There was a time when I would travel to Houston almost once a month on business. But over the last year or two, my visits have become less frequent. Now I go there every few months. Having spent so many years working there, the city has a special place in my heart.
The Hilton Americas is a very good business hotel. It is opposite the Toyota Center, home of the basketball team Houston Rockets. It lets me catch a game whenever I am in town.
Houston is a food connoisseur’s delight (it is also the US’ fattest city). For a fabulous dining experience, there is no place better than Mark’s American Cuisine. For business meetings, Ruth’s Chris — a steak house chain — is great. For Mexican food, Las Alamedas is one of the best. It’s my favourite, along with Damian’s, an Italian restaurant. If you are looking for a taste of home, head to Kiran’s for Indian cuisine.
Houston is a big city and distances are ‘Texas-sized’ (meaning large). So, it is best to stay close to your work. I have stayed at the Marriott Westchase on the western side, many times. If you have more work in the uptown (Galleria) area, there are several good hotels. But the best is The Houstonian.
Renting a car is the best option for travelling. It makes you independent of a taxi, which can be very expensive.
After a hard day’s work, you could head to Galleria, one of the best malls, for some retail therapy. Katy Mills is also a good mall but a bit away from the city. Better still, if you are in the city on a game day, watch a match of basketball, baseball or football. Watching a game in the US is a ritual that has to be complete with beer and hotdogs.
Houston has an active night life as well. There are many places both downtown and in the Rice Village areas. You can relax at The Social with a drink. But if you prefer hard-nosed partying, go to Skybar on Montrose Street, or to any dance club around Main Street.
If you have time, you can go golfing or visit the NASA Center south of Houston or Galveston area which has retained a lot of old world charm.
Houston’s weather is similar to parts of India — hot and humid. And yes, don’t forget to get yourself a cowboy hat before you leave!
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(This story appears in the 25 February, 2011 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)