Ahmed Kamal and his brother, Basit Kamal, opened the Aloft Houston Katy hotel at 25330 Kinglsand Boulevard in late November. The 105-room hotel brings with it options for banquet and conference space which will be located near the upcoming Katy Boardwalk Project. Ahmed said the Boardwalk was just one thing that drew the brothers to develop the hotel in Katy.
“Our families – our extended families – they have been living in Katy. Growing up if we wanted to open a business, we wanted to cater to Katy,” Basit said.
Katy’s Aloft location has one big difference from other Aloft hotels, Basit said. When the brothers first began talking to city officials a few years ago, former Mayor Chuck Brawner had asked them what was special about the hotel that would be an advantage to residents. Rather than answer directly, the brothers asked him what he would like to see. Brawner told them the city needed more mid-size conference facilities, Basit said.
Brawner said he had told the brothers the city needed conference space that could hold 30 or 40 people. He’d told the brothers at the time that the city was losing revenue to hotels on I-10 that were located closer to Houston because nearby facilities were either large conference centers like the Leonard Merrell Center or were small facilities that were designed for only a couple dozen people at most.
“One of the things that I requested was that they have a large conference room that could handle 50 to 75 people – 100 at most,” Brawner said. “I think that’s going to be a benefit for not only the hotel but also for Katy. They’re going to get in there and produce revenue and jobs for the city of Katy.”
The hotel is considered a boutique hotel, which meant that the Kamal brothers had to have plans for the hotel that set a high standard. Rooms feature amenities like Marshall boomboxes, defogging mirrors, clothing steamers and other creature comforts in every room, Ahmed said. Mattresses and toiletries are higher-grade than non-boutique locations as well, Basit said. A full-service 700-square-foot gym is also available for guests to use.
“We felt there was a need of bringing an upscale, trendy hotel. We felt [the area] was serving just one kind of crowd,” Basit said. “That’s the reason why we wanted to bring this here.”
The hotel also features the WXYZ lounge where the brothers hope to host live entertainment on a regular basis to attract locals to come hang out and have a drink with friends while enjoying music. The lounge includes a full-service bar.
“We want to Just keep the entertainment rolling,” Ahmed said. “I never want this lobby to become boring.”
WXYZ has already hosted a live, local DJ and a few live music performances, the brothers said. Future events will be promoted through Facebook and other avenues, Ahmed said. The entertainment venue also has a pool table and a full bar so people can visit and relax. Ahmed and Basit hope that locals see the venue’s lobby as a place to come and relax.
“We have been open only eight days [as of Nov. 24] and we’ve gotten a lot of of inquiries about different events that we’re going to have here,” Basit said. “Girlfriends and wives have been dropping their boyfriends and husbands off to wait here while they shop.”