NFB23 Navigating the Hotel

It is often helpful when writing a description of convention hotel floor plans to use an analogy to assist with the layout. This year, I want you to really stretch your imagination, to think creatively and picture a… rectangle. Yes, that’s it. Imagine a rectangle, and you've got the basic layout of the Hilton Americas nailed down. The three meeting-room rectangles sit atop the lobby rectangle and the sleeping-room rectangles are above the meeting-room rectangles.

While downtown Houston and the central business districts are laid out in a grid, that grid is set at roughly a forty-five-degree angle to cardinal directions. Rather than using northeast and southwest, I’ll refer to the front and the back of the hotel, those being the longer walls. The left and right ends of the hotel are the shorter sides of our rectangle.

Though the Hilton’s address is technically 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, you will likely arrive at the hotel’s front doors on Dallas Street, in the center of the long side of the rectangle. Taxi cabs and rideshare services will arrive at this valet entrance. For those interested, you are facing southwest as you walk through the Hilton's main entrance.

Entering into the hotel, you will find yourself in a large rotunda lobby. For our purposes, we will consider this the center of the hotel. If you turn left, you are heading in the direction of the George R. Brown Convention Center. If you turn to the right, you are facing toward the far end of the hotel, Pappasito’s Cantina. On the far side of the rotunda, up a couple steps, is the Lobby Bar, opening at 4:00 p.m. for light meals and drinks.

Let’s begin our exploration of the hotel by turning left from the rotunda. As you walk through the hotel's large lobby, there is a long registration desk to your right. On the left is first the bell stand and then a large, carpeted seating area. At the far end of the lobby are three banks of three elevators each. All elevators serve the three levels of meeting rooms and two banks also serve sleeping rooms up to the fifteenth floor. To the left, along the front wall of the hotel, is a Starbucks with seating. Beyond the Starbucks are exterior doors that open onto the corner of Dallas Street and the Avenida De Las Americas. Off to the right of the elevators, in the back-left corner of our rectangle is the Avenida Houston Shop (for souvenirs and questions about the area) and exit doors to the bus and coach lanes. For guide dog owners, this is important as the relief area is out these doors and to the right.

Now let's head back to the hotel's rotunda. This time, we will turn to the right. Along the exterior wall are a number of seating clusters. To the left is the 1600 Bar + Grille, open for breakfast and lunch beginning at 6:30 a.m. At the far right end of our rectangle is Pappasito's Cantina where you'll find TexMex lunch and dinner. To the left of Pappasito's entrance is another set of six elevators that serve the three levels of meeting rooms and sleeping rooms up to the twenty-second floor. These elevators also serve the health club, the hotel's spa, and the R24 Lounge. To the right of the Pappasito's entrance is a sweeping spiral staircase that goes to all three meeting levels.

Levels two, three, and four contain our meeting space. All three levels have similar U-shaped hallways—a very wide pre-function area along the floor-to-ceiling glass front wall of the hotel and a front-to-back hallway on both the left and the right ends of the hotel. At both ends of the pre-function area are escalators serving all three levels of meeting space, in addition to the elevators providing the same service.

Level two contains only the Ballroom of the Americas. The exhibit hall and Independence Market will be in the ballroom. There are restrooms at the right end of the rectangle near the elevators and at the left end along the front-to-back hallway. In the front-left corner of the second floor is a fully enclosed sky bridge that connects the Hilton to the convention center across Avenida De Las Americas. And in the front-right corner is the spiral staircase.

Level three is host to the majority of our breakout sessions. Room numbers increase from 326 in the back right of our rectangle, increasing around our U-shaped meeting space to 346 in the back-left corner. Note that on this floor, there are actually three front-to-back hallways on the right side of our U. Restrooms are near the elevators on both ends of this level with entrances along the pre-function area, the bottom of the U. And again, there is a sky bridge to the convention center and the spiral staircase, in the left- and right-front corners respectively.

Finally, on level four is the Lanier Grand Ballroom. Some of our larger breakouts will take place on level four as will our general sessions and the banquet. There are restrooms on both uprights of our U. In the front-right corner is the top step of the spiral staircase and meeting room 430. On Saturday, July 1, registration will be in the pre-function area on this level but will move to the front-right corner of our rectangle where attendees will find the registration desk.

Additional Navigation Notes:

Discovery Green, directly across Dallas Street from the Hilton, is a twelve-acre park with dining options, a children's playground, a dog run, Kinder Lake, and many other attractions. Attendees should cross Dallas Street at the intersections at either end of the Hilton—there is a decorative iron fence running down the center of the Dallas Street median.

Those traveling to or from the Marriott Marquis may take the level-two sky bridge to the convention center and turn left. The convention center offers an air-conditioned, straight-line route to the Marriott, connected by a similar sky bridge at the opposite end of the convention center.