Houston’s Four Seasons Hotel has been a luxurious landmark in the heart of downtown for some three decades, welcoming A-listers, celebrities, visiting dignitaries, and discriminating locals. Famed for its “nothing is too over-the-top,” five-star approach to guest needs (without being too Vegas-y), the hotel has been long synonymous with tasteful elegance.
But seasons change — as has the Four Seasons. Houston’s outpost of the global brand, management felt, was in need of a refresher. “Every hotel, just like your home, goes through an evolution,” hotel general manager Tom Segesta tells CultureMap. “You always want to keep it updated and relevant. For us, it was time.”
While there was no shortage of worldwide, top designers vying for the opportunity to redesign the hotel’s rooms and suites, Segesta and ownership opted for a local eye and handed the project to widely acclaimed, Houston-based Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio. A fitting match, as rock star Rottet, like the Four Seasons, has an impressive reach beyond Houston and has helmed projects for myriad haute hotels across the globe.
The result is consummately Houston. The rooms reflect the city’s understated charm and boast a color scheme that Segesta notes, “brings the outside in.” Orange and blue splashes play to a Lone Star State sun and big Texas sky, respectively.
Saddle tan leathers speak to a cowboy heritage, while rich oak wood meets antique brass detailing (a Rottet staple also found in her work in the recently reopened La Colombe d’Or boutique hotel). Contemporary pieces like a new lounge/seater accent the windows; a clever sliding mirror conceals the bath. Amenities remain high-end and a smart TV allows for streaming.
Updated Ambassador Suites boast 1,100 square feet of living space with a bedroom, separate living room, dining room, wet bar, and two bathrooms.
Calling to mind a keenly crafted high-rise apartment, the new Presidential Suite (1,935 square feet) and Penthouse (1,570 square feet) elevate the stay. Located on the 20th floor and offering sweeping skyline views, each contains rich leather furnishings, a wide-open living space, a dining room, and full-sized wet bar for that epic, in-room bash.
Clean, bright marble lines the bathrooms; soaking tubs present perfect stress relief.
Speaking of stress relief, go-getters will no doubt hop on the Peloton bike in the in-suite gym, utilize the interactive MIRROR device, or pump the available weights. (One imagines a visiting starlet working out here before a show at neighboring Toyota Center).
For larger groups, the Presidential Suite can be extended to a two-bedroom configuration, while the Penthouse can be extended to a homey, three-bedroom accommodation, perfect for VIPs with families. “Travel sometimes is hard,” notes Segesta. “We’ve created a home away from home.” (A dazzling home, indeed.)
A bastion of old-school Houston fetes, the hotel’s ballroom was primed, too, for an update. That task fell on New York City-based Meyer Davis, which also directed design on the lobby — locals know it as “Houston’s living room.”
Gone are the dated ballroom chandeliers and low ceilings, now, blue leather lines the walls to the space that can sit 500 for banquets and 800 for less-involved events.
Grand walnut doors with bronze metal portals and hardware flank architectural light fixtures, creating an organized rhythm throughout the atrium. Space is provided for pre-event happenings (including a podium), perfect for awards or presentations, or press conferences. Silvery drapes add soft sheen to the more masculine space.
A place for every season
Segesta says he’s received rave reviews on the new rooms and suites — as is their way, staff is decidedly hush-hush on just which celebs and names have recently visited.
He also points to a new series of guest experiences the hotel offers, such as a charcuterie-making class, a bourbon tour, personalized workouts from star athlete coaches, and more. A new restaurant — its theme and approach still unannounced — will also greet guests.
For now, fans of the brand can cozy up in the lush new digs, take a dive in the beloved saltwater pool, swing it at the in-house Top Golf, and sidle up at the Bayou & Bottle bar and lounge, all for what Segesta dubs a “distinctly Houston experience.”