Design Matters: Polishing the Pearl at the Sam Houston Hotel


H3D Hospitality Design, under the leadership of principal Candice Schiller, has completed an extensive rebrand, redesign, and re-launch of the restaurant and bar space at the Sam Houston Hotel under the collective name the Pearl Restaurant & Bar. Houston-based H3D implemented a comprehensive campaign for the Pearl, designing all elements of the new space and cultivating what it calls “a timeless original logo” for the brand that is featured prominently throughout the restaurant and bar.

H3D’s Candice Schiller, an accomplished restaurateur and multi-award winning interior designer, whose work has included Cafe Annie and the Grove in Houston and R Bar & Grill at the Hilton Arlington Hotel in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, collaborated with architect Craig Schuster of Schuster Inc., who was the lead designer for iconic restaurant concepts in the Pappas family for over 20 years. They took the space down to the studs and replaced it with a warm and contemporary aesthetic.

The Pearl’s newly renovated dining and bar spaces offer an “urban coastal oasis” to hotel guests and visitors. With vintage brass light fixtures and accents, caramel-colored leather Chesterfield sofas, black leather chairs, zinc and brass tables, cement tile insets, and plantation shutters, the Pearl offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Houston, in a relaxed, sophisticated setting.

The  interior is made all the more stylish with brick and live-edged cedar walls, chairs covered in Buckskin-colored upholstery along with caramel-colored woven chairs and banquettes covered in black and cream Ikat fabric–a subtle nod to Sam Houston’s own Cherokee lineage. With its vaulted ceilings made of pressed tin, vintage brass lamps, and antique mirrors soaring above a steel-and-glass wine room visible from the hotel’s contemporary lobby, the Pearl is primed for power breakfasts, lunch meetings, and after-work gatherings.

Bartenders at the Pearl Bar work in front of a black wooden wall and serve craft cocktails on a Calacatta bar top with a heavy zinc edge. Two prominent oyster chandeliers give the space a welcoming visual element and a fitting focal point inside the bar space for all who pass through the Sam Houston Hotel’s doors.

In the kitchen, Executive Chef Chris Loftis joins the Pearl after a successful stint as chef de cuisine at Killen’s Steakhouse, where he trained under the leadership of acclaimed Houston’s Ronnie Killen. As executive chef at the Pearl, Loftis has cultivated a balanced menu with savory appetizers and salads, entrees including classic shrimp and grits, grouper with lentils and
curried corn, scallop carbonara, and short rib braised in Dr. Pepper.