Mid-Century Office Landmark Checks Into Hotel Use In Texas Medical Center
One of the earliest medical office buildings within the Texas Medical Center campus has been transformed into one of Houston’s newest hotel properties.
Pearl Hospitality recently completed a redevelopment, re-purposing and re-branding of the 18-story icon — built as the chic and sleek Medical Towers Building in 1954 with turquoise-toned window panels and a sail-like tower floating above a platform of parking.
Newly minted as Westin Houston Medical Center hotel, the underutilized, aging property has been modernizied.
At a showcase of the newly completed 382,000-square-foot property, development team members said the project entailed collaboration with architects, preservationists and the hotelier. The process netted a design influenced by medicine, academics, art and nature.
As part of the office-to-hotel conversion, the former parking garage gained a level for the hotel’s hub. Lobby functions and extensive amenities share the fifth floor “pavilion,” which extends the full width of building.
A series of five massive skylights — with programmable lighting — further illuminates the open space. Terrace views eastward look across the healthcare mega-campus of 54 clinical, research and education institutions. Westward views take in the treetops of an adjacent residential neighborhood near Rice University.
Other amenities include a terrace-level pool, care, lounge, health club and 17,000-square-feet of meeting space tucked behind stainless steel doors and featuring translucent panels of agate as room dividers. Artwork by established artists from Houston and around the country jazz up the multi-use lobby.
Meanwhile, the parking garage has been restructured into three levels.
The building’s signature enameled turquoise panels remain, though like the rest of the exterior structure, they’ve been freshened up.
At street level, the building’s block of retail has been significantly updated into a “welcoming promenade” of new dining concepts and venues, said Archit Sanghvi, Pearl Hospitality’s operations vice president. Some have sidewalk seating, a big shift for anyone working or visiting medical center environments.
An international-style building that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel targets a mix of guests, from academic and medical business professionals to patients and their families. The 273-rooms include a variety of suites, including ones offering an extended stay format.
Guests can book whether to infuse their room with aromatherapy selections. It’s an example of how wellness is common thread throughout the hotel, Sanghvi said. Programming also supports healthy living, whether participants work or live nearby.
With patients as hotel guests, one decision was to design with clean spaces in mind, he said. Thus, rooms have no carpet and easy-clean surfaces.
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