As the title says this thread is a preview of the Downtown Houston Hotels | JW Marriott Houston Downtown where by design my Wife and I stayed this past Friday night as an "Advance Party TIPPLE Recon Team". Since we were attending the Houston Astros vs Texas Rangers game (Astros 5 - Rangers 0) and we normally stay downtown after Rockets games/concerts at Toyota Center, Astros games at Minute Maid Park or theater events at Hobby Center the decision where to stay was simple, the JW. Plus it was Fireworks Friday Night after the game so why not get a first hand look at the venue for the TIPPLE.
The JW Marriott Downtown is just about in the middle of downtown Houston in a building that was build around 1908. The place has been restored beautifully as those of you who will be at the TIPPLE will see, even the steel girders can be seen on every floor showing it's age.
What is the TIPPLE you might ask?
Scared yet? If not you should be and if you're not signed up to attend why not?
Arriving at Hotel
Anyway, we arrived into downtown Houston about 3:30 PM on a Friday and found it very easy to locate the JW. Almost every street is a One-Way street so no issues making left turns or right turns and yes Texas Trucks get to turn right on red!! Here is a WARNING for those of you who will be driving to the event, there is a lot of building construction in and around the JW and you'll me sharing some of the streets with the Metro Light Rail so you might have to detour a few blocks before arriving on Main Street and the JW. The hotel is at the corner of Main and Rusk with a very small Valet and loading/unloading area immediately after you make the right turn on to Main St. I was told by one of the Managers that you can enter the Marriott parking garage on Rusk about 200 yards before Main St., which actually looks like an exit, but in fact he said you can enter the garage there if there is a lot of traffic as we found. Valet is $36/night so self parking must be cheaper, but we just used the Valet.
The Front Desk is located to the left when you walk in the front doors of the hotel. Two glass tables with work stations and the Mobile Check-In is to the left of those, but was out of service as they were replacing the monitor which had broken earlier in the day. There was no designated Elite Line (why not I wonder (wonder why not) so we waited a few minutes in order to get our room key. Not to worry they had some Bubbly they were pouring to guest in the line or who were already with an Associate. Our check in fella must have been on his first day as he could not find our reservation for a few seconds and then neglected to offer our Platinum arrival gift of points or food credit nor did he mention anything about the Concierge Lounge until the Associate next to him reminded him of it. Since the Lounge was closed on weekends we got the Breakfast Coupon to use in the hotel restaurant.
The lobby is bright and modern with a very lively feel as guests were checking-in and they had a DJ playing some good tunes. Not much going on at the bar just yet, but I know the TIPPLE will change that!!
Not a clue why some photos won't load correctly, but on we go so just tilt your head to the left.
Our room was on the 17th floor and I knew from looking at the reservation earlier in the morning that we had been upgraded from a Superior 1 BR King to a 1 BR King Suite (thank you Marriott). We opened the door to a bright modern room that was perfectly cleaned and prepared complete with an iPad. The bed was very comfortable and bathroom large with an oval tube and walk in shower and the toiletries are by Aromatherapy Associates.
After a glass of wine in the room it was time to explore the Concierge Lounge located on the 11th floor which is called "Griffin Floor" and the lounge is called "Griffin Executive Lounge" if my memory serves me correctly. You walk though the Spa to reach the lounge and a key is required to enter. There was a private event that evening so they were setting up for that when we wandered it. The place is large and bright with many windows that wrap around the corner of the lounge. The glass front lounge type refrigerators were stocked as I'd suspect they will need to be with plenty of Beers for those who are so inclined, did not notice any Wine or Liquor out at that time (darn)!!
Getting time to head out for a few appetizers and drinks before making our way over to the game. So many places within walking distance of the hotel to select from depending on your taste buds. A few spots to check out are plus many more:
We chose Prohibition and had wonderful huge Gulf Coast Oysters on the half shell and a very lightly fried Broccoli that was pretty darn good and we are not big fans of fried food. The wine selection was good for by the glass and we enjoyed the https://www.virginiadarewinery.com/en/our-wines Chardonnay and now know why, because it is from the Francis Coppola Family of Wine which we very much enjoy. We ended up with the wrong Bartender which did not enhance our experience howvever; we spoke with the Manager and she assured us if we come back in during the TIPPLE she will make our experience much better. The food was very good so might be worth another look.
On our way from Prohibition to Minute Maid Park we ran into a favorite of our Insider friend jerrycoin called Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse. We found one seat at the corner of the bar for a glass of wine and listened to a few songs from a couple of Ladies with wonderful voices singing and playing the piano across from us. The place was packed and they even let me in with my baseball game attire without even a second look. This place is worth a return visit if for nothing more than a drink in the bar, but I have a feeling if you see the food you'll be instantly hungry!!
The game was great with our Astros FINALLY putting together some back to back to back hits and scoring five runs while last years Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel pitched a complete game looking like he may be returning to last years form. After the game played before an almost full house they open the roof and have a 25 minute fireworks display that was very good. We love Minute Maid Park (The Juice Box) and are very lucky in Houston to have excellent venues to watch sporting events and two stadiums with retractable roofs.
We got out of "The Juice Box" just before the finale and decided to wander around some for a drink. Geeez, is downtown ever hopping. Just about every spot we ventured into was wall to wall people which surely the game had something to do with that, but maybe not as we will find out in September as the Astros will be out of town on TIPPLE weekend. So we ended up back at the hotel where a fairly good sized crowd was in the restaurant and bar area, most of which had also gone to the game as the Guns N Roses concert at NRG Stadium was certainly not over yet and at least a 25 minute Light Rail ride back to downtown. The bar service was good, drinks tasty and conversations with others fun. One thing I did learn was if you plan on getting food at the bar you probably want to get it ordered before 10 PM as that is when the kitchen closes most nights unless it is very crowded....so note to self!! I think the hotel has 24 hour room service, but for those of you who like to munch at midnight you may want to verify that before you end up at Whataburger looking for something greasy.
After a very good nights sleep it was time to get some breakfast using the coupon we got for the lounge being closed. The restaurant was about 3/4 full so we opted to sit at the bar which was perfect. Mimosa's ordered and the Bartender told us we were able have the full buffet with the coupon.......let me at it! This place had everything from Italian style Meats, Cheeses, Fruit, Salmon and Capers, Breads, Pancake and French Toast station, Omelette Station as well as the normal Marriott breakfast offerings. WOW, very nicely done. The Omelette line was always two or three deep and they bring you the finished product which is a nice touch so you are not standing around waiting. Do not expect the freshly ordered food quickly as they take their time, but it is so worth it as my Spinach, Green Onion, Onion, Mushroom, Jalapeno and Swiss Cheese Omelette was the lightest, creamiest and probably the best I've ever had, bravo Chef! Sorry the picture of the Omelette has already been partially devoured as I couldn't resist myself again. Oh, they make their very own Hot Sauce as well as have some excellent Salsa made onsite as well.
Time to get the car, check-out and drive back to The Woodlands after a fun night downtown. I used the iPad to input our Valet ticket number and selected 20 minutes for to have the car out front. We got a message back in a minute or two telling us the car would be there and it was. Check-out was completed by the Mobile App and we were off heading north some 35 miles.
This property is much better and appealing to the eye and feel than the previous spot we were going to be for the upcoming event, good choice NathalieF, bejacob and brightlybob. A very special thanks to NathalieF for your help in making this a reality, now come join us all.
All in all a great stay. Sure a few glitches such getting to the Valet area when we arrived and our Front Desk person, but over all every Associate we came in contact with from a couple of Managers to and IT person (yes they had one) to the folks who are just walking around making sure everyone has all they need, the Bartenders and restaurant staff were all very very good and friendly. Would we come back again even without the TIPPLE, you betchya. Might even find us down there again at another game and overnight before the TIPPLE!!
Hope this was helpful and gives some insight as to the joint. Will see all y'all soon in H-Town!!
I think the ones that came out sideways where taken with the phone vertical while the others were taken with the phone horizontal, in fact I'm sure of it. Cannot be the phone as some were taken with my Samsung and others with the iPhone my Wife has. I even tried rotating the pictures counterclockwise to fix it.....nope!!
This is the first time I've encountered and first photos I've loaded since I got Windows 10 and a new PC.
Now, if didn't know you guys better I'd thought you're all trying to force me in to this event
I must say it's working for you, as I now feel more compelled to attend
fistuk, I do hope you can make it. I have been careful not to say you are definitely attending, but that you are on the list. The list does not compel attendance, rather it is those who have indicated they plan to attend. I have seen your posts indicating that you may not know until closer to the date whether you will be able to join us or not.
So again, we hope to see you there. After all, you are on the list. Once you know for certain, please let us know, so brightlybob can adjust his official unofficial tally. You are certainly an "approved" attendee, even if you attendance is not 100% confirmed at this time.
Great preview there IAHFLYR, very informative. Sounds and looks good.
As for staff and management in a 270 room hotel being unaware of our little shindig, well I'd be shocked if they were aware 6 weeks beforehand, or indeed much more than a day or 2!
And apologies to you fistuk, I didn't mean to place you in an obliged position, and if you can't make it I will try to be British enough for both of us!
"A few bottles of wine for wine lovers to enjoy."
Lol, I guess so!
Glad the 'Stros beat the Rangers, especially since the Rangers beat the home team at my inaugural visit to Orioles Park two nights ago.
Thoroughly enjoyed your report, thanks for posting and good going on the beautiful suite upgrade!
Looking forward to seeing you two cutie pies, as well as everyone else at TIPPLE.
Oh! can't wait! getready! Great write up and sneak peek there! I did hear valet was kind of confusing. I was worried about some of the reviews on TripAdvisor. But I think many of the lesser reviews were written when the place had just opened.
I really like that the bathroom had natural light in it. I am sure not all do. The room looks so nice! You all were spoiled! I'll be perfectly happy with my bar stool bed.
I'll have to request a French 75 with some of that Bombay Sapphire!
LOL, there may be quite a few with a "bar stool bed"!!
Valet wasn't really confusing, it was just very crowded and since it is right around the corner from Rusk on Main it backed up traffic on Rusk making the turn. Then add in an over zealous HPD Officer on the corner adding to the mess and not doing a thing to help it was almost to the point of getting in another lane and finding a different garage.
Just an FYI on travel from the airport. When I was there in 2015 we stayed at the Downtown CY/RI which is just a couple of blocks from the JW. The transit system runs an Airport Express to downtown for less than $3, (at the time) with maybe 4 stops total. The second to last stop was a block west of the JW and the last stop was in front of the CY/RI. Almost as good as a taxi, but a lot less expensive.