Miss Ima Hogg's Bayou Bend home never looked more delicious than at The Houstonian.
The Houstonian pastry chef Catherine Rodriguezat work on her gingerbread creations.
The Manor House at The Houstonian reimagined in gingerbread.
The Albert Fay House, now the Fay School, in The Houstonian 'Merry Mansions' display.
A detail of Albert Fay house in its gingerbread and candy reincarnation.
Santa rides his sleigh through The Houstonian's holiday wonderland.
The Houstonian Great Room Lobby is awash in holiday spirit.
Pastry chef Catherine Rodriguez and her nine pastry cooks worked for a month on the display at The Houstonian.
The Houstonian pastry team begins assembling the elaborate gingerbread display.
Bayou Bend holds center stage in the 'Merry Mansions' gingerbread display at The Houstonian.
Renowned 20th century architect John Staub designed some of the city’s grandest homes including the beloved Bayou Bend, which this holiday season has been reimagined amid a delightful gingerbread village comprised of several of the genius’ iconic dwellings.
The Houstonian Hotel unveiled its “Merry Mansions” gingerbread display the day after Thanksgiving and is planning a daily round of parties and a “Merry Mansions Bus Tour,” through the New Year, to compliment the jolly historic confection.
The hotel’s traditional gingerbread village display, which was inaugurated more than two decades ago and has entertained families every holiday since, was inadvertently destroyed (not by Harvey) in its off-site storage area earlier this year. So instead of recreating the old, Houstonian GM Steve Fronterhouse suggested creating something new.
“We tried to come up with a bigger and better way and we have a Staub house here (the Manor House) and we’re very fond of that so we came up with this idea,” he tells PaperCity.
Wrapped around the grand stone fireplace in the Houstonian’s Great Room Lobby, Bayou Bend is the centerpiece of the display that includes the Albert Fay House (now the Fay School) and the Ernest Fay House, known today as the Houstonian’s Manor House.
“We want people to remember the rich and fascinating history in this area of Houston,” Fronterhouse says.
Houstonian pastry chef Catherine Rodriguez was game for the new display, notwithstanding the challenge created when Hurricane Harvey destroyed her pastry kitchen. The chef and her team of nine pastry cooks have been working diligently for the last month perfecting every detail of the houses which were built to scale. In the process, Rodriguez estimates, they used more than 50 pounds of peppermints, candy canes, gum drops and other candies; several hundred pounds of icing; and several hundred pounds of gingerbread.
As would be expected of a holiday gingerbread village, there are trees, green grass, snow and the electric train that courses through the holiday landscape.
Throughout the season, the Great Room Lobby will feature specialty cocktails, light bites and holiday entertainment ranging from full blown choirs to soloists. And don’t forget the crackling fire on the picturesque hearth.
Adding to the experience is the “Merry Mansions Bus Tour,” conducted by Mister McKinney’s Historic Houston. The open-air, afternoon bus tours, departing from The Houstonian, include visits to Bayou Bend and ride-bys of other historic homes in River Oaks.
Tickets for the bus tours and information on holiday hotel packages, Christmas brunches and more can be found here.