New Houston Hotel Opens as Lodging Market Rebounds

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – A ribbon cutting, celebrating the rare opening of a new Houston hotel property, signals that the hospitality business is bouncing back from the most dismal cycle in modern hotel history.

Houston-based American Liberty Hospitality is opening a 14-story, 319-room, dual branded (Holiday Inn Express Houston and Staybridge Suites) on Loop 610 near Westheimer Road in Houston.

“We believe that the timing of this opening coincides perfectly with the return of business and leisure travel nationwide,” said American Liberty Hospitality CEO Nick Massad, a past president of the Greater Houston Hotel & Lodging Association.

In recent weeks, the hotel firm has seen significant increases in occupancy at its hotels, including strong weekend business, with nightly vacation-time rates ticking over $300 in Galveston, Massad said.

Hotel Occupancy in the Covid Year

This spring represents a sharp contrast April 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic murdered the hotel business.  In mid-April of last year, the Houston hotel occupancy rate was 23.9 percent, compared to 63.8 percent in April 2019, according to the STR hotel research firm.

Last April, STR said Houston’s average daily room rate was down 42.6 percent to $59.31.  RevPAR (revenue per available room) was $14.15, down 79.2 percent from a year ago.

In recent weeks, as schools recognized Spring vacations, Houston occupancy has been rising to  around the 60 percent.

Building a High-Rise

American Liberty was well underway with construction of its new Galleria hotel when the pandemic hit.

Arch-Con Corporation a Houston-based firm that has built a number of hotels, wasthe general contractor for the hotel, 2351 West Loop South. MCS Architects created its design. Construction financing was provided by Plains Capital Bank and Artemis Real Estate Partners.

New hotel opens in Houston’s Galleria area. Photo courtesy American Liberty Hospitality.

The hotel tower has 150 suites operating as Staybridge Suites  and 169 rooms under the  Holiday Inn Express flag.

Both brands are part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s largest hospitality companies.

The new hotel tower is on the eastern side of Loop 610, not far from the River Oaks District.

“The Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites will give value-oriented business and leisure travelers an elevated experience like never before. I’m confident our guests will enjoy the newest smartest hotel in the heart of the highly sought-after Galleria-area,” said American Liberty director of sales Andrew Mirsky.

Design Insights

“MCS Architects chose a naturally modern aesthetic infused with relaxed elegance for the lobby’s interior, creating a refreshing experience for business travelers and families alike. From the cascading quartz draping the front desk to the soaring ceilings embraced by light wood columns, the property exudes a level of sophistication not often found in its category,” the hotel company said. “A mixture of mid-century modern and Scandinavian-inspired furniture grace the public spaces with inviting pockets that are as comfortable as they are well appointed. That same holistic essence flows from the lobby to the guestrooms – all of which are punctuated with smart finishes and instantly recognizable artwork inspired by iconic local landmarks.”

Several of the guest rooms have landmark artwork with images of the Houston’s most famous structure –  the  Astrodome , which is called ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Nick Massad and his wife, Vicki, acquired American Liberty Hospitality in 1991. Through their donations, the Massad Family Library and Research Center was established at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

April 2, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

Caption: Nick Massad Jr., CEO of American Liberty Hospitality, cuts ribbon at new Holiday Inn Express Houston and Staybridge Suites Houston – Galleria Area. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins for Realty News Report Copyright 2021.

For more about Houston development, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon


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