Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa
This hunting lodge–style resort, set improbably in an 18-acre pine forest in Houston, is a secluded-yet-central low-rise property in the midst of a garden ringed by glass office towers. The lodgelike vibe kicks in at the entrance, as you set foot in the Great Room, its walls bedecked with flags and coats of arms and a massive stone fireplace. The well-appointed guest rooms are comfortable, but guests return for the exacting service and discretion (former president and Mrs. George H. W. Bush are frequent diners at the Houstonian’s restaurant). Locals know the Houstonian mostly for its health club; it’s the snazziest in town, complete with three heated outdoor swimming pools, a rock-climbing wall, boxing ring, and tennis, racquetball, and squash courts. Membership starts at $14,000 a year, but hotel guests are granted complimentary access.