Officially open since August of last year, College Station welcomes The George™, a new luxury boutique hotel conveniently located near the Northside campus of Texas A&M. Aggies are likely cheering to have an alternative to the big box hotels, something that more accurately epitomizes their culture and interests. As you might have guessed, the hotel was built and is also run by Aggies.
“Aggies stick together,” noted Lydia Godfrey, Director of Sales and Marketing. “It’s really fun showing customers around. They’re very intrigued by the story behind the hotel. Our tagline is “where rustic meets refined.’ We weren’t trying to drop a Four Seasons into College Station, but we wanted to elevate the travel experience for guests. It was much needed.”
What is in a Name?
Although most people assume the hotel is named after George W. bush, who still happens to have an apartment above the library at Texas A&M ,it is not solely a nod to this great George. The hotel also pays homage to George Washington and George Pullman, a famous American engineer and industrialist. Throughout The George™, you will find details woven into the decor and overall theme. The wait staff, for example, wear colorful socks, a signature style of former President Bush.
While the decor is modern and sophisticated, with wood floors, leather couches, and opulent touches, The George™ has also made an effort to be both playful and mindful of the history of College Station.
For one, they have sheep. Not real sheep, but a “flock” of life-size figurines, inspired by the surrounding countryside and agricultural heritage of the town and school, that are peppered throughout the hotel in guests’ suites as well as public spaces. “Guests like to move them around and you’ll see them all over Instagram,” said Lydia.
Clearly the sheep are a source of much amusement at the hotel. Five of the sheep have also been tagged by Gonzo 247, in appreciation of Texas artists.
One of the guests’ favorite artistic details of the hotel is their #GoBig collection of 10,000 books that take up an entire wall and are organized in the shape of the Texas flag. It is already a popular backdrop for wedding photos this season. “People are very intrigued by the wall and visit it during their stay. The books were donated by Texas libraries, and all have something to do with Texas, from barbecue to cotton and oil. “Some are textbooks from A&M,” explained Lydia.
The hotel has 162 rooms, including a President Suite, which is ideal for game day travelers, and comes with several lounge areas, a bar, dining room, and spacious balcony with window walls that can be completely opened. You will also find an entire wall of bottle openers (an artistic, yet useful installation), a custom corn toss game board, and Georgina the Cash Cow.
The artwork and photography pieces in the guest rooms are commissioned pieces by Texas-based artist, Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola, who depicts scenes along the Texas railway. The carpet, too, is inspired by the switches of a train track, another thoughtful nod to College Station, which used to be a stop along the railroad. The bars int eh rooms are designed to look like steamer trucks and the wood accents leave you feeling like it is not just another stop along the tracks, but a warm home away from home.
Although the hotel does not have an in-house spa, they do have a treatment room, and you can also enjoy a massage or a variety of spa services from the comfort of your hotel room, serviced by a nearby facility. The George™ plans to offer a spa package, along with a variety of other packages, such as those that include dinner and a show, golfing, or winery tour. Visit their website for current options.
Service with a Scent
One of the unique attributes about the Valencia Group, which partnered with Midway on The George™, is that each of their properties has a signature scent. George’s scent is called Oak and Ember, which is a woodsy smell. “Every time you walk into The George™, you are met with that distinct smell. You associate smell with remembering where you’ve been,” commented Lydia.
For folks that like Oak and Ember, they will be happy to learn that you can buy each of Valencia Group hotel’s scents across various products at the hotel shop or online.
According to Lydia, Valencia Group is becoming a well-known brand. You may be familiar with a few of their other hotels, which include both the Alessandra and Sorella in Houston, Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio, Lone Star Court in Austin, and Cavalry Court, also in College Station.
“Valencia Group is known for outstanding service. Our hotels are historically ranked on the top of everything, such as Trip Advisor and Conde Nast Traveler,” Lydia stated. “We’re very different from branded properties because we try to personalize the experience. We try to learn the customers’ names. We want to get to know our guests.”
In fact, The George™ has a thoughtful loyalty program that helps them offer customized guest amenities based on your personal preferences. When you set up your criteria, you let them know what kind of wine you like, what kind of treats, and you can expect to find them in your hotel room upon your visit. The George™ understands that guests are not one-size-fits-all and they respond accordingly.
Drink and Dine with George
First up for the libations is the 1791 Whiskey Bar, so named for the year of the whiskey tax rebellion under the leadership of George Washington. “The hotel bar tells the story of whiskey from all over the world,” said Lydia. Another savvy detail of the bar includes a light fixture made out of 1,200 donated whiskey bottles from Yellow Rose Distillery, created by the hotel’s designer, MaRS, out of Houston. From here, you can enjoy live music and a view of the infinity pool, which will no doubt be a popular summer hot spot in College Station this year.
As for dining, there are a couple of options. The hotel partners with a third party to bring an upscale steakhouse called Porter’s which opened earlier this year.
If you wish to stick to the hotel’s own restaurant, you will be enjoying an excellent meal at Poppy, undeniably named after George W. Bush, whose grandchildren call him that. The restaurant offers eclectic dining featuring Texas favorites made with locally-sourced ingredients; they call this their take on modern culinary Texas regionalism. Due to this fact, the menu change seasonally , sometimes even weekly.
The restaurant features an open-fire hearth that cooks up delectable eats like wild boar, slow-cooked Iberico pork cheeks, and smoked Bandera quail.
With a large porch and a wonderful view of Century Square’s outdoor plaza, an open-air green space where you can often enjoy music and events throughout the year, you might forget about the football game this fall!
The hotel group makes it a point of being in the thick of things, meaning that when you visit The George™, there will be no shortage of fun, and exciting things to do. Although Century Square, a mixed-use destination filled with restaurants, bars, and even a cinema, is still being built, there are already restaurants and shops ready for your patronage. If that is not entertainment enough, grab a sheep and surprise someone!