My sorority alum friends live throughout the major cities in Texas. Since our friend Denise moved to Houston, we’ve talked about an overnight stay at the Texas shaped pool at the Marriot Marquis Houston. Last weekend, we made it happen and spent 24 hours in Houston for day drinking, eating, and conversation. Here’s what you need to know about a quick visit to the Texas shaped pool with friends, plus all the delicious places we ate while staying there.
Getting to the Texas Shaped Pool
The Marriot Marquis Houston is downtown. I left New Braunfels around 8 am, grabbed Chelsea in San Antonio, and we took I-10 East the whole way. Even with a stop at Buc-ee’s, we made it in about 3 hours. If you drive, try to avoid significant traffic times. We skipped the toll roads and still made it there smoothly. Once we arrived, we did self-park for $35 a night. Valet is available for $60 per night as well. If you self-park, it’s a quick walk across the sky bridge to the hotel, and the front desk will exchange your parking ticket for a card you can use to get in and out quickly. We left the car parked and took Uber or Lyft to any restaurants.
If you are coming from elsewhere, check the website for address and directions. It doesn’t look like there are any free airport shuttles, so a cab or rideshare is your best bet from the airport. There is a subway station nearby.
You might consider the pool view room option if you come for the pool. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s worth the extra cost to have a pool view. The pool is located rooftop on the 6th floor of the Marriot Marquis Houston, with the hotel rooms on the 7th-17th floors. You can get a great pool view from the elevators on any of the higher floors. We were on the 16th floor and enjoyed checking out the audacious Texas shaped pool each time we went in or out.
Chair vs. Cabana, What You Need To Know Pool-Wise
While there are other amenities at the Marriot Marquis Houston, like a spa, workout space, etc., we came for the pool! Booking a room at the hotel allows you to access the pool for 4. The entrance is well staffed and gated off. You will need your bracelet to gain access, and sneaking anyone is likely a no-go. We had their two queen quest room and four people, so we were good to go.
You’ll get an email with pool reservation options once you book your room at the Marriot Marquis Houston. I highly recommend making a reservation if you stay on the weekend or during a busy season. We booked ourselves chairs for $15 each. Upon entering, we got a coupon for $10 off drinks, so it was certainly worth making a reservation. There were also a cabana and daybed rental options. But, our chairs had giant umbrellas, and the cabanas seemed overrated for a group of our size.
We enjoyed poolside food and drink service from Altitude Rooftop & Pool Bar most of the day. It was similar to any other pool food and drink I’ve had, decent bar food and frozen and iced boozy beverages. Their plain margarita was pretty good, and they have a pina colada/daiquiri mix if you like something super sweet.
The Texas shaped pool and separate infinity pool are open Monday through Sunday, 6:00 am-10:00 pm. The pool temps are 80 degrees, and there is an adults-only area with a hot tub. We did see some kids, and I’ve read family blogs about visits to the Marriott Marquis Houston. But, it seems like more of a fun adult spot to me, and I was happy not to have my precious children there!
Day Passes To The Texas Shaped Pool For Non-Guests
Day passes are available if you want to stay elsewhere but enjoy the Texas shaped pool. Pool passes start at $40 per person up to $1200 for a gazebo for 10. Day passes are not available for children. So, if your kids want to party on the rooftop, you must rent a room. Depending on the season and hotel occupancy, day passes may not be available on the weekends. So, make sure to check ahead of time. Honestly, I’d just get a room. The hotel is well located and has excellent amenities. Let’s talk about that now!
Things To Do Near the Texas Shaped Pool
The Marriot Marquis is downtown Houston and connected by skywalk to the George R. Brown Convention Center. It’s across the street from Discovery Green and within walking distance of all three major league sports venues. If we had more time, we would have rented kayaks over at Discovery Green. Many folks stayed at the hotel and walked over to the Astros game. A pool and baseball weekend would be fun for sure. With the central location, you can access any Houston attractions via the METRORail lines or car.
Have Lunch At Biggio’s
We were able to check in on arrival around 11:30 am. And, we were starving! After dropping off our bags, we headed to Biggio’s, located in the hotel lobby. It’s a high-end sports bar with giant, 30-foot screens, and the menu was good. Biggio’s has an extensive beer list and signature dishes like chicken and waffles. But, the unsung hero of their menu is the chopped salad. It’s a beyond badass cobb, and you can add salmon. I scarfed it alongside my pineapple Austin Eastsider. You can check out Biggios’ full menu here. After that, it was off to the pool!
We Did Dinner At Flora Kitchen Houston
After several hours and countless trips around the Texas shaped pool, we headed to the room to get ready for dinner. The Houston locals in the group had taken care of dinner reservations, and we were going to Flora Mexican Kitchen. The restaurant is in Buffalo Bayou Park along the water in the building formerly The Dunlavy. We took a 10-15 minute Uber ride there.
Flora Kitchen Houston has a fresh take on Mexican food. It’s not Tex-Mex but instead “stripped-down, clean” Mexican cuisine. The chefs use olive oil instead of lard; everything is fresh, from the house-made tortilla chips to the cold-pressed juices in the cocktails. You can see the full Flora Kitchen Houston menu here.
I liked Flora. The food wasn’t as flavorful as I thought it might be. But I had been sucking down pool drinks and french fries all day, so what do I know? It was tasty and unique. For me, it was the atmosphere that made Flora so awesome. It felt like a glass-walled treehouse, up off the park’s water. The dining room has 40 crystal chandeliers but a relaxed vibe. There’s also a limit of 6 per party, so it feels cozy there.
If you go to Flora, make reservations. It was packed. If you want to go for a drink at the bar, there are about ten seats, first come, first serve.
Brunch At Weights And Measures Houston Was Amazing
After the Texas shaped pool and catching up with friends, brunch at Weights and Measures was my favorite part of the trip. “Weights and Measures is a casual neighborhood restaurant, bakeshop, and bar located in a 1950s industrial warehouse.” They had gorgeous baguettes and sweets in the front of the shop, and I wanted to come back for wine and wood-fired pizza or house-made pasta. But, let’s talk about brunch.
We were starving, and I was surprised we didn’t need a reservation. It wasn’t jam-packed, and we got speedy service. We had a table right near where the food was coming out, and it was fun to see all the tasty dishes. I had a hard time deciding but opted for the smoked salmon over the egg truffle toast and the chilaquiles. The brunch salad also sounded terrific, and Chelsea got the avocado toast but subbed prosciutto for bacon.
Alongside the brunch menu was a huge list of custom expresso drinks with the option to add booze. We kept it sober with a 3-hour drive home on deck. But those looked delicious too. If you are near Midtown Houston, I highly recommend eating at Weights and Measures. They are open blank and have private event booking options too. Their dining room would be perfect for a private party.
Planning A Trip To The Texas Shaped Pool In Houston?
I hadn’t spent much time in Houston before this weekend, but I enjoyed our quick trip there. If you live in the area or are traveling there, I would check out the Marriot Marquis Houston and their Texas shaped pool. Have you already been? Comment below if you have any tips I didn’t mention. And, as always, feel free to reach out with questions.