COLLEGE STATION — Stepping into The George hotel, with its arty vibe and subdued lighting, you could be in Austin. Not that anyone in College Station would want to be in Austin. This is Texas A&M country in every sense — the university is right across the street. The George is just a trendier version of this land.
This is an area that’s long been more sophisticated than many people give it credit for being. But there is no doubt that The George drives this home in a whole new way. Since it opened just before the 2017 college football season, it has stood out as the hotel that locals could point to with pride.
My visit found it still charming, with crowds gathering around the slim outdoor courtyard pool, people taking selfies in front of the giant Texas flag made out of book spines and something of a weekend scene atmosphere taking effect.
The George is definitely a place where people go to see and be seen in College Station.
Thankfully, it’s also a very convenient haven. Smack dab in the middle of Century Square, the mixed-use development from Midway — the real estate dynamos behind CITYCENTRE and the forthcoming East River mega development — the best of College Station is right outside the front doors.
Or across the street.
You can walk 10 feet to the best steakhouse in the Bryan-College Station region — PORTERS. Request a seat on the patio and you can eat and drink well while taking in the live music scene that enfolds at The Front Porch lawn every weekend. (College kids and families alike dance and sit in the grass as everything from heavy metal to Christian rock is performed on the small stage.)
There is also easy access to walk over and catch a movie (Star Cinema Grill), hit an Irish pun (Mo’s), buy some distinctive Texas boots at Lucchese or just hang out in the whisky lobby bar (1791). The George would be the perfect base for an A&M football weekend — if you book it in time. (Jimbo Fisher’s team should be very good in the 2022 season, too.)
Being little more than 90 minutes from Houston and less than three hours from even Dallas, The George can make for a quick Texas vacation getaway as well. There are few things less stressful than being in a cool environment with everything you could need (even a Tiff’s Treats) the shortest of short walks away.
THIS MAY BE A HOTEL HIP ENOUGH TO BE IN AUSTIN, BUT IT IS NOT PRICED LIKE A TRENDY AUSTIN HOTEL
For all of The George’s quirky, fun nods thanks to its MaRS design — the dressed up moveable sheep statues, the quirky signs outside the elevators on the hotel floors, a wood heavy lobby that would be at home in a hip mountain resort — this is a comfortable place to stay. The rooms do not suffer from any cool overload. The beds are comfortable, the showers are huge and there is plenty of space to relax.
MaRS — the Mayfield and Ragni Studio behind the interiors of such high-profile high-rises as Brava in Houston and The Victor in Dallas — is known for being able to pull off this mix of strikingly memorable and useably comfortable.
For much of the year — outside of football and graduation weekends when everything in the area is more expensive — the room rates at The George are very reasonable, too. Especially for this kind of hotel. You can even park for free overnight in Century Square’s garage.
This may be a hotel hip enough to be in Austin, but it is not priced like a trendy Austin hotel. The best of both worlds? More like the best of College Station, where many of those staying at The George would rather be.