PaperCity Magazine

June 2018- Dallas

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 69 of 83

68 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 new Post Oak Hotel in Houston's Galleria area shimmer. Tilman Fertitta's 38-story luxury hotel, high-rise residence, office tower, and retail 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 Lee Hovnanian, and Donald Sultan, with a Howard Hodgkin hanging casually over a manicure station in the spa. 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 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 HOUSTON'S NEW POST OAK HOTEL TOWER OF POWER 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, star of Billion Dollar Buyer and newly minted owner of the Houston Rockets, as its commander. But it's the brilliantly executed details that 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 and a book-filled retreat. BY CHRIS BALDWIN The Post Oak Lobby View of the staircase A monumental Frank Stella wall sculpture, Bene come il sale, 1984, in the lobby a reality show. But Fertitta is obsessed with making The Post Oak the first. 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. The Houston offices of San Francisco-based Gensler and Fertitta's in-house development team 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. "I have spent millions in the conceptual process of developing this project with multiple architecture and design groups," he 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. "This is as personal as it gets," Fertitta says. "This is a legacy, generational type project for me." The Post Oak Hotel, Houston,

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - June 2018- Dallas