• Meet Tilman Fertitta, A Texas Native

     
    FROM THE Winter 2018 ISSUE
     

    One of the world’s richest restaurateurs debuts a new luxury hotel concept in Houston.

Tilman Fertitta is recognized as a world leader in the dining, hospitality, entertainment and gaming industries, but his $3.5 billion net worth is a far cry from where he started, peeling shrimp at his dad’s Galveston restaurant in the 1960s.

Now, Texas’ favorite son is planning the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, a high-end property anchoring a mixeduse development just steps away from the Galleria and the River Oaks District. It will offer a world of luxury, including a collection of Bentleys and Rolls-Royces.

“It’s on a different level entirely,” says Tilman Fertitta, the sole owner, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Fertitta Entertainment Inc., which owns the restaurant giant Landry’s, the Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels and, most recently, the NBA’s Houston Rockets. 

The 700,000-square-foot Post Oak at Uptown Houston tower is one of the first master-planned vertical mixed-use projects in Houston that combines residential, restaurant, retail, office and hotel in a single building.

The hotel will offer 250 luxury rooms and suites, including the 1,500-square-foot Post Oak Suite and the 5,000-square-foot Presidential Suite. The Post Oak will feature a 16,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom with large pre-function areas, a 3,000-squarefoot Post Oak Ballroom, and an additional 10,000 square feet of breakout and conference space. Guests of the hotel will have access to the spa, salon and fitness center as well as a resort pool.

Dining options in the mixed-use complex will include Texas’ first Mastro’s Steakhouse and Willie G’s Seafood, which will be relocating to The Post Oak with both indoor seating and a large outdoor patio area. Several additional restaurants are expected to be announced soon. The Post Oak at Uptown Houston will offer 20 executive residential units, as well as 11 floors of boutique office space. 

Fertitta has owned the 10-acre development land for several years and says the time is right to provide customers a high-end hotel with services that weren’t widely available in Houston before now. According to Fertitta, completion of the development is slated for early 2018. 

“I’ve heard people comment around the country that Houston didn’t have high-end hotels,” Fertitta says. “Well, we’ve got one now.”  

Nickole Kerner Bobley describes her childhood in The Woodlands as charmed. Summer days were spent exploring the community just north of Houston. One of her favorite activities was watching the installation of The Woodlands’ iconic public art. She and her friends would sit in awe, perched on their bikes, as the giant cranes carefully positioned the sculptures in place. It had a lasting impact on her. “I attribute my adult love of art to where I lived,” she notes.

 

Tony Michaels is no stranger to navigating choppy waters. The CEO and executive director of The Parade Company, which puts on traditions like America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Ford Fireworks, took the helm of the Detroit nonprofit during tough times, at the height of the financial crisis. “2008, 2009, are you kidding me?” says Michaels.

 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.