Houston’s first boutique hotel, the Lancaster is also the oldest continually operating hotel in town. Built in 1926 by Sicilian-born Houston investor Michele DeGeorge, it’s still in his family—independently owned and operated by five of his great grandchildren. Commensurately, it has a personal touch and an emphasis on service that adds to the charm of the intimate Italian renaissance style hotel.
A $10 million renovation in 2013 breathed new life and tech upgrades into the lobby (with stately columns, chevron floors, and a grand staircase leading to the mezzanine level), meeting rooms, and all guest rooms and suites. Rich in Houston history, the hotel was named a Texas historic landmark in 1984 and recently became the city’s only member of Historic Hotels of America. Rooms are comfortable and immaculate—albeit cozy quarters. And just as if you were a guest in a friend’s home, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi and a full-service American breakfast buffet with coffee, housemade scones, granola, fruits, farm-to-table eggs, bacon, and sausage.
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The prime downtown location, across the street from both Jones Hall and the Alley Theater, is within walking distance to nearly all of the other major theater and music venues in Houston’s Theater District. It’s also accessible to all businesses in the downtown financial district and George R. Brown Convention Center. For a nearby bite with local flavor, visit El Big Bad (known for its extensive tequila lists) or Hearsay Gastro Lounge (known for excellent cocktails).
Need to Know
Rooms: 84 rooms, 9 suites. From $169. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:Bistro Lancaster, the in-house restaurant, plays host to many a power breakfast and business lunch. The American bistro is also a smart choice for drinks and dinner before or after a performance. Dinner dishes include crab cakes, grilled meats, gourmet salads, and the signature croissant bread pudding. Spa and gym details: There is no on-site spa or fitness center, but Lancaster provides complimentary day passes for guests to Houstonian Lite, a luxury health club less than a block from the hotel. Houstonian Lite also offers massage appointments.
Who's it for: Luxury and business travelers, couples, history lovers, and theatergoers who appreciate character and charm over square footage. Our favorite rooms: The DeGeorge 1926 Suite feels more like an apartment than a hotel room. It has two king bedrooms with private Carrera marble baths with Waterworks fixtures, a separate sitting room/den area with a sofa and oversize leather chair, and a dining area with white olive wood floors. For baseball fans:Ask about the “beer and baseball” package, which includes parking, cold Texas brews, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks, plus car service to and from an Astros game at Minute Maid Park.