Byline: Michelle Meyer

If an aging British rocker retired here in Houston, the last place he’d move to would be a nondescript, black glass, 15-story building on the city’s busiest corner, right? Wrong. Hotel Derek, which was conceived as the home of an imaginary Jaggaresque persona and Houston’s first SoHo-style chic hotel, opens in early October. The hotel stands at Westheimer and 610 West Loop South, across from Houston’s most trafficked mall, the Galleria.
“The concept is of a private house of an eccentric rocker,” said general manager David Hill, who, with his bald pate and chic black garb, easily could fit into the rock ‘n’ roller’s entourage.
“This is the first hotel of this kind in Houston — and Houston is a really international city with the money and sophistication to appreciate it. “This was the perfect location, because the Galleria is not going anywhere, and this site offers the elements that made our Hotel George (in Washington, D.C.) a success — it’s a very ordinary building with a very special interior.”
Fittingly, interior designer Dayna Lee is fluent in both rocker and super-Mod styles. She’s a Los Angeles stage designer and owner of Powerstrip. Lee already has styled music videos for Sting and the interiors of the W Hotel in New Orleans. “Everything for her is visual, like a stage set,” Hill said. “She thinks outside the norm.”
For Hotel Derek, Lee channeled the sparely hip aesthetic of Philippe Starck or Ian Schrager.
“The rooms are lean and urban, like a city loft,” Hill said. Frette bed linens and 100 percent goose-down pinstriped duvets top the platform bed; a brown mohair velvet banquette runs along a ceiling-to-floor glass wall.
The hotel’s new $14.5 million look also sports an appropriately puckish sense of style. In the lobby, traditional English wingback chairs in furry white mix it up with Mies van der Rohe chaises in palamino fur, and cowhide rugs atop a shiny black granite floor. In keeping with Houston’s steamy weather, the fireplace is a flat-screen TV showing a fire video.
Perks abound at the Hotel Derek. Pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream are available 24/7 to satisfy late-night cravings. A black stretch GMV Yukon, known as the Derekmobile, ferries guests to the neighboring mall, boutiques and clubs. Also available are high-speed Internet access, a 24-hour fitness center and in-house spa services.
The hotel’s SoHo sensibility extends to Javier & Ling, an Asian-Cuban restaurant to open next month, featuring such dishes as plantain and black bean soup, sesame noodle and Napa cabbage salad, orange blossom beef, and coconut lobster with orange rum sauce. The restaurant and hotel’s joint “Ally McBeal”-style bathrooms are unisex, the first in the city. Rates start at $245. Hotel Derek, 2525 West Loop South; 713-961-3000;