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The Hilton Americas-Houston hotel in Houston, Texas, US, is a four-star convention hotel that opened in December 2003 and is connected to the adjacent George R Brown Convention Center.
The hotel required an investment of $285m to build and has provided a much-needed boost for the convention business in Houston.
The Hilton Americas-Houston is the city’s largest convention hotel with 24 storeys containing 1,200 guestrooms, incorporating two presidential suites, two spacious chairman suites and 36 one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites.
Hilton Americas–Houston received the Green Seal Certification in 2009. Some of the hotel’s green initiatives include composting food waste, recycling plastic, paper, aluminium and batteries, using biodegradable cleaning products and making use of energy efficient compact florescent lighting.
Hilton Americas-Houston location
The building of the hotel began in 2001 and now occupies a 1.2 million square feet, two-city block footprint between the convention centre and the site of the new sports and entertainment arena. The hotel’s construction was coordinated with the $165m expansion of the convention centre to provide an integrated complex close to all amenities.
The hotel is located one block from the new Houston Arena, two blocks from Minute Maid Field and is close to the city’s theatre district, cultural museum corridor, Bayou Place entertainment complex, Jones Hall, Alley Theatre, as well as the Wortham Centre.
It is a 30 minutes drive from Houston Intercontinental Airport and 15 minutes from the Hobby Airport.
The Hilton Americas-Houston hotel offers 1,200 guestrooms, 91,500ft² of meeting space, a business centre, three restaurants, a lobby lounge, Java Jive @ 1600 coffee bar and a fitness centre and spa.
Room amenities include mini bar, coffee maker, in-room safe, oversized desk area, dual-line telephones with data port and high-speed internet connectivity.
Guest services include a separate group check in area in the lobby, retail shops, valet service, 24-hour room service, a full-service business centre, concierge service, valet parking plus two executive floors. In addition there is a 1,600 car-parking garage, connected directly to the convention centre and the hotel by elevated pedestrian sky bridges.
Convention and meeting facilities technology
Technology available for convention and meeting events includes a dedicated sound system, motorised screens and microphone plug-ins in each meeting room, a glass-blown fibre optic network that enables additional telecommunications lines to be added to the existing hotel infrastructure, 12 floor pockets featuring fibre optic and ethernet connections in each ballroom section, rigging points every 20ft in the ceiling, and cable troughs built into the floor of the 40,000ft² Grand Ballroom.
Additional technology incorporated in the convention facilities includes wireless capabilities for the front desk, allowing staff to move and welcome guests personally, as well as a combination of wired and wireless high-speed internet access in all public areas in the hotel for computers with ethernet cards.
Meeting space and ballrooms
The hotel’s 91,000ft² of meeting space includes the 39,138ft² Grand Ballroom featuring 28ft ceilings, the 26,000ft² Ballroom of the Americas and 30 versatile meeting rooms.
The Grand Ballroom can be configured into 12 breakout rooms ranging in size from 2,741ft² to 3,041ft².
The ballrooms include Smart Walls, show power lighting – 400amp, three phase, 208V and sound – 200amp, single phase, 120V. Additionally, the ballrooms offer strategically placed floor pockets containing ethernet (twisted pair for dial up), video and audio ties, as well as LCD panels and 9ft x 12ft built-in screens in each section of the room. Rigging points are available every 30ft throughout the ballrooms.
The meeting space is offered on three levels made accessible by dedicated elevators, escalators and a staircase, as well as being connected via skywalk to the George R Brown Convention Center on two levels. The meeting facilities include two dedicated bays on loading dock for convention receiving and six freight elevators, the largest being 8ft high x 10ft wide x 20ft deep. All 30 meeting rooms will have a sound system and motorised 6ft x 8ft screen.
The hotel’s suites and executive rooms follow the non-smoking policy. The guestrooms are decorated in natural earth tones and are available in one king or two double beds.
The parlour suites have a large bedroom and separate living and dining areas. The presidential and chairman suites feature a large living area, double-bay parlours with a six-seat dining table and wet-bar area and a large work desk. The hotel also has ADA-compliant rooms for people with physical disabilities.
Restaurant and bars
The hotel has a range of dining facilities, which provide traditional American cooking. The Cafe offers breakfast and lunch buffets, and in the evening a la carte menu selections. Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops offers meat and seafood.
Spencer’s Lounge provides martinis and appetisers. The lobby bar is a good spot for cocktails, offering an extensive wine list. Java Jive @ 1600 offers coffee, snacks and desserts.
Health club and spa
The 24th floor of Hilton Americas-Houston hosts the Skyline Spa & Health Club, which includes a 75ft indoor infinity lap pool with whirlpool, full service fitness centre equipped with lockers and cardiovascular and weight training equipment, as well as a dry sauna and a steam room.
The spa offers a selection of herbal wraps, aromatherapy treatments, massage therapy and hair, nail and skin care.
Design, construction and operation
The construction of the Hilton Americas-Houston is a public-private project. The parties involved are the California-based Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation (the hotel operator), Gerald Hines (the developer), Gensler (the architect of record), Arquitectonica and Fort-Brescia (the design architects), Turner Construction Company and Gilbane (construction firms), CBM Engineers (structural engineers), United Forming Inc (concrete subcontractor), Texas Industries (concrete supplier) and Wilson Associates (interior designers).
The project was supervised by Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation. A Continuum Building Management System for the entire hotel was installed by TAC. This uses a special three-mode sequence of operation for guest room can coil units (FCUs) and a customised TAC Smart Sensor user interface in each room.
The entire hotel is centrally controlled and monitored by a TAC CyberStation front-end workstation located in the hotel Operations offices.
The hotel’s exterior combination of geometric shapes provided the inspiration for the interior design. Bold shapes and colours combine with aesthetic materials chosen for their durability and longevity.
To make the vastness of the lobby level user friendly, the Wilson team divided the space into a series of themed areas, including a striking rotunda which features a tri-colour basket weave mosaic style marble floor cornered by four red marble floor-to-ceiling pillars and illuminated by a spectacular custom made Venetian glass chandelier.
The hotel’s contemporarily elegant public spaces are accented by a collection of original artwork by such artists as Barovier & Toso of Murano Italy, whose rich artistry collaboration in glasswork and illumination graces some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. A water wall cascading over glass separates the main lobby from the lobby lounge.
In the lounge, the economic link between North and South America is symbolised by a large, custom-made, abstract mural of the world, with Houston as the centre bridge between the two Americas. Woodwork and leather panels provide a refined library feel.
Two restaurants and a Java Coast coffee emporium are on the lobby level. The 112-seat Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops has an urban atmosphere and features light woods, Texas limestone walls and copper and blue appointments. The 250-seat Café, which offers both buffet and menu dining, is uniquely designed to convert to a 100-seat café, by closing off unneeded space with fabric partitions.
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