The New Year brought about an exciting completion of a multimillion-dollar renovation at the Houston Airport Marriott in Texas.  Showcased in the January/February 2016 issue of Hotel Business Design, Marriott’s new design of the 573-room Houston property, owned by Host Hotels and Resorts presented CRA with a unique opportunity to capture the essence of the vibrant city. 

Design Director Bianca Yih noted the appeal of the two year project could be summed up in two words: “The Challenge.”  Examples of that include a round tower that required a gutted lobby-level space plan; relocation of a three-meal restaurant to the lobby level; and the addition of a new bar lounge. 

The designers wanted to feature a sense of place.  “We incorporated icons in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  At the front desk, for example, the message is clear: You have arrived in Texas.  A Custom, hammer-nailed embossed motif resembles a cowboy boot; the pattern launches other elements within the hotel [Yih designed the feature using more than 4,000 copper-head nails].  For example, fabrics at the bar reflect and reinforce the design vernacular.  Front desk pods are clad in etched-metal panels, framed in natural stone.  Adjacent to the reception, the bar combines sleek elements with rustic front panels of reclaimed-wood planks.  The hammered metal again is incorporated to patina the space.  The engaging story was reflected and reinforced throughout,” said Yih. 

The design team and ownership were keenly aware of the Marriott Hotels’ message: the Marriott Modern DNA.  Initial meetings held with Marriott’s global design team helped to guide and shape the way CRA thought of and envisioned the spaces.  As Marriott evolved to reinvent the guest experience, we, too, were driven to stay ahead of the curve by creating a design with functionality that reflects today’s traveler.  For more information, please reach out to