Through a brass-and-beveled-glass door, you enter into more than just a small luxury hotel—you experience a bit of old New York, transported to Houston's theater district. Built in 1926, the Lancaster even smells and sounds like history: the lobby, fragrant with roses, echoes with soft footsteps crossing the well-worn wood floors that are finished to a high polish. With a brass-bell front desk that looks like a 1930's movie set, the space is a pleasant place to linger over the Times. The rooms tend toward the tweedy and chintzy, delightfully so. A virtual clubhouse for theatergoers, balletomanes, and opera fans, the Lancaster shares its block with the Alley Theatre, Jones Hall, the opera house, and the Angelika Film Center, an independent film house with New York City roots.
Room to Book: Any room ending in 07 (corner rooms recommended by staff) or 08 on floors 10 through 12 for a quiet aerie where you can catch the sun setting over Buffalo Bayou.
Tip: End your evening with a nightcap in the dark-paneled Lancaster Grill, just off the lobby, where you can listen in on heated after-theater debates and decide which show to see tomorrow. Reservations are recommended-even for nightcaps-on the night of a big show.