The highly theatrical Hotel ZaZa (from $189), opening June 4, is located in trendy Montrose, right next to the Museum of Fine Arts. Give yourself some Texas street cred by booking the Outlaw suite, loaded with distressed furniture, cowhide-covered chairs, and all kinds of spurs.
A seventeen-minute ride from Montrose on Houston’s new light rail, the three-year-old Hotel Icon (from $139) is housed in an imposing former bank building made luxurious by velvet davenports, ginger-jar lamps, and rich brocades. After a day of melting in the heat, grab a seat in the Icon bar and order a smoking-cool, dry-ice cosmo.
Near Houston’s swank Galleria mall, about fifteen minutes by car from the museum district, the sleek Hotel Derek (from $139) caters to the design-minded, with loftlike rooms, crisp, modern accents, and a Jeffrey Beer–designed restaurant (bistro moderne) crowned by a massive bull's head.