What happens when a downtown Houston hotel goes backs to its roots? It keeps the best of its classic architectural features, completes a $5 million renovation and returns to a grand name, The Whitehall. Originally opened as the Hotel America in 1963 and now a member of the Historic Hotels of America, the property was renamed The Whitehall early on for its famed white Italian marble floors. It quickly became Houston’s most iconic business hotel, a reputation that rang true for many years until economic downtown struck and the doors were shuttered in 1991 for a decade. 

With a $25 million renovation invested and branded as a Crowne Plaza, the hotel reopened in 2001. Sotherly Hotels acquired the property in late 2013 and began charting a new course, including a major renovation of the 259 guest rooms, 12,000 square feet of meeting space, public spaces, rooftop swimming pool and fitness facilities that was completed in April 2016. 

Three new food and beverage outlets also were introduced: Buffalo Bayou Coffee, a casual coffee bistro brewing local JAVA PURA coffee; Edgar’s Hermano serving Mexican-Southern fusion cuisine; and Part & Parcel, an outdoor restaurant offering local bites and craft cocktails. Upon completion of the renovations, the hotel became an independent boutique property again.

The meeting and event space on the lobby floor and second floor can host up to 500 guests and includes 17 venues. A unique feature on the second floor is an in-house rotating art gallery featuring original works by students and alumni of Savannah College of Art & Design, a feature in all of Sotherly’s independent hotels. 

When it comes to meeting at the Austin Convention Center, the numbers are forever in your favor. Let’s start with six. That’s how many full city blocks the convention center extends in the heart of the downtown business district. Or 12,000—the number of hotel rooms within a two-mile radius of the venue. Twenty-thousand is how many wireless devices that can be simultaneously connected, ensuring all of your guests won’t miss a meeting, Zoom call, presentation or email.  


South by Southwest (SXSW) returned live this year! The 35-year-old festival infuses on average $16-plus million of consumer spending into the Austin music scene over the course of nine days. The festival returned in March after its cancellation in 2020 and virtual show in 2021. Both the cancellation and virtual show were prompted by health and safety concerns due to the pandemic.