I spent five nights at the Hotel Sorella a couple of weeks ago for a work visit to our office in Houston and I was really impressed with the hotel. It's bright, airy, modern, clean, and is staffed by extremely friendly, helpful people - everyone from the desk team to the waitresses to the valet guys to the cleaners were all surprisingly happy and welcoming. Is there something in the water?
The check-in clerk helped me find a high-up, quiet room away from the lifts, and - like most US hotels for us UK travellers - it seemed enormous. The twin room had two double beds in it, a really spacious bathroom with an excellent power shower (though like many US hotels, no bath).
As a business traveller with lots of computer equipment and a few phones, I really appreciated the large, deep safe in a pull-out drawer by the desk. The room also had the usual tea/coffee making facilities, and iron and board, but everything was spotless - even the ironing board appeared to have a fresh cover on it.
The gym on the 3rd floor is certainly small - there's a couple of treadmills, a couple of cross trainers and a bike, a small side area with a bench and an array of dumbbells and that's really it, but it's open all day, and it was handy to have somewhere to go and blow off some jet-lag at 5am.
Having seen that there was a pool listed, I did bring swimmers just in case, but I soon discovered that the pool is really only for lounging around during the day, as the public bar opens out onto the terrace by it, and so of an evening you'd be swimming alongside the evening cocktail crew, which for me would simply have been too embarrassing.
The breakfast is continental but a delight - a self-service area with a load of fresh fruit, breakfast cereal, fresh coffee, pastries, yoghurts and fresh juices. It's taken in the reception area, so it's more lounge chairs and side tables than a dining room, but it's relaxed and casual and there was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
I didn't have a car, so I relied on the valet guys out front to get me a cab every morning and they were all friendly and helpful. I also discovered that there's a hotel shuttle bus which they happily used to take me just up to the Memorial City Mall a couple of miles away one evening. A quick tip - it's only a 30 minute walk, but even at 9.30pm in the dark, in August the humidity is horrendous; I walked back in through the door as a vertical puddle.
The setting of the hotel, in amongst a wide array of restaurants makes it a very lively (though not too noisy) location. You're away from the main Galleria area of Houston (about $30 in a cab inc. tip) but there's enough choice (and shopping) if you're travelling on business like I was to keep you occupied.
All in all a great hotel experience, and one that I would have no hesitation in recommending at all.