PaperCity Magazine

May 2018- Houston

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50 out to the Forbes Travel Guide powers to get the exact criteria the travel bible requires a five-star hotel to have in all the rated categories. There are no Forbes Travel Guide five-star hotels currently in Texas — such a rating comes about as easily as true love on a reality show. But Fertitta is obsessed with making The Post Oak the first, no matter who doubts it can be done. Forbes' Five Star criteria became the mantra. "We started training to the standards from day one," Gonzalez says, smoothing a sleeve on an expensive suit that's every bit as pressed and spotless as a Navy admiral's dress whites. "I believe you have to give your staff the right tools to succeed. And everyone on staff knows the standards." In many ways, it starts with the design from the Houston offices of San Francisco-based Gensler and Fertitta's in-house development team that went through round after round of revisions by Fertitta, who first envisioned this tower more than 15 years ago — before he starred in Billion Dollar Buyer and before he bought the Houston Rockets. Of course, getting here often seemed like a Sisyphus-worthy task, with Fertitta rejecting many plans (and firms) that did not meet the grandeur and nuance of his original vision. "I have spent millions in the conceptual process of developing this project with multiple architecture and design groups," he says. In the end, Gensler proved to be the right outside voice. "My development team and I believed that bringing in another group would give us contrasting design ideas," Fertitta says. The scene is set in a lobby that's infused with deep-hued orange, fuchsia, and aubergine, swirling pastiches of seating arrangements, and enormous works by Frank Stella, with a chandelier built in Czechoslovakia of 15,719 crystals. Take a turn to the right, and you're in the cozy, inky-black H Bar, the lobby lounge with walls covered in striking black-and-white photographs of iconic Texas imagery. Fertitta's passions are on display here, in the shots of Houston sports legends such as Earl Campbell, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Warren Moon, as well as scenes of the Galveston he grew up in. A Tom Ford book, with a black–and- white cover, is on a drinks table. Fertitta is a showman. He appreciates the power of a good wink. "This is as personal as it gets," he says. "This is a legacy, generational type project for me." Even the grandest hotel is only as good as its smaller parts. This isn't a hotel that knocks you over the head with look-at-me swagger. It forces you to discover things on your own, as if you're flipping through the pages of one of those beautiful books in the library. The Rolls-Royce dealership facing a walkway off the lobby A view of the staircase Handblown glass ceiling of Bloom & Bee restaurant

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