With its retro, Americana vibe, the Lone Star Court – a boutique hotel in Austin – feels like you’re checking into an upscale roadside establishment from years gone by, yet it’s modern and new(ish).
Its 123 rooms are situated around a tree-lined pool and courtyard spanning four acres, so we loved that it felt like you’re in the country even though it’s so close to the city. Orange rocking chairs (an homage to the University of Texas, no doubt) and aqua-colored doors are the only bright colors; the woodsy, industrial vibe is strong at Lone Star Court, as if you’ve stumbled upon an urban dude ranch.
Even though birds may chirp all day at the hotel, the resort isn’t rural; it’s adjacent to The Domain, a lively live-work-play development with more than 100 restaurants, stores and music venues (it is Austin, after all).
Fancy names such as Chanel, Neiman-Marcus and Louis Vuitton are tucked in the neighborhood along with parks, the Museum of Ice Cream and restaurants both upscale and family-friendly.
My favorite amenity at Lone Star Court is a complimentary bike for guests (first come, first serve) for exploring the area as The Domain is too big to explore by foot but just right on a bicycle.
Other amenities at the hotel get a thumbs up, as well. Guests have a choice of locally canned water or a Lone Star beer at check-in, and a tall Smeg refrigerator in the room has plenty of room to store snacks and drinks. The mini-bar is fun, too, with locally made salsa, beef jerky and artisan chocolates.
Everything is easy to find at Lone Star Court. The dipping pool is tucked in to the Texas-style landscaping (think shade trees, succulents and rocks), with cornhole, fire pits and other attractions easily dotted around the property.
When it’s time for happy hour (or “yappy hour,” as they call it, since the hotel is a dog-friendly place), the Water Trough with its rustic décor is right by the pool. The restaurant/bar is open for breakfast – don’t miss the breakfast tacos, by the way – and dinner, starting with happy hour specials at 5 pm.
Barbecue and burgers are the cuisine here, with outdoor seating and live music on weekends as part of the fun. The Hill Country Cooler cocktail is highly recommended; it combines locally made Deep Eddy grapefruit vodka with elderflower liqueur and lime juice. Margaritas can be jazzed up with fruit or served spicy as a live-on-the-edge touch, and of course there’s a big selection of local brews. Two food trucks are parked just outside the hotel gates as another close-by option.
When it’s time to retire to the room, bathrobes, leather chairs, barn doors and other nice touches elevate the experience to glamping, as the hotel likes to call it. You can sit by a fire already made with s’mores available through the front desk, but then sleep in comfort – that’s the idea of glamorous camping.
There’s a lot to explore in Austin, but it sure is nice having a quiet, lush oasis to return home to at the end of the day.
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– Lisa Mowry