Originally the Union National Bank Building—built in 1911—the 12-floor landmark in downtown Houston debuted as Hotel Icon in 2004 after a $35 million makeover. The historic structure beautifully maintains its neoclassical architecture with period details like grand arched windows and stately columns and nods to its roots with rich interior design details that make guests feel like they’re stepping back in time. All of this is juxtaposed with contemporary luxuries—from plush linens and velvet seating to Jacuzzi bathtubs and walk-in rain showers. Charmingly (and appropriately), some rooms have antique claw-foot tubs.
Hotel Icon is one of the first Marriott Autograph Collection properties in Texas, and its Main Street location sits along the 7.5-mile Metro LightRail line that runs through downtown. That means easy access to Houston’s Central Business District, George R. Brown Convention Center, Texas Medical Center, Hermann Park, and the Museum District.
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Market Square, a Historic District park with green space, a dog run, September 11 memorial, and restaurants, is one block from the hotel. The park sits across the street from old-school jukebox havens: La Carafe, the oldest bar in Houston, and Warren’s Inn, a dive bar with plenty of personality. The hotel is also located one block from Allen’s Landing, the site of the city’s founding and one of the access points to the newly renovated Buffalo Bayou Park waterfront trail system. As you explore the $30 million renovation, seek and press the hidden red button inside one of the pillars on the Preston Street Bridge to make the bayou waters bubble.
Need to Know
Rooms: 135 rooms, 18 suites. From $159. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:The hotel restaurant, Line & Lariat, serves comfort dishes like Texas venison stew, Icon meatloaf and potato cakes, and duck or Wagyu beef sliders until 10 p.m. L&L Bar takes after-hours food orders alongside a dense menu of classic and contemporary craft cocktails, regional draught beer, and wine. Bonus: The former basement vault serves as the Wine Vault and an intimate space for private dining, complete with a window into the kitchen. Spa and gym details:The executive fitness center is open 24 hours, and the by-appointment BALANCE Urban Day Spa also offers in-room services.
Who’s it for: Business and luxury travelers; history buffs; and lovers of all things retro. Our favorite rooms: The three-story—and only one of its kind in the city—Penthouse Suite has a full-floor lounge that opens to a private 600-square-foot terrace with vast views of the city. The two-story Presidential Suite isn’t too shabby, either. Good to know:The L&L Barhas one of the longest-lasting daily happy hours in town. Cocktail specials kick off at 2 p.m. and go until 7 p.m. Ask about complimentary car service within downtown via a luxurious 11-seat Mercedes-Benz.