An intimate boutique hotel with a B&B feel, La Colombe D’Or (meaning “golden dove” in French) is a Texas landmark built in 1923 as a private residence, for the founder of Humble Oil. Acquired by Steven Zimmerman in 1979, the “Fondren Mansion” became one of the smallest luxury hotels in the world. The unique property also has its own art gallery and Le Grand Salon event space, which has carved wood panel walls that originally hung in a French chateau. The third-floor gallery displays sculpture and oil paintings by local and international artists as well as works on paper by Picasso, Dali, and Man Ray, and there are many more pieces sprinkled throughout the property.
With only five suites (all named after French artists such as Monet and Degas) and nine villas (across the street from the ballroom), all flush with original art and 19th-century French antiques, the hotel feels personal yet posh. Bonus: 24-hour concierge service, complimentary Wi-Fi, and select transportation.
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A fixture in Montrose, one of Houston’s hippest neighborhoods (part of the Museum District), La Colombe d’Or affords easy accessibility—even walkability—to crown jewels such as Rothko Chapel and the Menil Collection. Not to mention, it’s very near to nationally acclaimed restaurants including Underbelly, Roost, and Uchi. For the city’s best cocktails, head to Anvil Bar & Refuge. Coffee-crazed visitors should caffeinate at Blacksmith.
Need to Know
Rooms: 5 suites, 9 villas. From $295. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:For fine dining on the hotel’s first floor,Restaurant CINQ serves cocktails and dinner (think escargots, crispy foie gras, red snapper, and duck breast) six days a week and lunch five days a week with French flair. In-suite private dining is also available. Spa and gym details:There is no spa or fitness center, but the newly restored (to the tune of $58 million) Buffalo Bayou Park is nearby—as are several salons and spas.
Who's it for: Luxury travelers, art lovers, history buffs, and couples. Our favorite rooms: The Renoir Suite has a sunroom adjacent to the bedroom, plus a chandelier and striking art on the walls. Dining highlight:Ask about Restaurant CINQ’s new “oil barrel special,” a three-course meal for the price of a barrel of oil, which as of this writing is running less than $50—though the price fluctuates daily, depending on current fuel costs.