Take a peek inside the downtown Laura Hotel, a modern take on Houston’s heritage

When the Allen brothers first sailed up Buffalo Bayou in 1837 to prove that the fledgling city of Houston had a waterway, they could not have imagined that 200 years from now, a luxury hotel amid towering skyscraper would bear the name of their boat.

The Laura Hotel, Autograph Collection opened on Tuesday, becoming the newest hotel offering in downtown Houston. Named after the steamship Laura, which carried the original Houston developers, the 223-room, 21-story hotel was envisioned as a modern take on Bayou City history.

The new hotel is a member of Marriott’s Bonvoy travel network and Autograph hotel collection. It is located at 1070 Dallas Street, the site of the former art deco-themed Alessandra Hotel, who closed in January 2021 with its popular restaurant Lucienne. The property, originally opened in 2017 by Houston-based Midway, was later sold in August 2021 to Bethesda, Maryland, real estate investment trust Host Hotels & Resorts for $65 million.

Hotel Laura preserves the modern style of the building, with a two-story lobby with mirrored walls, globe light fixtures, and polygonal ceiling lighting. But a white marble staircase and large landscape paintings convey a more traditional sense of luxury for the hotel’s main entrance. Rooms reflect a mix of both styles, with art deco lamps and black marble bathrooms.

The hotel’s steamboat-themed restaurant, the Hull & Oak Southern Kitchen, serves “upscale Southern” cuisine and will offer a monthly dinner series designed around local and international wine brands. The hotel’s eponymous bar offers seasonal cocktails and plans to work with local breweries to create hotel-exclusive offerings.

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Other recurring Houston-themed events include cigar and wine tastings, as well as frequent pool parties. The latter boasts the hotel’s fifth-floor “oasis” pool deck facing the shimmering downtown skyline — a very different perspective from what early builders and families who landed at Allen’s Landing saw two centuries ago.

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About James Almanza

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