DUE NORTH OF Downtown, on the eastern edge of the Heights in the historic Brooke Smith neighborhood, something amazing has happened: A funky little motel has sprung open with color and style and appealing quirkiness. Astonishingly, it's the only boutique hotel in the Heights.
The former Astro Inn has been reborn as the 133-room, poolside, retro-fabulous Heights House Hotel. Its restaurant, called Space Cowboy, serves tropical cocktails and comfort food by Chef Lyle Bento.
Before the renovation
Neon lights and good vibes abound at the Heights House Hotel
Pool passes will be available starting in June
Bright colors set a staycation mood
Enjoy community activities like yoga on the lawn
The hotel lobby
"The two-acre property was purchased in 2019 by local business owners Jivar Foty and George Giannukos," according to a statement the hotel released yesterday. "Foty's Rise Construction has completed a nearly year-long renovation — which included a complete interior gut, improved insulation, new roof, exterior additions and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the property — transforming the rundown motel into a vibrant, first-of-its-kind destination in Houston for staycationers, business travelers and poolside revelers alike."
Said Foty: "The Heights House Hotel is a trendy and quirky hotel that offers an experience like no other in Houston. We are one of the few vibrant, colorful, boutique hotels in the city, and the only hotel in the Heights community. We're targeting people who want to have a good time, with good vibes. We want to become a local hangout, the place to stay for visitors of Houston, and the go-to hotel for business travelers."
For his part, Giannukos added: "I'm honored to have the opportunity to put my fingerprint on the landscape of the city and the Heights neighborhood. It's exciting to create a place that future generations will enjoy and recognize as a landmark in the community. Art and beauty doesn't need to be expensive. We wanted to create a beautiful space full of art and color at an accessible price."
The place has the vibe of the hip retro motels in transitional parts of San Francisco a few years back, or the emerging parts of outer Austin now. Maintaining the hotel's original midcentury feel, the original A-frame lobby was preserved, with the addition of a big "Good Vibes Only" mural painted on its exterior, overlooking the pool area. The Mexico-based artists who painted it also did the bright '60s-savvy number on Heights House's south façade, featuring a blonde bombshell and a rocket ship.
Furnishings in guest rooms tilt more sleek contemporary, having been sourced from Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel. The color scheme throughout is punchy and bright — with big accents of aqua, teal and orange.
Rooms for the dog-friendly hotel start at $100 a night on weekdays. Day passes to the pool, set to open in June, will run $20 so locals can take a dip — and order food from Space Cowboy poolside. Heights House will cater to hospitality industry workers with special rates, the owners said.
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