For my wife’s birthday we decided to do a brief 1-night staycation at our very own Marriott Marquis Houston, which is in the heart of Downtown in the Convention Center District. Known for its Texas-shaped lazy river we were quite excited to finally stay at this property, especially since we had our 8-month old with us. We stayed Saturday, Oct. 12th – Sunday, Oct. 13th. I booked direct a couple of months prior to our stay using a PointSaver promotion, which proved exceptionally valuable because (a) the Astros were playing high-profile games just a couple of blocks from the hotel, and (b) it included a room that was on the 26th floor which overlooked the lazy river / pool.
I checked in early using the mobile app and received my mobile room key at about 11am on the day of our arrival. We were afforded a noon check-in. Upon arrival to the hotel we immediately noticed a table full of sparkling wine that was being served to anyone who desired a glass. I think this is a must when it comes to greeting guests! Since I used the mobile app to check in and get my room key, we bypassed the front desk and got our things unloaded in no time. However, I ended up having to go down to the desk after all in order to obtain our pool terrace wristbands. The whole process was seamless and each staff member I dealt with at the front desk (as well as on the mobile app chat function) was courteous and professional.
The Marriott Marquis Houston is, first and foremost, a gorgeous property with an excellent location. Situation right across the street from the inner-city park, Discovery Green, and walking distance to a litany of wonderful restaurants this property is ideal in so many ways. Everything about this hotel is Texas-sized, from the pick-up/drop-off zones, to the lobby, to the check-in desks, to the elevator banks, etc. Spacious, well-lit, and always buzzing with just the right amount of activity, this property is the perfect blend of Busy and Relaxing.
We stayed on the 26th floor in a standard King Bed Guest Room overlooking the lovely lazy river terrace. Our room was quaint, simple, clean, and suited our needs perfectly. We especially liked the floor-to-ceiling window as it afforded us a great view of Downtown and of the pool area.
View of Downtown from our room
My son observing the sights
Lazy river during the evening
Lazy river at night
Downtown sunset from our room
The Pool Terrace:
The hotel’s claim-to-fame, the pool terrace is home to a heated Texas-shaped lazy river, a heated infinity pool, a hot tub, multiple large fire pits, an event space, a bar & grille, as well as all the sun lounge chairs and cabanas you could possibly need. The entire deck area was kept quite clean by a large and attentive staff, and the guests were all well-behaved and courteous of one another (even there were a lot of kids). Spending time on this terrace was certainly our favorite aspect of the trip.
Downtown from the terrace
As many of you know the food is one aspect of a hotel stay that I focus on…a lot. Alas, because I was already well-acquainted with the food options that Marriott Marquis Houston offered (or at least had access to) I had zero doubts in my mind that no matter where we ate the food would be good. I was right.
- - - Biggio's- - -
We had a late lunch at Biggio’s, which is located inside of the hotel. We really enjoyed our time there, especially since the Astros were playing; this gave the restaurant a nice energy. I generally don’t gravitate towards sports bars, but I will always make an exception for Biggio’s because it doesn’t have that dingy sports bar feel to it. It is well-staffed, bright with natural light, spacious enough to dull the noise, and offers delicious food.
Brisket Mac & Cheese
Chicken Sandwich w/Blue Moon
We then had dinner at Xochi, which is also located inside of the hotel. Xochi (so-chee) is a restaurant concept owned by renowned Houston chef and restaurateur Hugo Ortega, and is an elevated experience offering unique and flavorful cuisine native to Oaxaca, Mexico. This is by no means your typical Latin American restaurant! My wife & I had dined here once before back when the restaurant first opened but it was for lunch, which rarely offers an accurate glimpse into a restaurant’s capabilities. I’m glad we were finally able to return for dinner.
The Greatest Margarita
Houston Strong Margarita
Turn Down Service
For after-dinner drinks we left Xochi and walked through the lobby to Cueva, which is the hotel’s wine bar. We loved this place! While the wine itself suffers from an intolerable markup, the mixed drink offerings were nice and the “Ancho-Rita” I had was very good. We didn’t partake in the light fare offered at Cueva, but I certainly plan to next time as they had a few items that caught my attention.
Lobby lighting above Cueva
---Walker Street Kitchen---
The following morning, we got breakfast at Walker Street Kitchen, which is the hotel’s very own restaurant. While our waiter was courteous, he was a bit aloof and seemed to have trouble understanding some of our requests. This caused at least two mix-ups which were quite avoidable. In any event, they were by no means major issues and our dining experience wasn’t tainted by them. My wife & I thought the food was delicious but the one thing that tainted my wife’s experience was her finding two hairs in her migas. Now, we’ve both worked in restaurants for years and are fully aware of the fact that this is a routine occurrence (unfortunately) but still…no one likes to find hair in their food. In general I think having Walker Street Kitchen onsite is a good option for those looking for a casual place to dine, especially for breakfast, but it wasn’t anything remarkable. That being said, I don’t think it’s meant to be remarkable, so in my opinion it does exactly what it’s meant to do.
As I mentioned elsewhere, each hotel staff member we dealt with was kind and professional. Not only did people go out of there way to assist us, but the attention they gave our 8-month old son was very warm and genuine: he truly stole the hearts of so many staff members and guests! This friendliness and attentiveness really made for an even more pleasant stay.
My wife & I quickly concluded that our staycation at the Marriott Marquis Houston was our best yet, and I am already looking forward to returning. The amazing amenities, the friendly staff, the great food options, the unbeatable location, and the overall cleanliness and size of the property make this hotel an experience to behold.