The companion hotel to the Astrodome and Astroworld, the Astroworld Hotel sat right next to the "8th Wonder of the World" and was capped by the most expensive suite in the world. The hotel was an integral part of the transformation of Houston to an economic force.
In the late fifties and early sixties, Houston began experiencing a modernization of sorts. In an effort to spur the economy, a man named Judge Roy Hoffeinz (who served as mayor of the city for a couple years in the late 1950's) began a massive project called the Astrodomain. Perhaps taking its inspiration from Walt Disney's Disneyland, which opened in the 1950's, Roy Hoffeinz dreamt up a complex consisting of the most modern sports complex of it's time, the Astrodome (the 8th Wonder of the World), a theme park (Astroworld), and a hotel complex, the Astroworld Hotel.
Do you know what the most expensive hotel suite in the world was in the 1970's? The top floor of the Astroworld Hotel!
Late into the Astroworld Hotel's construction, Judge Roy Hoffeinz added a top floor, a luxury suite of thirteen rooms and a dance floor called the Celestial Suite. Staying there cost anywhere from $2,500-$5,500 per night, although it was rarely for rent... Judge Roy Hoffeinz and his wife LIVED in it!
One of the Astrodome's claims to fame was that its numerous luxury boxes were all uniquely themed. The Celestial Suite was no exception... each of its rooms featured a completely unique theme. Themes ranged from the Safari room, to the Roman Bath room, to the Medeival room (that's where the master bedroom was), and even a P.T. Barnum room!
Today, the Celestial Suite still exists on top of the hotel, but it's been damaged by rain and needs to be brought up to code. Even though it looks quite dated, it's still an amazing piece of Houston history for those who are lucky enough to sneak a peak.
Learn more about the Astroworld Hotel's Celestial Suites.
The Astroworld Hotel still stands, even today. Well... sort of. It's changed names and changed ownership numerous times, and most people don't even know it existed, much less that the very hotel they might have stayed in was once this amazing hotel. True, some of the physical structures are gone, and traffic flow and whatnot is different, but the Astroworld Hotel is now a Crowne Plaza on Kirby Dr. right near the Reliant Stadium.
- The Astroblast, a 1972 benefit for Theater Under the Stars. The minidome was used, The Gentlemen Three played it, at intermission circus nickelodeons played, and a blue sea-serpent ice sculpture crowned the buffet table. some ball committee members spent the night (mentioned in a 1993 chronicle article)
- Elvis was there in 1974
- According to a 1993 Chronicle article, it seemed the suites were being rented out frequently for social functions, weddings, fund raisers, company parties, etc. The suites were also offered as a tour.
- Sometime in the early 1990's, there was a ceremony for the renovated mini dome, and the Hofeheinz family was there
There was a jazz club in operation up there for awhile recently, sometime during or after 2007 most likely during "Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza" ownership.
- 1969-??: Hofeheinz/Houston Sports Association.
- Next owner was Servico Hotels, sometime after 1975 ... unsure of the name of the hotel.
- As of 7/18/1993: Sheraton Astrodome Hotel
- As of 1996, still Sheraton Astrodome
- Hotels fell into foreclosure around 2002
- As of January 2004: Radisson Astrodome
- As of December 2005: Park Plaza Hotel Reliant Center
- Bought in December 2005 by Metro Hospitality Partners and going to be renamed Houston Grand Plaza Hotel
- As of 2007: Houston Grand Plaza, soon to be Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza
- As of 2011: Crowne Plaza.