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Houston's Hotel ICON Debut's VOICE Restaurant

Restaurant And Lounge Under Direction Of New Executive Chef Michael Kramer

Tuesday, March 04, 2008
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Houston’s Hotel ICON (www.hotelicon.com), a popular fixture on numerous “best of” lists, is on the cusp of adding a high profile notch to its boutique belt in the form of VOICE Restaurant and Lounge. VOICE’S culinary concept is positioned to capture the imagination and taste buds while paying homage to the true spirit of the historic 1911 Union National Bank building and burgeoning downtown neighborhood that it will soon call home.

Under the direction of its new steward, Destination Hotels & Resorts, the landmark, neo-classical property, which first debuted as Hotel ICON in 2004, is currently undergoing a $4-million transformation to create a fitting home for VOICE and a delicious backdrop for its regionally inspired Modern American cuisine. Accentuated by two rows of Doric columns soaring nearly 30 feet, the venue — which was formerly occupied by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s BANK – will formally debut April 5, 2008. Denver-based Johnson David Interiors is overseeing the redesign.

Executive Chef Michael Kramer, who led McCrady’s Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina to national acclaim after cutting his teeth under legendary chefs Roland Passot, Wolfgang Puck and Dean Fearing, brings boundless energy and out-of-the-box creativity to the table. Kramer intends to give VOICE a uniquely Houston-centric inflection with the goal of initiating culinary trends rather than following the lead of the east and west coasts. Using a combination of fresh, local flavors, innovative techniques and cutting-edge presentation, Kramer will look no further than Houston’s own backyard, including South Texas, the Gulf Coast and neighborhood farmer’s markets, to source premium game, seafood and produce.

VOICE, located just blocks from the very spot in which Houston was founded by the Allen Brothers in 1836, will exude an authentic sense of place. The magnificent plaster and iron work, nearly impossible to recreate today, is being brought to the forefront of the design, capitalizing on the beauty of antiquity while adding contemporary elements through furniture, textiles and lighting. It’s the juxtaposition between old and new that will create the core energy of VOICE.

With walls painted in warm hues of amber, crimson and taupe with accents of black and bronze, the color scheme is intended to bring the outside in with reflective qualities that will amplify and diffuse light throughout the day and night. The ceiling will take cues from historic palettes: light blue on the tray, cascading into a soft sage edge, white trim and metallic gold moldings. The columns will revert to their original state of marble white.
The 360-degree walnut bar will boast alabaster, bronze and Calcutta marble elements along with wide-planked walnut flooring and black and white cowhide-backed bar stools. The lounge, on the other hand, will have more of a contemporary edge with seating areas made up of settees and pods.

Adjacent to the lounge, the 92-seat dining room will be warm but sleek and uncluttered with high-backed taupe and gray chairs that speak to the volume of the space. Intimate private areas will feature amber, taupe and black striped fabric booth backs plus chairs upholstered in rich grey leather.

VOICE will also offer two private dining room options: an intimate section in the rear corner of the main dining room as well as the elegant Wine Vault downstairs just off the kitchen that can seat up to 30 with high-tech exhibition windows.

When VOICE opens in April as a place where people can “sip, savor, and socialize,” downtown Houston will once again have a seminal gathering place serving as a living reminder of its colorful history and icon of the cosmopolitan, international center the city has become. For more information on Hotel ICON and/or VOICE Restaurant and Lounge, please call 713-224-ICON (4266) or log onto www.hotelicon.com.

ABOUT DESTINATION HOTELS & RESORTS
Hotel ICON is one of more than 30 independent, upscale and luxury hotels, resorts and golf clubs in the United States managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, the fifth largest independent hospitality management company in the country. The company, headquartered in suburban Denver, Colorado, features a portfolio of more than 7,000 guest rooms, 10 golf courses and 12 full-service spas. Destination Hotels & Resorts properties are located in key metropolitan and resort markets including Washington, D.C., Houston, Denver, San Diego, Santa Fe, Aspen, Austin, Phoenix, Portland, Palm Springs, Maui and Lake Tahoe. For more information on the properties in the Destination Hotels & Resorts collection, please visit www.destinationhotels.com.
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