Experience the Luxe Side of Houston During Super Bowl Week
It’s true: Everything’s bigger in Texas. But truth be told, if you’re headed there for this year’s Super Bowl LI, the last place you want to be is stuck in some Brobdingnagian tourist trap of a hotel, forced to go to all the usual tourist spots, eat at all the obvious places, and find yourself in a bar where you’re the only person who’s not wearing spurs and a 10-gallon hat. So RealClearLife has curated this ultimate Super Bowl Week luxury travel guide for you, with only the most signature of offerings available to whet your whistle.
The Suite Life: You might want to consider one of NRG Stadium’s luxury suites for Super Bowl Sunday. (Prices have likely dipped a bit since both Texas teams are out of the SB mix, so now’s the time to strike while the iron’s hot.) To hell with those face-painted ne’er-do-wells picking fights with you in the stands; an enclosed room with catered food, a well-iced bar, TV screens, and private above-field seating is a perfect way to experience the biggest NFL game of the year (or the halftime show, if you’re not a football fan). Accommodating up to 41 guests, you get valet parking outside of the stadium, a private entrance, and access to NRG’s Verizon Club. Did we mention that cheerleaders visit the luxury suites during the game? (Not sure if this includes the Super Bowl, but it’s a cool add-on if it does.) For more information, click here.
The Ultimate Super Bowl Package: If you and your friends can come up with a cool $1 million, you’ll be able to enjoy a long Super Bowl weekend (beginning the Thursday prior), courtesy of TicketCity. The following red-carpet-y amenities will be rolled out: private jet transportation (see above); bourbon tastings and spa treatments; dinner at exclusive Houston eateries such as Damian’s and Brennan’s; courtside seating at a Houston Rockets game, with a celebrity meet-and-greet (Friday); access to all the official fan festivals in Houston (see Players Party 2017 below); VIP access to a UFC fight (Saturday); and, of course, premium seating at NRG Stadium for the Big Game. In addition to that, you’ll also receive (among others) autographed helmets of Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers; and a Miami Dolphins “perfect season” signed jersey. TicketCity told RealClearLife that the package deal can be “customized” to interested parties’ needs—so if you need to lop off the private jet flight or select other restaurants, they can accommodate. For more info, click here.
Striking Black Gold: Ever wonder what it’d be like to be an oil tycoon? The Houstonian hotel, club, and spa is offering a weekend package that will kick off your Super Bowl weekend experience in an outlandish way. For just $15,500 (hey, it’s less than a million), you’ll get a three-night stay in the hotel’s luxurious Capitol Suite, spa treatments (including two Swedish massages), two pairs of custom cowboy boots ($5,200), an in-room cocktail hour and steak dinner, a one-hour helicopter tour of the city, and your own personal limo chauffeur for shopping and sightseeing. Wear your custom cowboy boots to NRG Stadium looking like a boss. Hell, you are the boss. For more info, click here.
Houston, We Have a Solution: Let’s say you’re not the live game type, and you’d rather stay at home, party with your family, and laugh at the commercials. That’s fine. We’d suggest a luxury house (or apartment) rental. One local realtor making Super Bowl Week or Weekend dreams come true is Nan & Company Properties, which has some solid offerings—including a $25,000/night mansion (shown above) in Houston’s swanky Memorial neighborhood. It’s a minimum four-night stay, so you do the math. The planning, though, can be done via this list. For more information on luxe Super Bowl rentals, click here.
Get to the ‘Heart’ of the Matter: Call us old fashioned, but we still like reading the newspaper. And last September, The Houston Chronicle dubbed Oxheart its top restaurant in the city. Sporting two $80 tasting menus nightly (with an additional $45 beverage pairing option), Chef Justin Yu takes culinary artistry to a whole new level (in 2016, he also took home the James Beard Award for best southwest chef). On the other hand, if you came to Texas with barbecue on the brain, the newspaper suggests Killen’s and its restaurant critic, the mustard-seed sausage. We suggest any damned thing on this menu.
Fix Me a Whiskey: Sure, you could go to any number of pubs, bars, on honky-tonks in the Houston area, but one bar that caught our eye was Reserve 101 due to its insanely extensive whiskey list. Yes, you can get your $10 and $20 pours here, but we’d suggest gambling on a $200-a-dram 1981 Amoroso Finesse or a 26-year-old Prometheus Cache 1 from Macallan for $295 a pop. There’s also the $350-a-pour Ladyburn 41 (the distillery’s been closed since 1975, so good luck trying to get a bottle for your hotel room). For more on the bar, click here.
Ready Your Selfie Sticks: Your Super Bowl Week menu will probably be drenched in beer, so why not explore the product of one of its greatest connoisseurs? That would be the fabled Beer Can House, which the late John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer, started putting together in 1968. Ripley’s Believe It or Not guesstimated that the house is covered in 50,000 empty or recycled cans of beer. Besides trying to imagine one man downing that much brew, it’ll be the perfect spot for you and your friends (or family) to set up some memorable selfies. Just make sure if you venture there with your family, you’re sober, or you’ll be in some serious hot water with you-know-who. Entry costs less than a six-pack at just $5. For more info on the Beer Can House, click here.
In Da Club: If you’re the type that needs to make a beeline for bottle service as soon as the clock strikes 12 (a.m., that is), we’d suggest the 64,000-square-foot pop-up Club Nomadic that’s currently being set up in Houston as we speak (it’s been in the works since December). The venue, located in the city’s Sawyer Yards art district, will feature a dance club atmosphere and a bevy of top acts performing to the sweaty throngs in advance of and throughout Super Bowl weekend. Acts include the Chainsmokers, Sam Hunt, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars. For more information, click here.
Tune In, Turn On: Need a break from all the fun, foie gras, and football? Visit the Rothko Chapel, an arts and meditation space designed by famed modern artist Mark Rothko. Founded by Dominique and John de Menil (who also have a can’t-miss art museum two minutes up the road), it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the peaceful side of life. Before you hit another barbecue joint, throw back another expensive dram, and do-si-do your partner. For more information on the chapel, click here.
—Will Levith for RealClearLife