In recent years, Austin, Texas, has been one of the country’s most vibrant and fastest-growing cities. As a result, new hotels have mushroomed. Most have been aimed at millennials, 30-somethings who are in town for business chiefly in the high-tech and entertainment sectors of the local economy. The bedrooms tend to be small, the restaurants noisy, and the staff, often students at the University of Texas, well-meaning but disorganized. A property has now opened that looks set to transform the upper echelons of the Austin hotel scene.
Commodore Perry Estate is the first urban retreat from the Auberge Resorts group. Set amid 10 acres of grounds in the Hancock neighborhood just under 3 miles north of the Texas Capitol, it is centered on a Renaissance Revival mansion — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — that was built in 1928 for wealthy businessman Edgar Perry. In 1944, Perry sold the house, as it was, in his opinion, “a great place to throw a party, but too big to live in.” Now, several incarnations later, it has been reinvented by the highly regarded New York-based designer Ken Fulk. Fifty-four rooms and suites are divided between the original mansion and a new three-story inn.
Lutie’s garden restaurant (scheduled to open this fall) is under the control of husband-and-wife chef team Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu and will offer “Texas heritage cuisine,” while on Sundays, gourmet picnic baskets will be available for lunches outside on the property’s spreading lawns. At last, it seems that Austin will have a grand and distinctive property that meets the highest contemporary standards.