Hotel Online  Special Report



Benchmark Set to Open The Hotel ICON, $35-million Reinvention
of Houston's Former Union National Bank Building;
Includes a Jean-Georges Vongerichten Restaurant


HOUSTON, TX – December 3, 2003 – Hotel ICON, poised to be Houston’s newest and most distinctive, meeting and event destination is housed in one of the city’s oldest and finest architectural landmarks.  The Personal Luxury Hotel, scheduled to open on December 29, 2003, represents a $35-million historic reinvention of the former Union National Bank building, which debuted to great fanfare in 1911.  Upon completion, this Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide member will offer local and national planners exceptional opportunities for staging a wide array of memorable, meetings and events, ranging in size from two to 350 attendees.

Located in the heart of Houston’s revitalized downtown at 220 Main, Hotel ICON is at the crossroads of the city’s business, historic, entertainment and theater districts.  The property is less than a 30-minute drive from both major airports and within walking distance of Fortune 500 companies, George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, numerous art galleries, a collection of chic restaurants and bars, concert venues and the second highest concentration of theater seats in the country.

Highly regarded for his accomplishments in the upscale hotel segment of the hospitality industry, Rick Reed brings nearly 20 years of management experience to his role as director of sales and marketing for Hotel ICON.  Reed, a management alumnus of Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotel Corporation and most recently, the acclaimed Hotel Derek, will oversee a team of talented sales and catering professionals dedicated to standards of excellence.

Conceived by Benchmark Hospitality, an industry innovator in the operation and development of premium, hotels, resorts and conference centers, Hotel ICON represents a next-generation concept in Personal Luxury Hotels.  Anticipating the needs of the planner and the guest will be a hallmark of Hotel ICON.

Uncommon “Taste”

Luminary chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose 12 New York, London, Hong Kong and Las Vegas eateries have earned him praise from critics and gourmands around the globe, has selected Hotel ICON for his newest signature dining destination, BANK Jean-Georges.  Chef Vongerichten’s team 

Hotel ICON Executive Staff

Troy S. Bennett, CHA
Managing Director

Rick Reed
Director of Sales and Marketing

Jan Grover
Senior Sales Manager

Mireya Canales
Senior Sales Manager

Melissa Kruk
Director of Human Resouces 

John Boulware
Director of Accounting

Gloria Veljanovich
Director of Housekeeping Services

Natalia Menendez
Executive Assistant - Sales

will be responsible for the creation and execution of all culinary needs for onsite meetings and events, as well as 24/7 room service.

As guests cross the threshold into the breathtaking Colonnade lobby, they will be transported to another time and place.  Almost ethereal in its beauty, the heart of Hotel ICON, with its towering, 30-foot Doric columns, expansive windows, ornate ironwork and intricately carved ceiling, is sure to take visitors by surprise, as so rarely are Americans able to experience an environment that precisely captures the glory of an earlier era.

A haven of sensory delights for the traveler, each of Hotel ICON’s 135 spectacular guestrooms will be reminiscent of a chic pied a terre, with a vivid color palette, average footprint of 400 square feet and a finish level of uncompromising quality and comfort.  Balancing substance and style, the accommodations will be well suited to both rest and work, while offering an experience that will transcend the everyday.  Visitors will also enjoy the pleasures of complimentary in-room T-1 Internet access and local phone calls, 27” flat screen television, CD player, in-room supply of FedEx materials, 24/7 valet laundry and twice-daily maid service, as well as in-room dining from the hotel’s signature restaurant and select spa services.

Venues of Distinction

The majority of Hotel ICON’s meeting and event facilities will be conveniently located on a dedicated floor, encompassing nearly 5,000 square feet of meticulously designed and executed settings, fully wired for high speed Internet access.  Guests will reach the area, situated immediately above the Colonnade lobby, via two elevators or an ornate marble and iron staircase, which is original to the building and in the process of being restored on site.  Soaring 12’ ceiling heights, custom designed carpeting, sumptuous draperies of woven damask in warm jewel tones, original paintings from the 19th to early 20th centuries, antiques, richly paneled walls and delicate millwork accents will create the ambience of a grand home.

The expansive, L-shaped Foyer, measuring 1,540 square feet, will boast numerous picture windows, which will bathe the space in natural light and offer postcard views of downtown.  The Foyer is intended as an opulent entry point as well as a separate function and pre-function area.  It will also be an ideal extension of the Aventine Ballroom, accommodating a reception or acting as a spillover for additional rounds.

Understated elegance will be the hallmark of the Aventine Ballroom, a one-of-a-kind backdrop for weddings, charity galas, bar and bat mitzvahs, conferences, product launches and meetings.  Named after one of seven hills on which ancient Rome was built and where the Greek god Hermes lived, the 2,363-square-foot venue will feature a wall of picture windows and will offer numerous configurations for lavish entertaining.  The ballroom will accommodate 250 for a reception, 189 in a theatre layout and 140 for a banquet with dance floor (180 without).  Two oversized doorways will allow for a seamless flow into the Foyer.

The Aventine Ballroom will be divisible into two, more intimate salons, the Aventine I and Aventine II.  At 1,326 square feet, the larger Aventine I will accommodate 140 for a reception, 80 for a banquet with dance floor (100 without), 86 with theatre seating or 51 in a classroom layout.  The 1,037-square-foot Aventine II will hold 110 for a reception, 60 for a banquet with dance floor (80 without), 77 with theatre seating or 33 in a classroom layout.

Identical in size and offering numerous picture windows, the 500-square-foot Arcadia and The Boardroom will be located off the Foyer.  The Boardroom will feature an executive conference table with seating for 18, a 50” Sony plasma screen monitor and state-of-the-art video conferencing technology.  The adjacent Arcadia, situated on the southeast corner of the building, will also offer a 50” Sony plasma screen monitor, plus a captivating panorama of Main Street.  In addition to a boardroom setup, the Arcadia will hold 65 for a reception, 40 for a banquet, 40 with theatre seating or 24 in a classroom layout.

The Lobby Loft, which will be open to the Colonnade lobby below, will be home to The Whiskey, the first Texas venture for owner/operator Midnight Oil Company and Rande Gerber.  Inspired by an Oriental jewel box, The Whiskey’s Private Den will present a unique, 320-square-foot environment for gatherings of up to 20 guests.  Black lacquered and mirrored walls, a Chinoiserie ceiling and mohair banquet seating will create a sophisticated atmosphere for socializing.

Antique, solid brass doors will mark the entrance to the inviting Wine Vault, where up to 30 guests will be able to meet or dine, amidst Hotel ICON’s extensive wine collection.  Located on the Lower Lobby, the Wine Vault, accented with Chicago tile, will offer the ultimate chef’s table experience and an ideal way to celebrate an anniversary or birthday with friends and family.  A wall of windows, shared with the adjacent kitchen, will offer unobstructed views of renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s culinary team at work.  Additional configurations will include a reception setup for 65.

One of nine signature suites, the tri-level Penthouse Suite will offer the utmost in chic exclusivity for a cocktail party, dinner or special event.  Guest will enter through a first floor living/dining area resplendent in antiques, Oriental rugs, crystal chandeliers and original paintings and sketches.  The Art Deco inspired third level entertainment lounge, which will accommodate 20 for a banquet or reception, will offer amenities such as a built-in bar and banquettes, flat screen televisions and access to a private 600-square-foot rooftop terrace overlooking downtown.  The terrace will also provide the opportunity to host 40 for either a reception or banquet.

Hotel ICON
220 Main
Houston, Texas
Also See: Troy Bennett has Named General Manager for Houston’s Hotel Icon; The 135 room Property Will be Benchmark's First Venture into the Small Luxury Hotel Category / June 2003
Downtown Houston Had Four Hotels Three Years Ago, Now There Are Fourteen; Can All These Hotels Survive? / August 2003

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