The Iconic Experience
Friday night was filled with much laughter, cocktails and VIP service as Hotel Icon relaunched at the heart of Downtown Houston with a special media reveal. Bought approximately a year ago by basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds in conjunction with Centurion Partners, the property boasts to be the first and only Texas hotel selected for inclusion in Marriott’s new Autograph Collection a worldwide portfolio of strikingly independent luxury hotels.
Media and their guests were offered an early check-in at the multimillion dollar redesigned hotel followed by a cocktail reception and progressive dinner featuring cuisine from the hotel restaurant Line & Lariat. Executive Chef of Hotel Icon David Luna put together a very fine array of flavors for a two course sit down dinner. Luna was raised on the Texas Gulf Coast, where his family has lived for several generations. Family chores such as raising hogs, chickens and rabbits, as well as learning to hunt and fish encouraged his culinary curiosity at an early age. “His background and hands on understanding of the regional landscape made Luna a perfect fit for LINE & LARIAT, which incorporates the bounty of the state’s coast, waterways, farms and ranches in its dishes,” informs Zaheer Qureshi, Director of Food & Beverage at Hotel Icon.
The scrumptous dinner included Gulf Cobia, Garlic Swiss Chard, Grapefruit, Hazelnuts and Beet Salsa. The second course was a Broken Arrow Ranch Nilgai Antelope, crushed fingerling potatoes and braised red cabbage. The antelope was a first time for me and I have to say I enjoyed every bite.
The 135-room property boasts a vintage look along with a BALANCE Urban Spa, the restaurant (formally debuts this month), located in the stunning lobby featuring two rows of 30-foot Doric columns, plus nine signature penthouse suites. Originally constructed for the Union National Bank, at the time one of the greatest financial institutions in the state, later transformed as a hotel in 2004 after being vacant for nearly 20 years. A unique feature are the original vault doors serving as the backdrop at the front desk.
Well all good things have to come to an end but in style. We wrapped up the evening with desserts and champagne at the Penthouse triplex Ritz Suite top floor entertainment lounge with built-in bar that opens onto an approximately 600-square-foot, private terrace with sweeping views of the city. If that was not enough the breakfast in bed was a grand finale.
Don’t be envious, you can have the same fun as Hotel ICON celebrates its historic home’s 100th year with the savings of a century. Make off like a bandit every Friday and Saturday with the “100 for $100” package that showcases the Union National Bank building’s multi-million redesign, including refashioned Congress Street entrance and gorgeous new guestrooms, for just $100 per weekend night. Based on availability for double occupancy and excluding tax through September 8, 2012 only. For reservations, visit hotelicon.com or call 713-224-4266.
Photos by Sandeep Khandelwal