s Retreat with 10 percent off room rates, complimentary valet parking, a daily American breakfast for two and an in-room movie that comes complete with popcorn and two sodas. The offer runs through Sept. 7. (At press time, the hotel was considering expanding the package’s dates.) Rates start at $346 a night. While Quattro, the hotel’s signature Italian restaurant, is temporarily closed, in-room dining is available, and the chic Bayou & Bottle bar is open for wine, cocktails and light bites Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.
Chic Boutique Spots for Safecation Experiences
Downtown’s independent hotels are offering unique experiences and exquisite (trust us) service. The Hotel Alessandra (1070 Dallas), one of Texas-based Valencia Hotel Group’s properties, prides itself on all things cosmopolitan. You’ll see what we mean if you book the Spa and Relaxation package—a weekend of pure bliss. Included with your luxurious accommodations for two are a $100 spa credit for facial or body treatment and a plush Alessandra monogrammed robe to take home. All services of 60 minutes or more include complimentary access to Alessandra’s pool and fitness center. Light bites and contemporary twists on classic cocktails are served at Bardot, Alessandra’s luxe second-floor bar that also handles room service. Rates start at $199 a night. For those who decide to venture out, there’s even a BCycle rental right around the corner.
One of Downtown’s historic hotels, The Lancaster (701 Texas) sits in the heart of the Theater District. Luxury abounds, from the plush Frette bedding and Bulgari bath products to thoughtful details like turndown service and double-pane windows for insulation from the sounds of the city. The Romance package includes complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries, sparkling wine and valet parking—as well as a late 3 p.m. checkout. You’re also in for a free gourmet breakfast buffet and 15 percent off all food and beverages during the stay. Rates start at $259 a night, and the offer is good through Dec. 31. The Lancaster’s location means quick access to Buffalo Bayou Park and easy takeout from Bravery Chef Hall.
The Sam Houston Hotel (1117 Prairie) combines Downtown history with 21st-century convenience. The 2020 Stimulus Package offers 50 percent off a two-night stay with the code STL and rates starting at $59 a night. The offer is good through January 10. Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, the Sam’s restaurant Pearl is temporarily close—BUT you can still find global takeout at Bravery Chef Hall. Nearby Potente, with a menu of upscale Italian food, is open with socially distanced seating as well as takeout and delivery.
The Whitehall (1700 Smith) is a relative newcomer to Downtown, but it’s making a name for itself when it comes to effortless luxury. The hotel is offering a Stay & Play package through Sept. 30 that includes deluxe accommodations at 30 percent off AND overnight valet parking. You’ll also get access to the second-floor rooftop pool and its cozy cabanas. Rates start at $104 a night. While the Whitehall’s restaurants are temporarily closed for dine-in, the hotel’s signature spot Edgar’s Hermano brings its Tex-Mex directly to you with in-room dining.
For more “safecation” ideas, visit downtownhouston.org/staycations!
Hotels included in this article:
Embassy Suites Downtown Houston
The Four Seasons
Hampton Inn Downtown Houston
Promo Code: FODG
Experience Romance Promo Code: ZJ7
Experience Spa Promo Code: ZJ10
The Sam Houston Hotel