The Magnolia is a nicely designed hotel. The historic building (a defunct Houston newspaper was here) is beautifully maintained, and we stayed here because a friend said it was a nice hotel with bigger than average rooms. He was right on all counts. We got a standard king room, and at 420 square feet, it was more than adequate. We ran into the manager in the elevator, and he seemed very interested in how our stay was going. We saw him again at the evening reception, when he came by to say hello.
THE LIBRARY: This room is open to relax/kick back, read a book, or check your email. Yes, this is where you'll find a couple of computers with internet access. It was my favorite room in the hotel. Lots of old books line the bookshelves, and the room is clearly available for conferences.
THE BILLIARD ROOM: I've never been to a hotel with a pool table. It's a separate room next to the bar, and it's a terrific touch. No cost to play.
MILK AND COOKIES BUFFET: This was actually a bit of a dsappointment. The build-up at the hotel's website made me think there'd be a cookie chef or something, and warm, freshly bakeed cookies (not that they made that claim... they did no such thing). No such luck. The cookies were good, but they were cool and sitting on the buffet with three kinds of milk. The "buffet" is next to the bar; it just looked like no big deal. If I owned the hotel, I'd try to make this feature a bit more interesting.
SERVICE: A little bit of good and a little bit of not so good. The manager, as I mentioned, was terrific and seemed genuinely interested in our comfort. The staff was hit or miss. We had a terrific waitress on Sunday night during the complimentary drinks hour. She recommended a good restaurant (Ninfa's... fantastic!), she called the hotel's car service on our behalf, and she was paying attention The next night, we had another waitress and she was completely indifferent -- almost seemed annoyed that we were getting free drinks. (Maybe she thought it would affect her tip.... it didn't, and that's no excuse anyway). Same problem with the valets. A couple were fantastic, while a couple of others seemed disinterested, annoyed.
PARKING: It's $24/day for valet. That's about average, and there is some effort required to avoid it. You may not want the hassle. The garage behind the hotel charges $6/day, but there are no in and out privileges. Even worse, the cost only buys you a parking space until 6AM the next morning. In otther words, you'd have to get out of bed at 6AM(!!), walk a block to the garage to pay $6 more, put the ticket on your car, and then go back to the hotel. You can park FREE across the street from 6PM - 7AM and all day on Sunday. My advice: park on the street at night, and move into the garage at 7AM. if you're leaving by 9AM, just feed the meter for 2 hours... it's $1.50/hour.
POOL/FITNESS CENTER: They have a pool on the roof, which is open 7AM-11AM. Although we didn't use it, the hotel says the fitness center is open 24/7.
INTERNET ACCESS: I love that the hotel doesn't charge for internet. Not only is free access available in the room, you can also use a public computer in the Library. Convenient!
RESTAURANT: None! They have room service, though, and the menu looks pretty good. We never tried it, though. There is a little coffee shop at the front of the hotel.
BREAKFAST: It's free, but it's small. You can get some breads, fruits, and cereal. They charge $9.95 for the bacon and eggs on the hot bar. The coffee is from Starbucks, both at breakfast and in the room.
FREE SHUTTLE: The hotel has an SUV to give people free rides around the downtown area. This was terrific -- efficient and fast. They gave us rides to Ninfa's and back (for a terrific dinner) and to the Toyota Center.
SUMMARY: The Magnolia Houston needs to make service a bit more consistently great! But overall, it's got a lot of amenties that other hotels don't. The rooms are big and comfortable (great beds!), and for downtown Houston, it's a good value. The location is pretty terrific, as well.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This boutique hotel in downtown Houston, Texas offers accommodations for leisure travel and extended stay guests, as well as space for meetings, wedding receptions, conferences, and special events. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Houston Magnolia Hotel