How visual arts inspired the new look of this Houston hotel

In Houston, Texas, the Lancaster Hotel is set to reopen this August following a major renovation.

The Lancaster Hotel opened as the Auditorium Hotel in 1926 by owner and developer Michele DeGeorge, designed in an Italianate style by local architect Joseph Finger. Last July, new owners Matthew Newton, Jay Shinn and their families purchased The Lancaster Hotel from the Lusk family, owners and descendants of Michele DeGeorge. With initial plans to renovate the hotel over a two-year period, the Shinn family expedited the hotel’s redesign after it was damaged when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in late August 2017, tapping interior designer David Cadwallader to oversee the project. 

The property's interior design renovation incorporates a curated collection of contemporary art by Texas artists. The updated hotel places a new focus on the visual arts, complementing the property’s location in Houston’s theater and performing arts district, while acknowledging its legacy as a Texas Historic Landmark.

As an artist, principal partner Jay Shinn envisioned the Theater District’s only hotel to be known as Houston’s “Art Hotel.” Public spaces and guestrooms will incorporate Shinn’s collection of more than 200 contemporary pieces by Texas artists such as Mark Flood, Terrell James, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Aaron Parazette and Margo Sawyer. In addition, pieces by Donald Judd, Robert Rauschenberg and James Surls, among others, will be featured throughout the property.

The overall design intent started by taking inspiration from the classic Regency style. With clean lines using muted colors of white, grey, cream and taupe, the interior renovation will open much of the lobby and mezzanine spaces to increase light and improve the flow.

To highlight the contemporary art displayed throughout the hotel, referred to as the “The Lancaster Collection,” each guestroom will have information on the featured works.

In addition to the hotel’s interior renovation, the family has plans for a redesigned and renamed restaurant, debuting as Cultivated F+B. The restaurant is expected to open in conjunction with the hotel. New al fresco seating at the corner of Texas Avenue and Louisiana Street will create a café vibe, and will be complemented by a walk-in espresso bar, featuring Speedy Boy Coffee.

Amenities at the property will include a cardio fitness room.

Tom Harwell is the GM of The Lancaster Hotel.

Photo credit: The Lancaster Hotel