Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
IronTiger

Astroworld Hotel naming history?

10 posts in this topic

OK, I know some about the Astrodomain hotels (Astrodomain, IIRC was Astrodome+Astroworld+Astrohall+four hotels).

Originally, there were four hotels (and I gleaned this from Arch-ive.org, sevfiv's wonderful Houston architecture site): the Astroworld Hotel, Sheraton Inn Astroworld (not the full-line Sheraton hotels, this would ultimately be rebranded as Four Seasons by Sheraton), Holiday Inn Astroworld, and Howard Johnson's Astroworld.

The Howard Johnson's was ultimately rebranded as Quality Suites, Sheraton Inn eventually became Days Inn and was demolished in the early 2000s, but its the other Astrodomain hotels I'm interested. As we know, Holiday Inn and Astroworld Hotel became Crowne Plaza.

According to Emporis, it went under the following names: "Astroworld Motor Hotel, Astro Village Hotel, Sheraton Astrodome Hotel, Radisson Astrodome Hotel, Park Plaza Hotel Reliant Center, Houston Grand Plaza Hotel"

But it doesn't account for the Holiday Inn name.

This site doesn't take into account when the Holiday Inn merged either (from Google Earth this appears to be in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but could've happened in the early 1990s).

It seems like the hotel adopted the Crowne Plaza name circa 2008, Houston Grand Plaza circa 2006, Park Plaza Hotel only briefly in 2005, Radisson at the time when the hotels were foreclosed on in 2002, but Sheraton was the name before that and at least as of 1990. The Holiday Inn was 8111 Kirby AND was still a Holiday Inn in 1994. In 2002, the Holiday Inn and the Radisson were foreclosed on, but they were physically connected by then.

In December 2005, it was discussed that the former Holiday Inn (which was connected by that time but the rooms were closed) would be reopened by the Houston Grand Plaza. Days Inn was also closed by 2005 and was demolished in 2006 as part of the Grand Plaza renovations (it remains empty and undeveloped). As another note, it didn't seem to stay long as Park Plaza Hotel, seems it was only a brief name during the worst of times.

Sometime in the early 1990s (or late 1980s), Holiday Inn jumped over to a former Ramada (8111 Kirby) where it remains today. But unless some aerial imagery has steered me wrong, the hotels were NOT connected at that point. So what happened to the Holiday Inn side? Did it go under another name that the Astroworld Hotel didn't?

It's pretty easy to find out some of the eccentricities of the hotel like the Celestial Suite (though pictures are hard to come by) but I want to know more about the actual name changes of the hotel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/8/2014 at 10:26 PM, IronTiger said:

OK, I know some about the Astrodomain hotels (Astrodomain, IIRC was Astrodome+Astroworld+Astrohall+four hotels).

Originally, there were four hotels (and I gleaned this from Arch-ive.org, sevfiv's wonderful Houston architecture site): the Astroworld Hotel, Sheraton Inn Astroworld (not the full-line Sheraton hotels, this would ultimately be rebranded as Four Seasons by Sheraton), Holiday Inn Astroworld, and Howard Johnson's Astroworld.

The Howard Johnson's was ultimately rebranded as Quality Suites, Sheraton Inn eventually became Days Inn and was demolished in the early 2000s, but its the other Astrodomain hotels I'm interested. As we know, Holiday Inn and Astroworld Hotel became Crowne Plaza.

According to Emporis, it went under the following names: "Astroworld Motor Hotel, Astro Village Hotel, Sheraton Astrodome Hotel, Radisson Astrodome Hotel, Park Plaza Hotel Reliant Center, Houston Grand Plaza Hotel"

But it doesn't account for the Holiday Inn name.

This site doesn't take into account when the Holiday Inn merged either (from Google Earth this appears to be in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but could've happened in the early 1990s).

It seems like the hotel adopted the Crowne Plaza name circa 2008, Houston Grand Plaza circa 2006, Park Plaza Hotel only briefly in 2005, Radisson at the time when the hotels were foreclosed on in 2002, but Sheraton was the name before that and at least as of 1990. The Holiday Inn was 8111 Kirby AND was still a Holiday Inn in 1994. In 2002, the Holiday Inn and the Radisson were foreclosed on, but they were physically connected by then.

In December 2005, it was discussed that the former Holiday Inn (which was connected by that time but the rooms were closed) would be reopened by the Houston Grand Plaza. Days Inn was also closed by 2005 and was demolished in 2006 as part of the Grand Plaza renovations (it remains empty and undeveloped). As another note, it didn't seem to stay long as Park Plaza Hotel, seems it was only a brief name during the worst of times.

Sometime in the early 1990s (or late 1980s), Holiday Inn jumped over to a former Ramada (8111 Kirby) where it remains today. But unless some aerial imagery has steered me wrong, the hotels were NOT connected at that point. So what happened to the Holiday Inn side? Did it go under another name that the Astroworld Hotel didn't?

It's pretty easy to find out some of the eccentricities of the hotel like the Celestial Suite (though pictures are hard to come by) but I want to know more about the actual name changes of the hotel.

I can help you with the naming history.  In fact, I was there when one of them took place!  I have done some research through newspaper archive and other internet searches. The Astroworld Hotel opened in December of 1968 and carried the name until 1977.  By May of '77 it had changed to Astro Village.  I think the name change and remodel coincided with when Roy Hofheinz was bought out in 76.  I stayed at the The Holiday Inn next door in the summer of 78.  The two hotels merged in late 1990 or early 1991. (Sometime between August 1990 and January of 1991) to become the Sheraton Astrodome.  The outside part of the hotel was added at that time that attached the two.  (The shops that were in between were now basically inside the corridors of the hotel like the travel agency etc.)  The first time I visited the hotel after that time in the spring of  '93  I too, was confused as to what had happened to the Holiday Inn.  I was staying there in May of 1999 and checked into the Sheraton.  The next morning, hotel workers had put banners over all the Sheraton signs that now said Radisson Astrodome.  In fact, after room service had cleaned my room, they had covered with black tape any mention of the Sheraton even on the phone!  

When I stayed there in May of 2004 it was now the Park Plaza Hotel.  I asked some of the staff when the name had changed and they said it was during super bowl week in January of that year.  They added it was a nightmare with all of the reservation issues.  I think the hotel was in its worse shape around that time.  It was in bad shape when I stayed there in 1986 as well when it was the Astro Village but I digress. The hotel changed to the Houston Grand Plaza in December of 2005 and to the Crown Plaza in May of 2008.  I just stayed there the first weekend of the Astros season (a week and a half ago) and was surprised at how good the hotel looked. The hotel was reasonably priced.  My only complaint was the bar drinks were very pricey.

A couple of other notes:  My parents and I stayed in the Sheraton Motor Inn in September of 1969.  It was very nice as well.  Around 1974, it became the Astrodome Motor Inn. Sometime around the 86 Astros-Mets NLCS, it became a Days Inn.  I think it was demolished in 2006.  I think I remember that it was closed during my visits to the Park Plaza in 04-05. 

Hope that helps.  I am a little less clear on the chronology of the Howard Johnson on the other side because I never stayed there.

 

I was sad to see that the old Las Vegas Motel on South Main has been torn down.  I stayed there once in 06 when it was a Howard Johnson.  It was one of those America's Best Value deals the last time I drove by in 13 or 14.  I was REALLY sad in 2001 when I drove past the Marriott on Braeswood and it was in the process of being demolished. That was a beautiful hotel back in the day!                

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I made the topic almost three years ago, and must have forgotten it after it didn't have any replies....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope it helped a little with dates etc. I am a bit fixated on the hotels where I stayed with my parents while growing up. (Especially as a fan from out of town watching the Astros.)  I've dragged my wife to several of these places and she loves them as well.  Cheers!    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have the original sources anymore that say it was a Holiday Inn in 1994 since this topic is fairly old. Looks like the chronology was

 

Astroworld Hotel (southern half) from 1969 to 1977

Astro Village Hotel Complex (southern half) from 1977 to ~1990

Holiday Inn (northern half) from ~1970 to 1977

Sheraton Astrodome (merged hotel) from ~1990 to 1999

Radisson Astrodome from 1999 to January 2004

Park Plaza Hotel from January 2004 to December 2005

Houston Grand Plaza from December 2005 to May 2008

Crowne Plaza Near Reliant/Medical from May 2008 to present

 

Wow! Impressive, almost as interesting as that former Hilton near IAH. It looks like the names were mostly stable from the early days with it passing through 4 names in a period of 10 years but overall 7 names (not counting the Holiday Inn later incorporated) in its 47+ year lifespan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I spent a night in the former Astroworld Hotel this week, and I can testify that the Crown Plaza group has done a great job of upgrading the place and making it a very nice place to stay. I highly recommend it. And that wasn't a paid endorsement.

 

I made a point of asking the desk man if they still had those outlandishly luxurious and very expensive Celestial Suites Roy Hofheinz created on the top floor, and the answer is yes. They're still there in all their garish glory, but they don't make them available to customers. They do give tours from time to time.

 

Edited by FilioScotia
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, FilioScotia said:

I spent a night in the former Astroworld Hotel this week, and I can testify that the Crown Plaza group has done a great job of upgrading the place and making it a very nice place to stay. I highly recommend it. And that wasn't a paid endorsement.

 

I made a point of asking the desk man if they still had those outlandishly luxurious and very expensive Celestial Suites Roy Hofheinz created on the top floor, and the answer is yes. They're still there in all their garish glory, but they don't make them available to customers. They do give tours from time to time.

 

 

Wow. I can't help but think that there would be a niche market to rent the Celestial Suites out to semi-obsessed Houston history buffs of a certain age, but the cost would likely be a stiff barrier to entry.

 

The Tarzan Room reminds me of Elvis' Jungle Room at Graceland. Wonder if he ever stayed there when he performed at the Rodeo?

 

celestial-suites-tarzan-room.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

When the hotel opened in 1969 the going rate for the Celestial Suites was $2500 per night in 1969 dollars. Nearly 50 years of inflation later, that would be around $17,000 per night in today's dollars. If nothing else it sure keeps the riff-raff out.

Edited by FilioScotia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder what it would have went for during the Super Bowl?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the Super Bowl was held in Rice Stadium in January 1974, and the hotel's Celestial Suites were available for those who could afford them. With all the big money deep pocket high rollers in town for the game, it's safe to say all the suites were taken during Super Bowl week that year. The going rate was $2500 a night under normal circumstances, but I'm guessing the rate was a lot higher that week.

 

As for the most recent Super Bowl, I don't think the suites were available, but you would have to ask the hotel manager about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0