rice running trail


Hey guys, as promised, this is part two of my recent Winter getaway. The first part of this travel diary recap is HERE.



So, after having a great time in St. Louis Missouri, I hopped on a plane for a quick trip to Houston. The weather was amazing when I arrived there. It wasn’t sunny, but it was definitely warm. As usual, Houston is vibrant and everyone’s on their T-shirt and walking their dogs. Like with most big cities, there’s a lot of stuff to see in Houston, but I didn’t have the time to explore, so I just spent my few days there strolling around.


Hotel Zaza Houston


Hotel Zaza French Macarons
free French Macarons near Hotel Zaza’s lobby


Hotel Zaza – Known to be a boutique hotel, I had high hopes for the place when I checked in. However, I was utterly surprised by the darkness of the interior and it’s not just slightly dark, it’s REALLY dark to the point that you’d have a hard time finding the elevator button. My room was dingy, musty, and scary. The hallways were eerily silent, dark, and the type that will give you goosebumps. The hotel is full of bizarre paintings and photos that don’t seem to make any sense with regards to the hotel’s overall design. The staff is distant and don’t seem to care much for their clients. I remember sitting at their Monarch Restaurant located just adjacent to the hotel and no one came to ask for my order, so I just left. I did change room because I was so grossed out with its carpet and its musty smell, not to mention the not-so-safe-looking door and windows. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the free French Macarons at the lobby which I managed to spot amidst all that darkness and the hotel’s proximity to Rice Village, I would not have stayed here at all. In fact, I don’t think I will ever stay in this hotel again because it’s just hazardous.


rice university houston tx


rice university loop
Rice University Loop


Rice Boulevard & Rice Village – As what I’ve said above, the other nice thing of staying at my scary hotel is the fact that it’s walking distance to Rice University, Rice University Trail/Loop, and Rice Village. Yes, there’s a lot of rice there, I know, LOL. But yeah, I took a nice long stroll along Rice Boulevard and its running trail/loop which gave me a beautiful view of the Rice University campus. The university itself has a very classic design but the stars of the show are the impressive old oak trees that surrounded the entire school. They reminded me of the Oak Alley Plantation in New Orleans (read about that trip HERE). Also, they are everywhere and they seem to take a life of their own. I truly recommend that you take a stroll along the Rice Boulevard trail because it’s kind of a reflecting experience. Since it wasn’t cold at all, I saw some squirrels having fun climbing the trees and enjoying the weather. Towards the end of Rice Boulevard is the famous Rice Village and I had a great time browsing some shops there. I picked up some beauty stuff at Bluemercury, had a coffee and spicy Chorizo at Starbucks, then swatched some makeup at Sephora. I totally love Rice Village for casual shopping and dining. Oh, and you gotta try the Rice Krispies from The Chocolate Bar if you happen to be there.


bluemercury rice village tx
Rice Village


On my way to Rice Village, I passed by several museums, like the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Cockrell Butterfly Center, and I also stopped at Hermann Park to see the roses near the Sam Houston monument. Check out the photos below.

Sam Houston Monument Hermann Park
Sam Houston Monument at Hermann Park


Houston Museum of Natural Science Photo


Cockrell Butterfly Center Museum Houston
Cockrell Butterfly Center


hermann park houston tx
Reflection Pool at Hermann Park


I find these short trips to be very beneficial on my part. I got a chance to unwind and disconnect for a while, and even though I got disappointed with my stay at Hotel Zaza in Houston, still, I could see myself living in all of the three cities I recently visited. I absolutely miss the sun in California, I love the newness and the energy of St. Louis, and there are so many things in Houston I want to explore. Anyway, that my friends is the conclusion of my short Winter getaway. Stay tuned for more trips coming very very soon.


Have you been to these spots before? What do you like about them?


To book a flight to Houston TX, click HERE