Great Texas Vacation Retreats and Staycation Spots That Put Pampering and Fall Fun First

Getting Away Shouldn't be Stressful — and These Specials Make It Easy

Heather Staible

October 2021

If the thought of cramming everything you need into a suitcase, facing airport drama and vying for a rental car a la The Hunger Games isn’t channeling those coveted vacation vibes, perhaps a staycation or a quick Texas trip is the fall getaway you really need. A few special Texas retreats are bringing real relaxation back with poolside views, live entertainment and special packages for every interest and budget.

This is your guide to Texas hotels that let you get away without going through all the hassles of taking a long trip.


Like almost all hotels, The Moran Hotel was faced with low traffic and limited occupancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but management took that time to re-invent the 244-room Houston hotel which overlooks CITYCENTRE’S expansive plaza. The previously named Monalisa lounge has been transformed into Fireside, a chic destination for live music, craft cocktails and light bites.

The remodeled space features live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Jamal Mazhar, The Moran’s director of sales & marketing, says guests can expect full production performances for a true “night out” experience. Moran Hotel guests receive complimentary access to Fireside. There’s a $10 cover charge for non-hotel guests. It’s always good to be a hotel guest.

Radio Milano, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, also took the downtime to tweak its menu offerings, shifting from Italian to Mediterranean.

“There are so many great restaurants here at CITYCENTRE and we thought Mediterranean cuisine would be a good fit,” Mazhar says. “You can have multiple experiences all in one place, here at the hotel.” The new menu features shawarma, gyros and Mazhar’s personal favorite — The My Big Fat Greek Burger made with angus beef, sliced gyro, melted feta cheese and harissa aioli.  

“It’s my absolute favorite burger,” Mazhar says. “It’s so good.”

The My Big Fat Greek Burger at Radio Milano.

The Moran staff also added local duo and trio acts on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 pm to 9 pm, so Mazhar suggests keeping the party going at Fireside once the shows end at Radio Milano.

Fall Staycation Packages for All

Like steak? There’s a Steak-ation package for that. Been craving some personal TLC? There’s the Massage and Head-to-Glow package for that too. Mazhar and The Moran CITYCENTRE team created experiences for multiple interests and philanthropic pursuits.  

One of the most popular packages is the USO Houston package, supporting America’s military services. The hotel donates $50 to USO Houston for every night of a stay during 2021, and guests receive a USO Houston SWAG bag when checking in.

“This really is an amazing spot for a staycation,” Mazhar says. “We’ve built-in flexibility to accommodate our guests who want a local, luxurious destination. You can arrive and never leave because everything you need is right here.”

The Steakation special appeals to those who appreciate a great steak, customer service and ambiance. Receive a $100 restaurant gift card for every single night of your stay and use the gift card at The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood or Yard House.

“There’s something for everyone. You can have a really good time at Yard House or one seafood tower at Eddie V’s. Either way, there’s a lot to enjoy,” Mazhar says.

Beauty buffs will enjoy the Massage Package which includes the choice of one of three massages for either 60 minutes or two 30-minute sessions at Life Spa across the walkway at Life Time Fitness. The Head-to-Glow package includes a $200 HydraFacial treatment credit at Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center for every night of the stay.

Want more of The Moran Hotel sweet life? Look for the Candytopia package. The interactive art wonderland transports visitors through Candyland with a series of galleries made with sugar-coated flights of fancy. Hotel guests get four tickets to the exhibit for each night of their stay. Now, that’s a sweet deal.

And even though it’s still just turning fall, Mazhar notes that The Moran will soon release its plans for New Year’s Eve packages. It’s never too early to start planning for a New Year’s to remember.

Luxe Lounging

There’s plenty to do just steps outside the front door of The Moran Hotel. This includes Bowl & Barrel, a modern tavern and boutique bowling alley. Want something more challenging? The Escape Game, an immersive mystery-solving experience beckons. How about a movie now that Hollywood blockbusters are finally back in theaters? Studio Movie Grill offers an elevated theater experience.

Then again, if lounging about sounds more like your vacation speed, head up to The Moran Hotel’s pool. The oasis above CITYCENTRE is the ultimate spot for cooling dips and sunbathing. After all, pool season in Houston extends well into October. If not beyond.

“This really is an amazing spot for a staycation,” Mazhar notes. “We’ve built-in flexibility to accommodate our guests who want a local, luxurious destination. You can arrive and never leave because everything you need is right here.”

The George at Century Square

Expect four-star treatment with a Texas twist at The George, a 162-room boutique hotel situated directly across the street from the Texas A&M University campus in the game changing Century Square mixed-use development. The George pays homage to those who bear the famous name and influenced culture and history along the way. Locally, the hotel is a respectful nod to George H.W. Bush whose presidential library is nearby at Texas A&M.

The George, is a 162-room boutique hotel situated directly across the street from the Texas A&M campus

Fall is the best time to visit College Station with Texas A&M football in full swing — and the weather beyond beautiful. And Century Square is going all in on this Aggie football season.

The Midway mixed-use development hosts a special Biergarten every weekend in the fall with some of the best restaurants in arms reach, and a free shuttle to Kyle Field on gamedays. There is celebrating football — and then there’s turning every football weekend into a three-day bonanza of food, fun and music.

You can enjoy the Biergarten every weekend in the fall, whether Texas A&M is playing at home or away. To kick it up a notch, for select away games Century Square will be hosting a watch party with six massive flat-screen TVs on The Green.

Of course, The George Hotel is also all in on the Aggie football fever. Transportation to and from Kyle Field is free for hotel guests home football weekends. And when you get back to The George after the game, live music will be waiting for you in the hotel’s whiskey bar dubbed 1791. George Hotel guests also get the opportunity to purchase discounted Texas A&M football tickets.

Of course, it’s not all about football at this whimsical hip hotel land. Other Texas vacation packages include a Fall Into Romance special that brings luxury accommodations for two, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival, complimentary valet or self parking and free Wi-Fi.

More into making a family trip? The George’s A Texas Christmas Experience package includes a room, special stockings with treats for the kids, two complimentary drinks in the 1791 Whiskey Bar (a $40 value), complimentary parking and free Wi-Fi. Of course, The George is the perfect base for a family trip to the nearby Santa’s Wonderland.

Other Texas vacation packages offer topnotch deals and experiences for golfers, wine lovers and a girls weekend.

Wine, Dine, Whiskey & Song

Since a vacation without delicious food and drinks is just a trip, The George is serving up bites, sips and meals all day and night for those on a truly Texas getaway.

The 1791 Whiskey Bar, named for the year of the whiskey tax rebellion under the leadership of George Washington, is a whiskey lover’s dream, with an extensive sipping menu and a cadre of trained mixologists. Or pop over to Porters for steaks and chops in a refined setting, or explore other Century Square restaurants, which include Sweet Paris, Hopdoddy and Mo’s Irish Pub.

Poolside Bliss

The George marries upscale refinement with quirky Texas charm, and that extends to the Watering Hole aka the swimming pool at the hotel. The centerpiece of the property, the Watering Hole is inspired by Texas’s historic spring-fed pools. It’s the ultimate spot to chill during the day and it becomes a vibrant water feature when the sun sets low in the evenings.

Cavalry Court at Century Square

For a slightly more relaxed take on a College Station getaway, there’s Cavalry Court, a 141-room hotel set on four acres of beautifully landscaped courtyards, also in Century Square. Cavalry Court rooms have a modern throwback feel with luxury amenities, including Egyptian cotton linens, Katz Coffee and complimentary Wi-Fi, but it’s the outdoors that’s sure to draw you in.

The reception area at Cavalry Court is grand.

The grounds center around activities such as lawn games, firepits, ping-pong tables, cornhole, board games and bicycles. Planning some pool time? Consider a cabana day rental and receive day passes for eight, bottled water, towel service, a fully-furnished cabana with lounge chairs, two 40-inch TVs, a personalized Canteen server and access to lawn/board games.

“Our hotels are right across from each other and are designed to capture the essence of College Station while offering a destination where people can come together to shop, dine and connect,” says George Tays, the general manager of Calvary Court and The George Hotels, Valencia Hotel Group. “Once settled into one of our unique and chic boutique hotels in Century Square, you can explore Brazos Valley’s premier community destination.

“We pride ourselves on creating a memorable experience and our properties serve as a great staycation destination for the local community and surrounding towns and cities.”

Cavalry Court’s vacation specials include a Glamping retreat package that gets you a guest room, s’mores on arrival (the hotel staff will make sure the fire is going for you) and two free drinks at The Canteen Bar & Grill. Talk about the perfect Texas fall retreat.

The hotel’s casual eatery serves everything from crispy deviled eggs and pork nachos to shrimp-and-grits and fried chicken. The Canteen is also a popular brunch spot, thanks to its crème brulee French toast, short rib burritos and an eye-opening cocktail menu.

Now, is the perfect for that Texas vacation you were putting off. And there are some special hotels waiting for you.