One of downtown's luxury hotels has reopened with a new name and a fresh perspective. The Laura Hotel, Autograph Collection replaces the Hotel Alessandra in the heart of the central business district.
Named for the steamship that took Houston's founders up Buffalo Bayou to Allen's Landing, The Laura replaces the Alessandra's European-inspired design with a modern Southern perspective. The 20-story, 223-room hotel still sports a wealth of amenities that are designed to appeal to both business travelers and staycationers taking advantage of its proximity to attractions such as Discovery Green, House of Blues, and the Toyota Center.
That starts with a new restaurant named Hull & Oak Southern Kitchen. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant offers an eclectic menu that ranges from Korean fried chicken wings and green garlic hummus to smoked shortrib flatbread and crispy skin salmon with shaved Brussels sprouts. Its companion bar offers a comfortable place to linger over twists on classics cocktails such as a smoked Old Fashioned.
Once upstairs, hotel guests will find rooms that feature both modern and art deco design elements. Bathrooms offer marble counters and deep soaking tubs.
Other amenities include a rooftop pool and a fitness center. The hotel's spa, a major part of the Alessandra's appeal, will reopen this spring.
The Laura has planned a variety of activities and events to lure visitors. They include monthly wine tasting classes, onsite cigar events that feature selections from the hotel's humidor, poolside parties, and a weekend music listening series that features local artists.
Rates start at $174 per night for a standard guest room with two beds. Those coming for a staycation may want to inquire about the Bubbles & Brew package that includes welcome beverages at The Laura Bar and a $50 food and beverage credit for use at the bar or restaurant. It starts at $219 per night.
“Much like when the steamship Laura made its way through Buffalo Bayou to open up a world of possibilities at the founding of modern-day Houston, today’s The Laura Hotel, Autograph Collection is the backdrop for business and personal adventures,” general manager Charley Morales said in a statement. "We look forward to visitors and locals embracing our warm hospitality and upscale service and using that hotel as the launch point for exploring the great city of Houston.”
Originally opened in late 2017, the Hotel Alessandra closed in January 2021. Host Hotels & Resorts, the company that owns an extensive array of properties including the St. Regis and the J.W. Marriott in the Galleria area, purchased the hotel for $65 million. It will operate as part of Autograph Collection Hotels, a group of over 240 properties in 41 countries and territories that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program.