Two Houston women turn their visions of an urban bed & breakfast into reality
Top executives with major Fortune 500 companies, Genora Boykins and Sharon Owens, combine planning and faith to make their vision come true.
A little more than a year and a half of opening the doors to La Maison in Midtown, an urban bed & breakfast located near downtown Houston, co-owners Genora Boykins and Sharon Owens continue to build on a dream of providing travelers and locals with a first-class hospitality venue with a homey feel and a mix of style and class.
Located at 2800 Brazos Street in Houston, Texas, the three-story bed and breakfast was “a long time in the making,’ according to the owners.
The seed of their vision was planted more than a decade earlier, when the corporate executives were busy solidifying successful careers in the energy and natural gas industries—Boykins as an attorney for Reliant Energy and Owens as president of community affairs at Centerpoint Energy.
“We are both successful at our professions, but we needed something to do when we retired. For both of us, it was the thought of ‘what are we going to do later.’
“We both love to entertain and cook and it was a natural progression of what we both had experience in,” says Boykins.
After beginning their research, the pair took a step of faith and purchased a tract of land in Midtown in 1999. They then began the groundwork of educating themselves on the bed and breakfast industry, gathering facts on the surrounding amenities in the community, selecting a design that would generate sufficient revenue and hiring an architect to bring their vision to life.
Since the doors of their bed and breakfast opened, Boykins and Owens both remain committed to their professional careers, but are intimately involved in all facets of the bed and breakfast’s operation.
Guests to the seven room bed and breakfast are offered similar amenities found in five-star hotels, including private spa bath, Jacuzzi tubs, plush bathrobes, premium-quality bedding, 32-inch flats screen TVs, with built-in DVD players in each room and wireless Internet access.
Both women envisioned an establishment that would incorporate the accommodations and standards of excellence that they value as business travelers.
“Most people when they think of beds and breakfast think of an older mansion that has been restored with lots of trinkets. We offer a more urban, contemporary feel.
“We want to provide a nice place to stay, but still with a comfortable feel to it, so they feel that they are staying in an upscale place,” says Boykins.
In their initial year of operation they have attracted patrons from cities across the U.S. to places as far away as France and Sweden.
The contemporary bed and breakfast provides temporary living quarters for a range of clients, according to Boykins.
“We have had families come for a graduation and rent the entire bed and breakfast out to people right in the area who just want a quick weekend getaway. It runs the gamut,” says Owens.
The Privacy Suite– one of two suites available in the establishment– has become popular for honeymooners and couples and anyone looking for an intimate getaway.
The bed and breakfast also offers a variety of breakfast cuisine to satisfy the taste buds of a broad range of patrons.
“We offer good southern comfort foods from grits and sausage, wings and sweet potato waffles to oatmeal, cranberry French toast and omelettes.
“ We usually have enough on the menu for the day that will cover the tastes of everybody,” says Boykins.
Boykins and Owens seek to cater to seasoned bed and breakfast patrons as well as introduce individuals who are new to the industry.
Their mutual goal is to provide a relaxing setting for guests to unwind.
“We have had a lot of people to say it feels like their home away from home and we get great reviews.
“I always want people to feel that we provide great value for their money,” says Boykins.
Although their vision of a contemporary bed and breakfast was over a decade in the making, both are happy with the page in life they are on.
“In order to be successful there has to be passion. I think sometimes some people start businesses to make money. Of course, we want a return on our investment, but we very much enjoy what we do, says Boykins.
Owens shares her business partners sentiments, adding.
“I would just say a dream delayed is not a dream denied,” says Owens.
An Escape to the City