Houston, TX

Make Your Next Montrose Lunch Date at La Colombe d’Or

Betsy Denson

Avocado Tartine at La Colombe d’OrPhoto by author

When a friend told me that she wanted to have lunch at La Colombe d’Or in Montrose before visiting the Museum of Fine Arts, I wasn’t aware of it.

I must have missed all the press last March when it reopened, including a big spread in Texas Monthly.

But now that I’ve visited the boutique hotel, I’ll most certainly be back.

If you’d been a guest here back in 1980 when Steve Zimmerman opened it – and yes, it’s named for the south of France hangout of Picasso and the like – you would have had your choice of a whopping five rooms.

“In the early ’80s, when I started, everything was big, bigger, biggest—and here we had this dusty hotel,” Zimmerman told Texas Monthly. “By being small and intimate, it just became kind of fun because it was sort of the antithesis of what everybody thought of Houston.”

The redesign brings the total from 14 to 32 rooms. There is the original hotel which in the 1920s was the home of the Fondren family who owned Humble Oil, later to become Exxon. Texas Monthly said that the Red Cross and later a school for special needs children used the mansion.

There are also rooms in a modern tower that Zimmerman and son Dan built behind the mansion and some bungalows in between that have a distinctly New Orleans feel.

One of the staff told us that he would have given us a peek of the rooms if they hadn’t been occupied. No worries, it gives me the excuse to go back and staycation there. It will definitely be for a special occasion as rooms start at $500.

We did eat in the hotel’s wood-paneled dining room. I didn’t see the Man Ray artist’s proof or Picasso lithograph that are apparently in-house but there were some lovely pieces on the walls. According to the hotel’s website, there are more than 350 pieces on display.

Dining room at La Colombe d'OrPhoto by author

Tonight & Tomorrow is the name of the hotel’s restaurant. Executive Chef Jonathan Wicks is a Texan who spent six years at Hotel ZaZa.

The lunch menu wasn’t too cumbersome, or the food too heavy, which I appreciate. I had the Avocado Tartine with roast tomato jam which was perfection. The egg on top made it. Our waiter did say that the menu changes often.

If we’d had more time – or if it had been a warmer day – I would have liked to sit on the porch awhile. It had that neighborhood feel that is hard to achieve in Houston nowadays.

Front porch at La Colombe d’OrPhoto by author

No worries - It’s just another excuse to go back.

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