4 Luxury Hotels That Are Redefining the Upscale Experience

April 4, 2019

From museum-quality art collections to groundbreaking architectural features to hip reincarnations of historic places, today’s upscale hotel scene is ever-transforming.

Whether it’s over-the-top amenities or hyper-local experiences, luxury is being reimagined.

Here are four standout luxury hotels that have debuted over the past year, giving groups some of the most unique settings and experiences imaginable for events.

Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston

Rolls-Royce vehicles and sophisticated art collections are two of the extravagant amenities you can expect when you’re meeting at Tilman Fertitta’s hotel. The chairman, CEO and sole owner of Landry’s, Golden Nugget Casinos and the Houston Rockets unveiled The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston in 2018 as the glamourous new addition to his hospitality portfolio.

As the only AAA Five-Diamond property in the city, it has set a new standard of luxury for the destination and introduced some of the most eye-catching features around.

Post Oak Hotel Outdoor Pool
Post Oak Hotel  Outdoor Pool

The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston includes a two-level Rolls-Royce dealership and on-site Bentley and Bugatti Post Oak Motors dealership inside its 38-story tower, not to mention a dazzling lobby with works by iconic American artist Frank Stella.

“Houston has never had a property like this, and I wanted to be the one to deliver it,” Fertitta said. “The Post Oak stands up to the world’s best hotels. Guests see the attention to detail we put into every touchpoint and the level of luxury they will not find anywhere else in Houston.”

The project’s centerpiece is The Post Oak Hotel, with 250 ultra-modern guest rooms, each 500-plus square feet, and VIP suites.

Post Oak Houston Hotel Restaurant
Post Oak Houston Hotel Restaurant

The hotel’s three-story glass lobby features custom Calcutta marble flooring, Ebony Woodridge stone pillars, custom fabric wall panels, a hand-tufted silk abstract rug and so many works of art from Stella that it is affectionately dubbed the “Stella Lobby.”

Other works of art from Fertitta’s private American art collection are displayed throughout the hotel, including pieces by Robert Motherwell, Alex Katz, Donald Sultan, Joseph Glasco, Friedel Dzubas and Howard Hodgkin.

Post Oak has a 16,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom with a private entrance, a posh pool area as well as signature restaurants, including the celebrity-acclaimed and Texas’ first Mastro’s Steakhouse and the relocated and reinvented Houston favorite Willie G’s Seafood.

The Foundry Hotel

Appalachian wildflower bouquet-making, anyone?

In Asheville, N.C., The Foundry Hotel, a Charlestowne Hotels and Curio Collection by Hilton property, is a hyper-local-focused hotel that opened in November 2018 as a historic preservation of the city’s former 20th century steel foundry.

Located in the heart of Asheville’s historic neighborhood called The Block, The Foundry Hotel combines two new buildings with three structures from Asheville’s original foundry, which forged steel for prominent regional sites such as The Biltmore Estate.

The Foundry Hotel Guest Room
The Foundry Hotel Guest Room

Architectural components pay homage to the property’s roots, such as original brick and hardwood floors, the former pulley elevator on display, exposed beams, steel-star fastenings and industrial-style windows.

“The Foundry Hotel provides genuine Asheville experiences unlike any other, whether it be through the hotel’s distinctive architectural features, scenic views or locally inspired food and beverage offerings,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton.

The property features 87 guest rooms, including 12 suites ranging in size from 315 to 1,200 square feet. Guests also have access to an elevated cocktail bar at Workshop Lounge, regionally inspired dining at Benne on Eagle and a retail marketplace lined with locally-sourced items and stylish hiking gear, in case you want to get out on the trail.

The Foundry Hotel Lobby
The Foundry Hotel Lobby

Groups meeting at The Foundry Hotel can reserve 4,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space, including a main courtyard curated by the North Carolina Arboretum.

“The Foundry Hotel breathes new life into an intrinsic piece of Asheville’s legacy and gives visitors a deeper connection to the destination,” said Charlestowne Hotels CEO Michael Tall.

Guest programming is inspired by Asheville’s rich history and adventurous spirit.

Upscale experiences include neighborhood tours with a local guide, chauffeured drives in the Tesla Model X house car and Appalachian wildflower bouquet-making.

The Foundry Hotel’s culinary program, led by five-time James Beard nominee John Fleer, features Benne on Eagle, a 100-seat restaurant offering scratch-made dishes honoring the contributions African Americans have made to Appalachian cuisine.

Conrad Washington, DC

Groups are in for an entirely new perspective of the nation’s capital at the new Conrad Washington, DC, which opened in February 2019. The 360-room hotel is designed to bring Washington hospitality into a new era of modern luxury with its unique architecture, sleek interior design, inspired art collection and innovative culinary offerings.

“In every piece of its immaculate design, Conrad Washington, DC is breaking the mold of traditional DC luxury,” said Laura Schofield, general manager of the property.

“From its preeminent architecture to its spectacular art and elevated cuisine, the hotel’s debut is undeniably the most anticipated hotel opening of the year,” she added.

Conrad Washington, DC Gallery
Conrad Washington, DC Gallery

Conrad Washington, DC features a slick all-glass exterior that wraps around its 10 floors and soaring atrium. A contemporary art collection inspired by the Washington Color School movement is a highlight, curated by consulting firm Tatar Art Projects.

For groups, the hotel offers 32,000 square feet of elevated meeting space. The space is bathed in natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows, and also includes three lush outdoor terraces, a rooftop bar and a dedicated event terrace featuring panoramic views of the U.S. Capitol.

Meanwhile, the property’s signature restaurant, Estuary, is a creation by James Beard nominees and Top Chef alumni, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio.

Conrad Washington, DC Estuary Kitchen
Conrad Washington, DC Estuary Kitchen

Rounding out the hotel’s distinct offerings is the Sakura Club, a new personalized service program. The exclusive amenity is located on the 10th floor of the hotel and accessible with the purchase of club-level guest units.

Deriving its name from the Japanese word for cherry blossom, the Sakura Club features an aesthetic influenced by the signature trees given to Washington by Japan in 1912.

The St. Regis Toronto

Toronto can also be seen in a whole new light thanks to St. Regis Hotels and Resorts. Included within Marriot’s luxury umbrella, St. Regis brought its signature brand of bespoke hospitality to Canada with the opening of The St. Regis Toronto in November 2018.

“We are thrilled to introduce the quintessential St. Regis experience to Toronto, a world-class city with a vibrant culture and international community,” said Don Cleary, president, Marriott Hotels of Canada.

The St. Regis Toronto features 258 spacious guest rooms, including 124 luxury suites designed by Chapi Chapo Design. The hotel lobby, designed by DesignAgency, reflects the layered and diverse cultural history of Toronto, and the landscape of the Ontario province.

The St. Regis Toronto
The St. Regis Toronto

The hotel has two unique culinary venues, which were also designed by DesignAgency, including LOUIX LOUIS grand bar and restaurant on the hotel’s 31st floor.

Helmed by Executive Chef Guillaume Robin, LOUIX LOUIS offers a menu of contemporary American cuisine made with French techniques.

The dramatic crystal glass interior design draws inspiration from the iconic cocktail bars of New York and Paris, while infusing Toronto’s history as the largest distillery in the world. The first of its kind in Toronto, the two-story grand bar offers an extensive spirit list.

LOUIX LOUIS also provides a second-level loft space available for private bookings and an outdoor secret garden overlooking Toronto’s skyline and Lake Ontario.

The St. Regis Toronto’s 12,000 square feet of event space includes dynamic 30th-floor meeting rooms offering sweeping views of downtown.

The hotel also features the Spa at The St. Regis Toronto, located on the 31st and 32nd floors. It includes an infinity-edge saltwater lap pool with panoramic views of the Toronto skyline.

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About the author
Lori Tenny | Destinations Editor, Contributing Writer

Lori was formerly Director of Strategic Content at Meetings Today where she oversaw feature-related content for the brand, as well as custom publishing, content marketing initiatives and strategic digital projects.