Postcards From: Texas

Posted by Zoe Shapiro, August 13, 2015
Texas

First Stop: Hotel San Jose

On the main drag South Congress sits the updated bungalow boutique. With an indoor/outdoor lobby, small pool and a bar boasting a great beer + wine list, it was clear that the area was filled by locals and visitors alike. But perhaps most striking and in contrast to the cool, concrete rooms is just how green Hotel San Jose is! Outdoor hallways and tunnels are composed almost completely of plant life (which got a healthy dose of rain while I was there!) making them an amazing escape from the dry Austin heat. The style was simple and chic and the hotel's ties to SXSW + a history of Austin's live music is clearly evident in the historic framed concert posters. Don’t skip breakfast; the coffee shop on the property, Jo’s, is a local classic whether delivered to your room or bought in person (go with this option; a $3.25 breakfast/migas taco is hearty!).

Texas

Photo courtesy of Hotel San Jose

Texas

Photo courtesy of Hotel San Jose

Texas

What I Saw: Live music. Across the road from Hotel San Jose is the iconic live music stage at the Continental Club on South Congress, which boasted classic country, while a venture to the east side will find you rockabilly at the White Horse.

What I Ate: A fair amount! Austin is an amazing town from the inexpensive and delicious (don’t bother waiting in line at Franklin’s, try the barbecue at the Micklethwaite food truck) to the elegant and refined (Uchi Sushi. Despite my protestation that I didn’t come to Texas for the Japanese cuisine, by the time the 4th person recommended Uchi to me, I decided to give it a shot. It was well worth it.) Don’t skip the Elizabeth Street Cafe, a French/Vietnamese boulangerie specializing in breakfast.

What I Bought: Used in room at Hotel San Jose, I couldn’t resist the most attractive extension cord I’d ever seen. Also available at beautiful downtown boutique Spartan.

Texas
Texas

Second Stop: El Cosmico

More like a boutique campground than a boutique hotel, the six and a half hour drive from Austin takes you to El Cosmico and the arty enclave of Marfa, Texas, near the Mexican border. On the property, you can select from one of the unique refurbished airstream trailers, teepee, safari tent or you can DIY and pitch your own sleeping arrangements. Rustic and relaxed (and providing lots of instagram fuel) El Cosmico is an amazing spot to view such a unique town. With their mantra of ‘Follow me to El Cosmico’, you’ll want to do just that. In fact, they just confirmed headliner Jenny Lewis for their September Trans Pecos music festival, if you’re looking for yet another excuse to take in Marfa.

Texas

What I Saw: Since artist and architect Donald Judd decamped from New York in the late 80s, Marfa has hosted many transplanted artists of all mediums. Don’t miss local galleries like the Ballroom Marfa and Marfa Contemporary (you won’t miss the refurbished gas station with the vertical car out front), Judd’s Chinati Foundation or the 40 mile drive north of Marfa to see the “Prada Marfa” in the middle of nowhere. Local store and gallery Wrong Marfa (housed in an old church) was hosting an exhibit of Butch Anthony’s work while I was in town.

What I Ate: For a town without a traffic light, your options are plentiful. Look out for the cutest coffee shop in West Texas called ‘Do Your Thing’, in a galvanized shed behind the lumberyard, making homemade toast 5 days a week. Or practice your español (or bring a translator!) at Marfa Burrito.

What I Bought: From the El Cosmico shop (good for camping essentials, souvenirs and luxe purchases), a bar of soap, handmade locally and branded impeccably. Texas cedarwood, lavender calendula petals and poppy seeds.

Texas
Texas
Texas

Third Stop: Hotel Saint Cecilia

Before my flight out of Austin, I got to spend a night at the stunning Saint Cecilia property. Each room is completely different; mine boasted a porch, record player, incense, blue velvet headboard, framed shots of the Beatles and a piano, clearly paying homage to Austin’s reputation as a city of music. Set back from South Congress Avenue over a grassy estate, the dark teal lobby and bar seem as relaxed but very removed from Austin’s vibe. The highlight is the small pool with its iconic neon sign. Clearly signifying what the city and Hotel Saint Cecilia is all about.

Texas

Photo courtesy of Hotel Saint Cecilia

Texas

Photo courtesy of Hotel Saint Cecilia

Texas

Posted in: Hotel + Travel