Crowne Plaza, with six hotels in metro Houston, promises a two-hour response guarantee to all space and date availability inquiries. A designated meeting director can help with advance planning, last-minute changes and will help planners stay in budget with a daily debriefing. Discounts and bonuses are available through its loyalty program, Priority Club Meeting Rewards. The 259-room Crowne Plaza Houston-Downtown has 12,000 square feet of meeting/event space for groups of up 500. The 207-room Crowne Plaza Galleria Area is conveniently situated inside the Loop and has 14,000 square feet of flexible event space. The 354-room Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks, halfway between the Galleria Mall and downtown, has more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The 653-room Crowne Plaza Near Reliant is adjacent to the Reliant Sports & Entertainment Complex and near the airport. It has 60,000 square feet of flexible function space. The 259-room Crowne Plaza Northwest Brookhollow, near many of the city’s major corporations, has 17,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms and 10 meeting rooms. The 244-suite Crown Plaza Suites near Sugarland offers a suburban setting with full-service conference and meeting space for up to 300 people. The hotel offers complimentary transportation to local attractions during select hours.
The 23-story Royal Sonesta Houston Hotel in Uptown Houston is one block from the Galleria Mall, which offers shopping, dining and entertainment. It has 485 rooms/suites and 50,000 square feet of function space in 23 meeting and breakout rooms. The largest space, the Legend’s Ballroom, accommodates groups up to 1,000. The hotel is within walking distance of the business district, eight miles from the Houston Convention Center, minutes from downtown, and near the city’s theater and museum districts.
The Grove, a restaurant and bar in downtown’s Discovery Green, uses herbs from its own garden, recycles and composts, and uses only compostable or biodegradable disposables. Its menu is rustic American, and it has three private dining areas: the Green Room (capacity: 24), the Primavera Room (capacity: 80) and the Vista Room (capacity: 170). The Vista Room has a panoramic park view and is next to a tequila bar and outdoor terrace. An event lawn can be tented for groups up to 800 people. The 1,200-room Hilton Americas Houston, a Green Seal-certified hotel, has 91,500 square feet of meeting space including 40,000-sq. ft. and 26,000-sq. ft. ballroom. It’s the largest convention property in the area — it’s connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center and next to the Toyota Center, home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Amenities at the AAA Four-Diamond hotel include two restaurants, three bars/lounges and a spa. For a full list of green venues and suppliers, go to visithoustontexas.com/visitors/green/Index.
Carmelo’s Restaurant serves Sicilian-style Italian cuisine to groups of eight to 300. Entertainment is provided by a strolling street musician. Venues include multiple wine rooms, a Roman aqueduct-themed bar and Italian piazzas. Maggiano’s Houston serves authentic Italian cuisine family-style in a corporate-friendly, wood-paneled atmosphere. Choose from one of five banquet rooms or seasonal patio seating for events large and small. Maggiano’s, near Galleria Mall and Uptown Park, can accommodate groups up to 200. Vic & Anthony’s, a Zagat-rated steakhouse, has a piano lounge and bar, private boardroom, wine room and ballroom for small to medium-size functions. The Capital Grill, a high-end steakhouse, features an award-winning wine list. Treat guests to authentic Mexican food and killer margaritas at Armando’s, which has a private dining room with reception space for 70 and a banquet capacity of 30. Or hire Armando’s Taco Truck to bring tacos and magaritas to you for a midday snack or funky reception. Landry’s Westheimer, a longtime Houston landmark known for its seafood, has private dining for groups up to 45 and semi-private dining for groups up to 60.
The Hard Rock Café Houston has a living museum of rock ’n’ roll memorabilia and four function spaces for meetings/events. These include the 70-person Lone Star Room and 50-person Hard Rock Deck. The entire venue accommodates up to 400 guests reception-style. The Downtown Aquarium has a 6,000-sq. ft. ballroom, a private wraparound balcony, picnic area, dive lounge and the underwater Aquarium Restaurant with panoramic views of more than 100 species of tropical fish. The House of Blues (capacity: 1,500) has several private dining areas, including its VIP Foundation Room, and a two-story concert venue. Liven up a dinner event with a soul food buffet and wine served in coffee cups at the Breakfast Klub, which has a small stage for entertainers.
Hotel Derek, next to the Houston Galleria, is a hip, luxurious boutique property with dedicated concierge service, two swank boardrooms, a 4,800-sq. ft. ballroom and one of the hottest Italian restaurants in Texas. Its banquet hall holds up to 500 people. Sustainable and organic banquet menus and recycling bins are available. La Colombe d’Or is the world’s smallest luxury hotel, with six suites in its historic mansion, and one- and two-bedroom villa suites arranged around a courtyard. Event space is available in its European-style wild game restaurant and elegant Le Grande Salon ballroom.
Create a field-level banquet inside the Astrodome. Hold a reception on one of the concourse levels at the stadium or reserve a private skybox for VIP seating. Minute Maid Park has a conference center with video teleconferencing and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment as well as restaurant venues. Sam Houston Race Park has 19 luxury suites and banquet/exhibit space. Groups that meet on game days get their company name in lights on the tote board and in the program.
Let groups feel like pro baseball players during batting practice or a softball game at Minute Maid Park. Take attendees on bayou kayak or canoe trips from Allen’s Landing, where the city was founded, to Houston’s historic downtown. At the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, attendees can create alongside local artists. With versatile meeting space for large corporate groups or small gatherings, Dave & Buster’s is perfect for kicking back or kicking butt. Engage your group in a team-building activity or let attendees explore on their own. You also have the option of renting out the entire place — up to 70,000 square feet, depending upon location. Amusement Masters has a large inventory of indoor/outdoor amusements and games, from familiar favorites to high-tech interactive simulators and green screens. It can provide services for corporate events, theme parties and team-building, centered around arcade, casino or sports games, zip lining, green screen photo imaging, virtual reality simulators, karaoke, inflatables, Xbox, Wii or Playstation 3 kiosks or good old-fashioned pool tables, LED dance floors or laser tag.
Third Coast Comedy offers corporate “Life Is Improv” workshops and can facilitate or role-play at training seminars. University of Houston Corporate Training creates customized seminars on topics such as leadership and management skills, professional development and cross-cultural communication. The Holocaust Museum Houston’s Cultural Bridges program teaches future leaders the value of diversity and inclusion with roundtables and seminars that can be adapted for private groups.
The 240-room South Shore Harbour Resort, located halfway between Houston and Galveston Island by Space Center Houston, has more than 30,000 square feet of conference space overlooking the marina at Clear Lake. Its staff can help planners arrange golf trips, dinner cruises and fishing charters.
Space Center Houston offers reception and presentation space, space mission simulations, souvenir photos and space-related exhibits. Progressive events through Project Row Houses’ unusual galleries/artist studios expose attendees to works that explore the African-American experience. Several Houston museums have reception/meeting space, including the Menil Collection (and its Rothko Chapel) and the Houston Museum of Natural Science (check out the Gems and Minerals Collection room). The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts can do seated dinners onstage, and has special Monday-Friday corporate rates. Groups up to 2,500 can buy out the Houston Zoo for a night. The zoo offers behind-the-scenes tours, unusual dining facilities and indoor meeting space. Discovery Green, an urban oasis outside the convention center, has areas that can be tented for receptions/banquets, an outdoor amphitheater, restaurant venues and, during the winter, an ice-skating rink.
“Where the Chefs Eat” culinary tours let attendees munch their way through Houston the way its celebrity chefs do. Rather than focusing on their own restaurants, the chefs highlight the unique local spots and markets they dine when they’re not at work. Tours include multiple tastings, limo-bus transportation and a gift bag.
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Houston's concentrated effort to add attractions and amenities to its first-class convention corridor has created a vibrant downtown scene. MetroRail connects the massive facilities of Reliant Park and the George R. Brown Convention Center to the Medical Center, the theater and museum districts, and boutique hotels. The city plans to open a light rail extension running from the Galleria to Reliant Park in the next couple of years, connecting the city's two most popular meeting destinations. United Airlines has a major hub here, making it easy to get attendees to and from the city. The airline offers group travel booking assistance through its United Meetings program.
The quality and diversity of the city's arts and cultural amenities are top-notch. From the Houston Opera and Project Row Houses to the Menil Collection and Houston's Chinatown, planners have an interesting range of entertainment and venue options. Because this is not a compact city, it's easier to anchor a group in a neighborhood or a destination resort than shuttle attendees all over the city. Groups staying downtown, however, will find the light rail efficient, clean and easy to use, and Yellow Cabs traveling within the Central Business District charge a flat $6 per trip for up to four passengers.
For more information or planning assistance, contact Travel Texas.