PaperCity Magazine

May 2018- Houston

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Page 49 of 83

48 I n the library, surrounded by Assouline books, looking down on a pool that's much more boutique hotel than sprawling Las Vegas resort, the sensibilities of The Post Oak shimmer. Tilman The Machinations Behind the New Post Oak Hotel TOWER OF POWER Houston's new showcase hotel, The Post Oak, greets the world as a grand luxury tower with a $350 million price tag, a two-story Rolls-Royce dealership that jettisons into the lobby level's main corridor, and Tilman Fertitta as its commander. But a closer look reveals that the brilliantly executed details are what will help set it apart and hopefully — if Fertitta gets his way — garner a coveted five-star-rating. If his five-star obsession is going to be reached, it will come from the unexpected elements, from millions of dollars in stellar artwork to a surprisingly sophisticated shopping arena, a book-filled retreat, and a data-driven plan. This is the hidden side of The Post Oak. BY CHRIS BALDWIN Fertitta's new 38-story luxury hotel, high-rise residential and office tower, and restaurant and shopping complex may be grand, but it's full of small escapes and surprising touches. The library is one such retreat. Another is the trail of museum-quality art by blue-chip artists Alex Katz, Frank Stella, Robert Motherwell, Rachel Hovnanian, and Donald Sultan, with a Howard Hodgkin hanging casually over a manicure station in the spa. Another surprise is 29° North — a boutique carefully curated by Ben Freedland, a former buyer for Bergdorf Goodman. Almost tucked away at the end of a long first-floor hallway, this store is marked by brands not found elsewhere in Texas, such as Zambezi Grace, Nile crocodile-leather handbags crafted in South Africa, and Jennifer Chamandi, a British-Lebanese footwear designer whose needle heels first caught the eye of Bella Hadid. Bouchée Patisserie, a gelato-and-macaron shop that looks like it was lifted straight from the Instagram feed of the cutest blogger ever, is another kind of refuge. "T o be honest, I always thought Houston must already have a hotel like this," says Freedland, who worked in Boston, New York, and Austin before he was lured to Houston by Fertitta's pull. "It's one of the biggest cities in the country. It has to have a really great hotel. Then, I spent some time here and realized, it really doesn't. That this place could set the bar." As Freedland talks, Fertitta and Jorge Gonzalez, the suave general manager recruited from the Mandarin Oriental Miami, are down the hall, having another of their walk- and-talk meetings where they stroll the hotel and obsess over little things that can be done better. As much as Fertitta relies on his own eye and instincts, things are also data driven. Gonzalez reached The Post Oak Lobby Bloom & Bee restaurant A monumental Frank Stella wall sculpture, Bene come il sale, 1984, in the lobby

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