Merriman Anderson Architects redesigns The Woodlands Resort

Merriman Anderson Architects has completed its four-phase renovation of The Woodlands Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton located 30 miles north of downtown Houston in Montgomery County. This property represents the first Hilton Curio Resort in Texas, and the $21-million reimagination of the resort includes public areas—registration, lobby lounge and bar, restaurant and market, pre-function area as well as 402 total guestrooms and suites.

The resort is located within The Woodlands, a master-planned community developed by visionary Houstonian George Mitchell in 1974. A highly regarded oil entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mitchell’s plan was to create an all-encompassing, integrated community woven within the land’s prodigious natural forest environment. By 1981, The Woodlands Inn was developing into a destination for conferences due to its convenience to a major airport and the resort environment. In the late 1990s, a full-scale water park was added to the resort resulting in the wide variety of amenities from golf, tennis and access to trails. Today, The Woodlands Resort, managed by CoralTree Hospitality, is much larger in scale and amenities and is considered a family destination and a popular choice for conference and event space.

In 2021, MAA was hired to conceptualize a turnkey renovation of the hotel’s major areas, bringing the architectural design and interiors up to modern standards and imbuing the spaces with a refreshed new style and palette. MAA’s team determined their primary design driver was the surrounding forested environment—flora, fauna, water, air and light. Their inspiration was the peace, joy and rejuvenation that occurs when guests immerse themselves in the vast property. By incorporating materials, textures and colors that appear throughout the woodland, the design team was able to create a natural transition from the outdoors into the interiors of the resort.

The Spruce Lobby was given a soft mid-century modern vibe with large undivided glass windows, brick and stone architectural elements, earthy colors and textures.

The guestroom and suites renovation incorporated a new nature-infused color palette for bedding drapery and carpet, and the addition of wood and stone accents to the furnishings. MAA completely redesigned and upgraded the bathrooms with new showers, tubs, flooring, countertops, mirrors and lighting. The Grand Foyer pre-function within the event and conference wing was given a fresh contemporary infusion with seating vignettes, carpet, lighting and artwork.

Three new food and beverage outlet options were added within the scope of the renovation project. Harrison’s overlooks the lake and features a wraparound patio. The two-story space offers multiple dining configurations including a private dining room. The ambiance is sophisticated but comfortable and utilizes the same earthy nature palette: wood beams and stone architectural details, linear banquettes, leather and floral upholstery. Spruce Market is a new casual all-day café dining option with a retail component for snacks, sundries and beverages to go. The new Lobby Bar offers drinks and small bites serving many different Texas wines, beers, spirits and a unique cocktail menu.

MAA also curated an exemplary new art program for the hotel which showcases a variety of talented Texas artists in a mix of genres and techniques.

“The Woodlands Resort is a beloved destination for families visiting the Houston area and locals looking for a staycation. As the first Curio by Hilton resort in Texas, we knew our direction was to reimagine and freshen the property in every aspect,” said Jennifer Picquet-Reyes, principal/director, hospitality, historic/adaptive-reuse, MAA. “The natural beauty of that heavily wooded area was our guiding star to imbue the interiors with the same rich blend of textures, colors and elements.”