Birthdays are a time to celebrate with family and close friends, which has always been the case for me. However, this year I wanted to have a meaningful celebration that primarily consisted of some much needed “me” time, so I decided to have a nice staycation at the sleek and modern, Hotel Sorella. Located in the Houston CITYCENTRE, the hotel is just a short walk from several restaurants, boutique shops and live entertainment making it the perfect weekend escape.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted by the friendliest and most accommodating staff. From the valet to the check-in team, they all truly went above and beyond, remembering my name and preferences throughout the duration of my stay. I hurriedly ventured over to check out the distinctive lobby that captured my attention the moment I entered. It was captivating and featured very modern and contemporary décor with lots of warm and engaging people of all ages and backgrounds.
I then headed up to my room and was pleasantly surprised to discover a modern loft like space. There were hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and European-inspired furniture that included a super cool lime green chair that was perfect for sitting in during my “selfie” photo sessions! I was so impressed and full of excitement that within ten minutes of entering the room, I was out of my work dress and already into my swim suit because I was ready to go visit the rooftop pool!
The Rooftop Pool
I absolutely loved the rooftop pool area that featured waiter service, draped cabanas, beautiful fresh flowers and a relaxing atmosphere. It was late Friday afternoon, so I basically had the entire area to myself for enjoying the peace and serenity, while savoring a nice glass of wine. It was perfect and just what I needed to officially kick off my birthday staycation. After lounging for about an hour, I was ready to grab dinner, so went back to my room to slip into something nice before walking down to the hotel’s new Italian restaurant, Radio Milano.
Radio Milano was absolutely fabulous! Let me just say that Executive Chef Jose Hernandez and his culinary team “threw down” in the kitchen. I opted for the Oltre Indulgerie, one of the restaurant’s two tasting menus, which allowed me to sample several great items. I felt like a princess as the array of tantalizing entrees continued to be paraded out dish after dish. I was in food heaven and especially enjoyed the dish of veal cheeks, a pheasant dish, duck breasts and foie gras with rhubarb. Truthfully, there was not a single item that I did not enjoy as they were absolutely impeccable. I could taste the passion that went into each dish and was impressed with the flavors, consistency, presentation and overall service.
And because it was my birthday weekend, I just had to have not one, but TWO celebratory desserts. I had both the Bomboloni Doughnut Balls stuffed with apple butter and served with sage cream as well as the Amadei Chocolate Texture Souffle – both were absolutely decadent. The entire time I was thinking “Happy Birthday to ME!” This birthday girl also had the opportunity to peruse the extensive in-house wine selection, which housed a diverse selection suitable for even the most discerning wine aficionado.
I was excited to finally visit Jones Hall to see a performance of the Houston Symphony. Conductor Jack Everly led the orchestra in A Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, which honored the life, musical accomplishments and longstanding career of multiple award-winning composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Everly was joined by actress-singer Marissa McGowan, known for appearing on many Broadway musicals including Hamlisch’s last musical, The Nutty Professor. The program also featured young and adult singers and dancers from Theatre Under the Stars’ Humphreys Musical Theatre. I was seated next to one of the young singer’s mother who overflowed with pride and joy. Rightfully so, because her daughter’s performance was magnificent. It was an amazing program and a memorable first time Houston Symphony experience.
Radio Milano Bar
Upon returning from the Symphony, I changed into something more comfortable and went to enjoy a cocktail at The Radio Milano Bar which featured an Italian speakeasy atmosphere with a hip and creatively Italian vibe. I was impressed with the cocktail menu and asked the bartender to simply surprise me with one of their signature cocktails. He presented me with the Petit Milan which was tasty and just right for this lightweight social drinker.The general manager Peter Clifton, whom I had met and had a great conversation with earlier during dinner, was still around and politely came over to make sure I was still enjoying myself…and I was! He was great and the drinks were perfect. After a cocktail (or two), I decided it was time to turn it in!
The CITYCENTRE Scene
On my walk back to my room, I became enticed by the action that was happening all around me.There were people spread throughout CITYCENTRE, hanging out at the Monnalisa rooftop bar and lounge and throughout the plaza. It was so lively and everyone looked to be having such a great time. Suddenly I began to feel like I was being a party pooper by turning it in so soon. At that very moment, I heard some dance music and I could not resist the urge to “follow the beat.” It lead me to a restaurant – turned bar – turned dance club – that was directly behind the hotel. I went inside, made some new friends and danced until midnight. It was 12 a.m. and officially my birthday! Finally, I was satisfied, exhausted and ready to go back to my room to Go-To-Bed! It was truly a magnificent evening and memorable first night of my fabulous staycation.
I slept so well! You know that type of sleep that you get when staying in an amazing hotel room with the drapes closed, air turned down low and in a super comfy hotel bed! It was officially my birthday, so I woke up extra early to enjoy the complimentary continental breakfast and relax on the hotel lobby patio, while watching the sunrise. It was great to be healthy and alive another year! I used this time to meditate, reflect, pray and express gratitude. I stayed there for about 30 minutes (a storm rolled in) before heading to the gym for a quick run. And I seriously mean “quick”, because my sleepiness started to set back in and I needed to get in a nap before meeting my girlfriends for my birthday brunch at Sweet Paris Crêperie.
Sweet Paris Crêperie
J’adore Sweet Paris Crêperie! It was such a sleek, chic and cute little place that was absolutely perfect for meeting some of my best girlies on my special day. It was very packed, but we were seated immediately in a nice plush booth area that was perfect for girl talk with my friends, Tara and Candice. I’ll say that one of the best things about my studying French in my younger years was trying the many French cuisines, so I was anxious to taste the many crêpes featured on the menu. The selection included breakfast, sweet and savory crêpes so we opted for the Chicken Alfredo, Le Californian, Chicken Enchilada, and Ham & Gruyere. They were each savory, rich and full of flavor with my personal favorite being the Chicken Alfredo. It was filled with grilled chicken, mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan and alfredo. Mmm mmm! After lots of catching up, giggles and sipping mimosas, we concluded the afternoon by enjoying one last crêpe – the ever so delectable Nutella sweet crêpe which was pleasantly filled with strawberries and bananas that were drizzled with nutella. It was so delicious and truly the “cherry on top” of an amazing birthday staycation weekend!
Sip and Stay Summer Hotel Package
Don’t just take my word for it, you can check out each of these amazing places for yourself. Lucky for you, Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE is currently offering the perfect “Sip and Stay” summer package. Rates start at $159 per room, per night and include chic accommodations, complimentary WiFi, breakfast in the Lobby Lounge and two drinks at Monnalisa. To book, simply click here.
Also, through August 31, the hotel’s Book Smart promotion rewards the support of overnight guests who donate a new print or audio book – appropriate for kids up to middle school age or a monetary donation – with a credit for a complimentary adult beverage, including wine, beer or a cocktail in Monnalisa or Milano Bar. The Book Smart promotion benefits the Pi Beta Phi Patient Family Library at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.
Houston Restaurant Week – Radio Milano
In addition, Houston Restaurant Week, benefitting the Houston Food Bank, is taking place through September 7. Radio Milano is participating by offering brunch at $25 per person, lunch at $20 per person and dinner at $35 per person. This is a perfect opportunity to visit this amazing restaurant and taste the many Italian dishes that you are certain to enjoy!
Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE, 800 Sorella Court, Houston, Texas, 77024, 713.973.1600.
Radio Milano, 800 Sorella Court, Houston, Texas, 77024, 713.827.3545.
Sweet Paris Crêperie, 797 Sorella Court, Houston, Texas, 77024, 832.770.9086.