Hotel growth comes to The Woodlands areaTen new hotels are under construction or proposed for The Woodlands area in an effort to meet demand from an increased number of travelers and interest in the community’s array of local events.

“I think we’ve had a decade-long oil and gas boom in the Greater Houston area that certainly increased international travel,” said Gordy Bunch, The Woodlands Convention and Visitor’s Bureau chairman. “We’ve had a lot of corporate relocations to The Woodlands area, so as you start bringing international and national headquarters here, a lot of vendors and clients travel to those sites and that creates a demand for upper-scale, full-service oriented hotels.”

The Woodlands hotels

In 2016, the CVB estimates there will be more than 775,000 hotel nights available in The Woodlands with the addition of two new hotels, The Westin and Embassy Suites. 

Located on the Waterway, the new Westin will open in February with 302 rooms and suites and amenities, such as an infinity pool, massage treatments, a fitness center and business services.

The hotel also features a restaurant, Current, and a lounge, Sidebar. Current will feature farm-to-table dishes while Sidebar will offer craft cocktails and appetizers.

Embassy Suites is located at Hughes Landing on Lake Woodlands and will feature 205 two-room suites, a rooftop infinity pool, fitness center and meeting space.

“For years, The Woodlands has been known as a great place for residential living, but we have emerged as a great place to visit and conduct business,” The Woodlands CVB president Nick Wolda said. “It’s a paradigm shift for The Woodlands.”

More hotel growth

Hotels are also in the works along the perimeter of The Woodlands in Shenandoah and Springwoods Village.

“I think the demand is caused by the increase in business activity,” Shenandoah City Administrator Greg Smith said. “ExxonMobil has opened its new facility, and you’ve had several corporate relocations in the southern Montgomery County and north Harris County area. That’s what is contributing to high demand.”

There are at least four hotel projects proposed or under development in the city of Shenandoah, which already has eight hotels. A Home2 Suites, Cambria Suites, Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton are all in the works for the city in the area east of I-45. Additionally, the city’s first full-service hotel, a Holiday Inn and Suites, will open in early 2016.

There are three hotels under construction in the community of Springwoods Village just south of The Woodlands, including a 337-room Woodbine hotel featuring conference space, a pool and fitness center.

“This area has been on our radar for three or four years,” Woodbine Vice President King Scovell said. “What attracted us is a combination of the metrics of Exxon[Mobil] and Southwestern Energy and CHI St. Luke’s. We are interested in more opportunities in Springwoods Village.”

The new hotel will also feature 20,000 square feet of convention and meeting space and will be located in CityPlace, the 60-acre, mixed-use town square of Springwoods Village.

Local benefits

When several of the new hotels open for business, it will open up additional capacity for meeting space.

“We’re very excited to expand capacity with the Westin,” Bunch said. “It will add some additional convention center space that will help us serve larger groups. We now can move into a larger convention marketing campaign.”

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Several of the proposed hotels in Shenandoah also have meeting space that will attract more businesses and companies, Smith said.

In The Woodlands, visitors—whether through hotel occupancy taxes or retail sales tax—pump a significant amount of revenue into the community, Wolda said.    

“We wouldn’t have the mall, Market Street or the hotel convention center if it relied just on the sheer number of residents,” he said. “It takes visitors to support these things, and I think it’s important for us to make it known The Woodlands is a great place for leisure travel, business meetings and convention meetings.”