22 November 2009

Zenful Austin

 

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Last weekend we went to Austin to visit St. Edward’s University – we are currently looking at colleges for the famous blogger This Card is Maxed Out (who also happens to be my daughter.)    St. Edward’s small campus, sheltered by centuries old Live Oaks,  was a visual surprise – the main building is quite impressive and as it is located on one of the highest points in Austin,  the view is breathtaking.  

 

 

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Of course the main building was clad in native Texas limestone – what building in Austin isn’t?

 

 

 

Austin09 009The winding double staircase was visual treat. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why don’t we still build buildings like this?

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Downtown Austin

 

Coming out of the main building, the view of downtown is amazing.  One of Austin’s main attraction, The University of Texas, is down there – past all the tall buildings.   Ben and I both went to UT – and of course we had hoped our daughter would continue the tradition.  But, several years ago – the admission rules for Texas state universities was changed to better serve minorities:  the infamous 10% rule.  The university automatically accepts any Texan who graduates in the upper 10% of their class – regardless of how easy or how hard their school’s curriculum was.   The popular UT quickly fills its incoming freshman class with 90% of top ten students. The remaining 10 percent comes from the top 25 of their class – that is, if they get lucky, play a sport, an instrument, or have some exceptional artistic ability.   At smaller state schools, the competition to get admitted isn’t nearly as tough  – but UT is the crown and everyone wants to be king.    St. Edward’s has greatly benefitted from this 10% rule.   Once a small Catholic university, it is now filled with students who want to be in Austin but can’t get into UT.    And so, here we find ourselves, seriously looking at a college that is unknown to us.   It’s a good school, we want to make it work – it’s close to Houston, it’s not terribly expensive, it’s not that hard to get into.   Will it be a match for a girl who waltzes into their Orientation Weekend looking like she just came from a photoshoot for Vogue magazine?

 

 

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You get the idea.

 

 

 

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After dropping off our fashion plate for the night at St. Edward’s, Ben and I headed to the trendy Hotel San Jose for the night.   Usually we treat ourselves to a rare night out of town at the Austin Four Seasons.   But, it’s a splurge we know we should avoid.   We do sometimes try to get reservations at the less expensive Hotel San Jose, but that is almost an impossibility – they stay pretty much booked up year round.    We got lucky this trip – they actually had several vacancies and we even got to chose the type of room we wanted.   Hotel San Jose opened in 1939 to great fanfare, but eventually became a run down haven for drug addicts and prostitutes (that popular duo.)   Located on South Congress before it became known as SoCo,  lawyer Liz Lambert bought the motel in 1995 on a  hunch that the area was ripe for a major revitalization.  She continued to run the derelict motel as it was for a few years while she finalized her plans for the major renovation and got the financing together.  David Lake of Lake/Flato the renowned architectural firm from San Antonio, was the architect.   The buzz was huge – anything Lake/Flato is associated with is first class.  By the time the new San Jose opened, SoCo had become a Mecca for shopping – its once empty boarded up buildings that lined the street were now home to the hippest shops, vintage and decor stores,  coffee houses – anything that would attract the coolest of Austin.   SoCo today is a major destination and a great place to spend an afternoon, going in and out of all the shops while listening to the music escaping from the eateries.  It is also great people watching.    Luckily, Hotel San Jose is right in the middle of  SoCo – and that is part of its great appeal, especially when your daughter is a major shopper.    BTW – she lasted about four hours at St. Edward’s before we got the phone call to come pick her up.   I wasn’t surprised when she announced that she thought she would fit in better at a larger school.

 

 

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Once you enter the gates of the San Jose, the bustling shops seem miles away.   The San Jose is a true oasis with all its towering trees, gravel paths, and lush landscaping.  

 

 

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The courtyards are one of the more wonderful things about the San Jose.

 

 

Austin09 049 The lobby is very simply decorated – as are the rooms.  You can rent vintage typewriters to “write that novel you’ve always dreamed about.”   You can borrow CDs and movies from their extensive library filled with obscure titles.   Bikes are for rent as are Polaroid cameras.  Their wine list is personally created by Lambert – you won’t find any chardonnay here – it’s not hip enough.

 

 

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Mr. Slipper Socks Man checks in – a process that takes ages.   I finally go in to see what is taking so long and find him engrossed in telling the clerk his sob story about leaving his daughter at St. Edward’s for the night.   Typical.  He has never met a stranger.

 

 

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The motel originally had two wings with a large parking lot in the middle.  Today, there is a two story building along with an open air bar and swimming pool where the parking lot once was.    At night, this bar is hopping.   Great music loudly plays 24/7.   If you want absolute peace and quiet, the San Jose is probably not for you. 

 

 

Austin09 025 The swimming pool is hidden behind a fence of bamboo. 

 

 

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The gravel paths that surround the building are very lushly landscaped  – it gets hot on SoCo in the summer, so the shade is much welcomed.   The landscaping is mainly green – there are no bright flowers or colors here that stand out. 

 

 

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Hotel San Jose has different types of rooms – from a few that share a bathroom to large suites.  We settled for a junior suite that is located in an original part of the motel.   Sharing a bathroom with strangers isn’t our type of thing!   I wonder who really books those rooms?

 

 

 

 

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We had Room 14 – when you enter there is a day bed with Indienne fabric pillows and a cow hide rug.  The floors are concrete, which Ben didn’t really appreciate.  The snack bar on the side table was filled with unusual eats.

 

 

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There was a long desk with an original poster from the famous Continental Club which is located right across the street on SoCo.

 

 

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The bed had more Indiennes fabrics – don’t ask me if it was comfortable.  Elisabeth took my space on it and I was left to bunk on the daybed!

 

 

 

 

 

Austin09 073 There was a new flat screen TV with FOOTBALL on!  What a surprise!  The bathroom was behind a large sliding chartreuse colored door.  The Havaianas are for sale – I couldn’t resist!

 

 

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Each bathroom has a poem tacked to the wall by the sink along with a supply of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap .  Check out Mr. Slipper Socks Man’s foot.  He’s exciting, I know.

 

 

The only room service is breakfast which comes in really hip (I know, I know – you could die from the hipness!) Japanese bento boxes.   We had to order in dinner from a nearby restaurant.   That was when Ben announced this was the last time he would stay here.  He really enjoys his room service!

 

 

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Ready to hit the shops on SoCo before we head home.  Mr. Slipper Socks Man is all decked out in his UT finery, his burnt orange shirt, his UT hat, and his beard!  Yes, he is NOT shaving until UT loses a football game (they won again tonight.)   UT has not lost a game this year – so he’s looking a little like a grizzly bear right now.    Did I tell you he was a football fan??  After I took this picture he walked around the San Jose’s courtyards and decided that he actually really did like it here despite the concrete floors and no room service policy!  I’m sure Lambert will be pleased to hear this.

 

 

 On the opposite side of the property, there are large, airy courtyards outside the rooms.

 

 

 

All the rooms are slightly different.  

(Room pictures from Flickr.)

 

 

I would have loved to have this room with it’s vintage poster of Bob!   Wow. 

 

 

 

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Or, this room would be nice with a poster of the late, great John Lennon.  I love the way the rooms are decorated!

 

 

image Some of the furniture, like the bed platforms,  are handmade.  All rooms have at least one piece of classic mid century design likes an Eames chair.   Notice the daybeds and chairs are covered in washable white denim.   Johnny Cash is pictured here. 

 

 

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The single rooms with a shared bath have red painted floors instead of concrete.  Despite the simple wooden bed frames, linens are of the highest quality – Frette, and the pillows are soft down. 

 

 

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This bathroom was styled for a photoshoot in the late Home magazine. I love the bright colors against the gray concrete and white walls. 

 

 

 

 

 

This photograph gives you a good view of the new building built in the former parking lot between the two motel wings.  The largest suites are located here.

 

 

 

The front facade now, and……

 

image Then.   The hotel is remarkably the same.  On the left is the wing where the larger courtyards are.  The right wing with the enclosed gravel courtyard is not pictured here.   The buildings were all painted a unifying gray.   Out front, fences were erected stretching from the main building to the wings to the enclose the property.   The driveways became the courtyards.   The large new two story building was erected behind this main one – the bar and pool are between the two. 

 

 

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The shopping fun begins when you leave the San Jose.  Turn left and you head right to Jo’s, a popular coffee shop that is also owned by Liz Lambert.  At the end of this street, about two miles to the left,  is the Capitol of Texas building.  South Congress  or SoCo was once the main thoroughfare of Austin – until the freeways were built and the street practically died.    All its buildings and storefronts were left empty for decades until the revitalization of SoCo – about ten years ago. 

 

 

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Turn to the right and there is store after store after store of wonderfully diverse merchandise. 

 

 

 

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Who IS Liz Lambert - the stylish  brains behind the Hotel San Jose?    A self described Hippie, her roots in Texas run deep - she hails from one of Stephen F. Austin’s original 300 families – and she grew up in the legendary oil rich town of Odessa.   Starting adulthood as an attorney, the San Jose changed her life allowing her the creative outlet she was starved for while practicing law.  Today, the corporate world she runs in is decidedly of her own making.  Bunkhouse Management – started by Lambert and her partners, was created as a vehicle to sell their hotel expertise to others in the business.   Besides Bunkhouse, Lambert is busy with other endeavors.   After the San Jose, she opened Jo’s, a coffee shop next to the hotel, and then added another one in downtown Austin.  She redid, then sold,  the derelict Thunderbird motel in Marfa, turning it into a West Texas version of the San Jose.  Another boutique hotel, the 14 room Hotel Saint Cecilia located in a Victorian mansion,  opened to rave reviews earlier this year.  Plans are in the works for hotels in Houston and San Antonio,  and there is a condo building to be erected adjacent to the San Jose.    But, her most interesting project without a doubt is El Cosmico – a ranch in Marfa that is being turned into a sort of vintage, yet green trailer park.

 

 

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Lambert and her posse, with whom she is always said to travel with, take a break from hard work at El Cosmico.

 

Still in its building stage after several years, El  Cosmico promises to be a green hippie kibbutz where trailers, yurts, hammocks and wooden hot tubs will converge in a circular configuration around a large swimming pool.  The project is near and dear to Lambert’s heart and was designed by Liz and David Lake of Lake/Flato.  Located in Marfa, a far west Texas town made famous by the artist Donald Judd,  El  Cosmico is proving to be a large, back breaking endeavor.   Hopefully – it will open soon and will be another triumph.   Lambert lives part time on a nearby ranch in the desert with her partner, singer/songwriter Amy Cook.

 

 

Lambert in Marfa:

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Liz Lambert has been a large influence on Austin and Marfa style.   Her hotels and her houses have been featured in countless magazines and newspaper articles.   In Marfa, Liz  and Amy Cook, live on a  large Lambert family ranch in the middle of the desert.   Here, a 1930s rock water tank was converted into a swimming pool. 

 

 

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The ranch house was decorated with assorted textiles collected from Mexico and other parts of the world.   Of course there’s a horse saddle on an old rusty oil barrel – this is west Texas after all!

 

 

 

Capture3The cow hide rugs are reminiscent of the San Jose Hotel.  The old billboard once read:   Marfa Texas One Mile.

 

 

image Painted concrete floors and vivid designer blanket. 

 

 

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On the covered porch – Lambert made a table out of old oil barrels.

 

 

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Close up of the porch table.

 

 

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What a faucet!  What a window!  What a view! 

 

 

 Capture6 In the guest house, the beds are placed on wooden platforms as at the San Jose.  A stained glass window was turned into a door here. 

 

 

Lambert in Austin:

image  Lambert’s South Austin house was featured in Cottage Living.   Lambert, next to the end, divides her time between Austin and Marfa.  Lambert looking at the laughing, blond Amy Cook is a music lover and it factors into all aspects of her life.   Be sure to visit Amy’s web site to listen to a sampling of her music – it really puts you in the mood for a campfire in Marfa!

 

 

imageLambert, on the stairs, has styled her house in a manner similar to the San Jose.  She uses cow hides like others use seagrass.  

 

 

 

image Lambert paid $1 for her Austin house – which she then moved to this corner and totally restored!!!  Amazing!  The tin roof is authentic Austin styling – as is the zen-flavored landscaping. 

 

 

Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin:

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 Lambert’s newest venture – The Hotel Saint Cecilia - is located near the San Jose in an old Victorian mansion.   New bungalows were added to the property to give the hotel a total of 14 rooms. 

 

 

image The back side of the hotel Saint Cecilia with its bar/cafe. 

 

 

 

Inside the Hotel Saint Cecilia bar - where the vibe is totally different than the San Jose.  Lambert said she envisioned a hotel where Mick Jagger might have stayed in the heyday of the Rolling Stones.    I love the black and white patterned tile floor against the peacock blue wall color.  Each room is decorated quite differently in this hotel.   Both the San Jose and the Saint Cecilia are part of the Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s hotel group.

 

 imageLiz Lambert created the Saint Cecilia to look totally different from the San Jose.  The Yves Klein blue runs throughout the hotel.   This room is in the new bungalows which overlook the pool area.

 

Jackie Caradonia took these fabulous pictures here and below of the Saint Cecilia.

 

 

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Each room is completely different – a mixture of new and old, with mid century modern thrown in to the mix.

 

 

 image The Saint Cecilia is the only hotel in America that has Hastens beds!  

 

 

 

imageThis bathroom is unreal for a hotel!  What a tub!!!!!   The faucet!!   The tile!   I’m going to bribe Ben to see if we can stay here the next time we are in Austin – it looks so fabulous!!! 

 

 

I can’t wait to see what Lambert does to the Hotel Havana on San Antonio’s Riverwalk.  It is set to reopen this spring.   The Houston project is much slower going.   To visit The San Jose web site go HERE.  To visit the Hotel Saint Cecilia web site, go HERE.  I hope you have enjoyed this peek into Austin Zen country!  

59 comments:

  1. The lovely girl who is your daughter should think about New York City, maybe go to F.I.T or my alma mater Parsons. Her passion for fashion is amazing. SCAD would also be great for her.
    Thanks for introducing me to Liz Lambert. Absolutely fabulous style.
    Next time you want to stay at the San Jose and have a girls weekend, I'll join you.
    xo xo

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  2. It was so strange to open up a blog I visit almost daily and see a campus I visit almost daily!

    I am currently a senior at St.Edward's University and I have never stop appreciating our beautiful campus grounds.

    It's funny to see you ask "Why don't they make buildings like that anymore?" When I asked that very question about the main building earlier today.

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  3. Joni, It was fun to see a bit of Austin, it is on my someday list of places to go and visit. I went to see my son at UCLA and marveled at the gorgeous old brick buildings the architecture was amazing. I also had the opportunity to visit a friend at William and Mary, now that has some amazing old historical buildings. you will have fun visiting different campuses, it is a bitter sweet experience I am sure. Oh how fast they grow up. My son talked about going to the University in Austin possibly for his masters , we shall see what he decides. Hope it is closer, like Berkley, Calif. Have fun exploring. kathysue

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  4. Michelle - I would love to talk with you! email me, ok?
    mrballbox329@aol.com

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  5. Has your daughter considered Southwestern University in Georgetown, Tx? That's my alma mater. I have such fond memories of UT as I met my husband there when we were both graduate students. Thanks for another great post!

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  6. Great Austin post, Joni .. .
    Were it not for the dreadful traffic, I could easily put up my heels and live happily ever after in that ever so unique piece of Texas.
    Jjjj

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  7. Granted I am not from Texas, but I am astounded that the San Jose is considered a luxery hotel to anyone other than a drug addled, homeless person. Just how much money do you pay for sparse accommodations? The college was lovely and unfortunate that your daughter did not find her particular needs there. I didn't think it possible to make a Motel 6 look good.

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  8. I must asked one more question: How often are the sheets changed?

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  9. I'll be excited to check out the San Antonio project. My 3 best friends from A&M and I stumbled across the Hotel San Jose website when we were planning the first of our group's bachelorette parties (we've had 3 so far). We stayed there on New Year's Eve 2002, New Year's Day 2003 and had a FAB.U.LOUS time! We stayed in a room with 2 queen beds and a big bathroom and a big picture of Jack Kerouac on the wall. We sat in the courtyard, drank copious amounts of champagne, had Mexican food at some little restaurant down the street from the hotel and just had a blast. I've always wanted to go back but now that you're telling me that she's opening one on the Riverwalk, that's even better!

    We (Aggies) hate the 10% rule too. It's really forced A&M to go swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool. Just because you want to go to A&M (or Texas for that matter) doesn't mean you should be allowed to. I applied to A&M in the fall of 1994 and had to work my tail off to get in, there were no guarantees that I'd get to keep my admission if I goofed off after they offered my admission. I was top 10% but again, there were no guarantees of anything. I think the 10% rule hurts A&M and Texas more than it helps them. Find a new way to not be discriminitory.

    Good luck to your daughter!

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  10. Again, a great post- like 3 stories in one. ;-) Good luck to Elisabeth- and good for her for knowing what she wants.

    Love the outdoor space at the San Jose. A bit mininimalist inside, but I can see the charm. Would LOVE the check out the Sant Cecilia. Look fabulous and I love that blue!!

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  11. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post, Joni. Ironically, I've just reconnected with an old colleague who happens to have just moved from Washington, D.C., to, you guessed it...Austin. :-)

    Shannon

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  12. We need to coordinate our next Austin trips. ;

    I'll be headed down for Round Top in the spring...

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  13. Joni, this was fascinating. Enjoyed it enormously.

    Wanted you to know that one of my godsons is a senior at St. Edwards. His parents (native Texans) live in Austin where his father is a physician. I will be happy to give you contact information if you want it.

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  14. It is so true that they don't build things like they used to. I was fortunate enough to visit many colleges while in high school and even then I remember being amazed at the diversity of the buildings I saw. I did visit UT in (I think) 1985 for the NCAA track & field national championships. I still can recall thinking about how big and beautiful everything was there. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.

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  15. What gorgeous photographs!

    I am moving to Austin at the end of December and love seeing gorgeous pictures of my new hometown!

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  16. My brother went to St. Edwards and he absolutlely loved it!!

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  17. Hi Joni,

    I went to St. Edwards my freshman year back in 1993. I really liked it. I had some great professors and enjoyed the small class size. I transferred to UT the next year. I enjoyed UT too, but not any more than my first year at St. Ed's. Actually, I am very glad I went there. It really prepared me well for the transition. I initially needed a smaller atmosphere. I think I probably would have failed had I attended UT first (as my husband did!). Don't worry he's ok now, he eventually graduated from a different school. Good luck with college plans!

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  18. Joni,
    Under your cute description of slipper man's outfit (UT colors) there is a photo of an outdoor area with a table and benches...what is the table made of? Marble? Concrete? I MUST HAVE IT!! HELP!
    Your blog is the best. The best.

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  19. Joni,
    Thanks for the great walk around Hotel San Jose. A bit sparse but very hip & very Austin. Would love to get back to Austin & see all the changes down south of Congress.
    Good luck with the school shopping.
    Hope you had a wonderful birthday weekend!
    xo Lisa

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  20. Former Peace Corps volunteers are the kind of people who stay in the shared bath suites! My husband stayed in the exact room with the red floor! He was on a business trip! Funny!! Your daughter could always transfer to UT! That's how I ended up graduating from there! Started out t Stephen f. Austin.
    I so miss my great state!

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  21. some people have talent in spades, liz lambert is a force in sheer will and vision. loved seeing the before and after of the san jose.....amazing joni.

    agree with you, "that TUB, faucet and tile" does look fabulous.

    you know what? in thinking about the concrete floors in a hotel, especially in a hot climate, brilliant. carpeting in hotels has a huge creep factor....that is when i bring my slippers!
    thanks again
    debra

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  22. If I ever make it to TX- I know where to land. I really love the Saint Cecilia. You must go and do a review. The hotel you stayed in is maybe a bit hip for me- I am with MSS on the room service. It is Hip- something my niece would love but could not afford! la

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  23. I loved this post! Yes that breakfast was very hip....

    Way to diversify your blog content. Really I can't wait to dive more into some of the content posted today.

    I told my husband that if we had the choice to move anywhere to put Austin in the running...even though I have not been there. This just confirms my gut feeling on Austin being a great match for me.

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  24. Funkalicious baby. Austin looks like a cool town, but I know where I won't be staying. I like me some room service too. Good luck to your dear girl finding her school...ah the best years!

    xo Terri

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  25. What an enormous wealth of information! The hotels are incredible and the campus looks like heaven!

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  26. I love how you caught Allen's Boots in the shopping photo! One of the best places in the world to buy cowboy boots in my opinion.

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  27. After putting 4 kids through college and the whole selection process, I can relate to you. My youngest son is a sophomore at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, a small Catholic school overlooking the ocean just south of Santa Monica. So lovely. We had one at University of Arizona, USC and UC-Davis. We will be so glad when tuition is a thing of the past. If your daughter is a fashion major, Syracuse in New York has a great program. Just a thought.
    On the other hand, loved your piece on Liz Lambert. I remember her from the Cottage Living article which I loved and saved. Good for her for recognizing the potential for Hotel San Jose in the worst part of town, as well as other renovations.
    Good luck with the college search. --Delores

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  28. I didn't want this blog article to end. Thanks Joni!!

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  29. awesome post!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    she should check out Southwestern in Georgetown (NOT southwest texas)..it has a beautiful campus and is an awesome, small liberal arts school.

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  30. Anon - I'm not sure wht that table is made out of exactly. you might try leaving liz an email at bunkhouse. tell her you want to know about the tables in the SOUTH courtyards!!!

    thank you everyone with the kind words about colleges!!! She'll probably end up at Austin Community College and try to transfer into UT if she keeps up a good average there!!!!!

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  31. What a great post...I loved that bit of western flair...and I love boutique hotels for their diversity...she has a distinct style!

    I think VV is right...get that brilliant girl to NYC! I went to Syracuse...had no clue they had fashion degree...

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  32. Oh, Joni! The campus tours....I remember doing that with our daughter. We are starting again with our son. My heart goes out to you and her! It's a tough choice, isn't it?!?! I wouldn't want to go back in time and have to face all of the choices again.....too much for me. :) The best of luck to your sweet girl!!!

    Thanks for the tour of Austin...always great to discover new places through your eyes.

    Here's to a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

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  33. I don't mean to minimize the breadth of this post by only remarking on one aspect because it is all beautiful but you make a great point: Some of the most inspiring architecture is hidden in universities, they get no mention anywhere until now. I am glad for this reminder to pay more careful attention to the school I was lucky enough to attend when I see it again... and as many others as I can be exposed to...

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  34. Thanks for sharing Joni;
    I am already looking into this for next year's college hunt for my daughter. I loved the look into Liz's world, I had already seen both of those articles before but not the hotels. The fun & funky rooms remind me of the hotel in Plano TX ( the NYLO )a little more upscaled but the modern look for the hip traveler!
    Thanks again for connecting the dots!
    Leslie

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  35. I'm loving the hits of royal blue in that one hotel. Thanks for the unbelievably long amazing tour!
    x
    Maria

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  36. Hi Joni, I loved this post. I'm always looking for some unique boutique hotel to visit. And, any hotel that has a Hastens bed is definitely on my list! Oh my gosh! It's all about the bed for me! :)

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  37. Hi Joni,
    We had a similar experience a couple of years ago when our daughter was looking at schools and ended up with a different result as she felt more comfortable at a smaller campus. She is now in her junior year at St. Edwards!! She had originally thought she would begin college there with the intent of transfering, but in the end she has loved St. Eds. I was so surprised to see your post this morning when I looked at your blog. I am an avid follower of your wonderful blog. We live in Spring(north of Houston). I haven't had a chance to read the rest of your post, but just felt I had to write once I saw the pictures from St. Eds.
    Karen @ Pine Cone Retreat

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  38. OHMYGOD!!!!!!!!!!I will come back and fully digest this amazing post after I get over the fact that BEN is taking his daughter to Austin to visit college - I can't breathe. oh, and the comments look interesting, too.......hmmm.......Joni, you do get some doozies, don't you?! You are such a good sport.

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  39. Hi Joni! I think I still have that old HG...will have to rustle through it again. You are such an innovator...now you're doing college tours!. Would you mind traveling about for the rest of us and get back to us on the best local shopping for visiting parents? Love your "straight on" photo of the staircase at St. Edwards. Artful! The college looks like the sort of place that would give a parent terrific piece of mind. My husband always raves about how great Austin is (visited years ago and made big impression on him). Good luck! Trish

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  40. Joni---I loved this trip!! But the design of the Hotel Saint Cecelia is amazing. The color are perfect as is the mix of mid-century modern. That lady has CLASS!!
    Thanks you.

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  41. I've always wanted to crash at the Hotel San Jose -- so jealous y'all got the opportunity!

    All these pictures make me miss Austin (I'm a UT law grad). Oh, I had a few friends go through St. Ed's back in the early 2000s and they all LOVED it. You get all the benefits of Austin but with the small college feel/attention (which frankly I think a lot of 18 year olds can benefit from). Good luck on the college search!

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  42. Hi Joni,

    I think students in Stockholm would die for a campus such as this...it really rocks.

    And the hotel is such a treat, love what she has turned it into...great job. I could crash here any time.

    Don't tell Ben that my husband does that very thing, not cuttting his beard for some silly reason! Every tie it takes me a while to get uesd to it, off and on. Itchy little thing by the way!

    All the best,
    Ingela

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  43. Hey, Joni,
    I have to comment on the college search. I have two at A&M (beat tu lol) and also a senior looking at schools now. I HATE the top 10 rule. Ours went thru private school and were more prepared for college than many of the top from some public schools. Since mine went to catholic schools we have many, many friends at St Ed's. I have to say that every single one of them (30+) loves it. Over half had the intention of transferring to ut but liked it so much they stayed. You might have her look at the ut campus in San Antonio. Apparently, it's worth the visit. My youngest will be majoring in architecture and has been told by a few students that they like that program better than the bigger one in Austin.
    Good luck with all the visits!

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  44. What a dump. No wonder the child had a bad impression. When I thought bad linen was the worst that could show up here, lo and behold we have the Hotel California in all its ugliness. Please go back to bad linen, bad creamware and bad design. It's looking better by the hour.

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  45. Joni, my daughter went to UT in San Antonio her first year and HATED it there. She transferred to Texas State in San Marcos and loves it. She is in her final year there. She first majored in Interior Design there, but changed to marketing.

    San Marcos is a nice town... reminds me a little of Austin when it was much smaller.

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  46. I LOVE your blog, and am a dedicated reader. However, I was a little taken aback by your using of the term "minority rule". I'm a native Austinite and worked for the UT school system several years back when this idea was put into place. It had little to do with minorities, and more to do with expanding the UT systems other Universities, like UTSA, UTD, and UTEP. Since UT was looked at as the Crown Jewel, enrollment was low at the other UT Schools. Since initiating the 10 Percent Rule, schools like UTSA have expanded greatly both in numbers and in facilities. However, for the sake of politics, the UT system would never share that this was all put into place to benefit their system as a whole.
    Furthermore, and I say this with much sincerity, UT Austin is not necessarily the school you want your precious daughter at. Let's just say it's not the school you remember, or that others remember from the early 90's. There was in fact a 2 seperate student homicides several years back which ultimately uncovered a plethera of drug use and availability within the campus.
    I guess it's just a different generation out there today, and while I LOVE living Austin and enjoy everything it has to offer, I hope my daughter chooses a smaller school like Georgetown or even Stephen F. Austin.
    Good Luck to your Daughter!

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  47. Your blog is usually one of my favorites, but this one, not so much. A bit too alternative for me. I like my creature comforts when I travel and this one sorely lacks.

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  48. Years ago when I lived in Dallas we often would take a drive to Austin. The capital remains in my mind as one having the prettiest walkways. Thanks for the memories.

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  49. Years ago when I lived in Dallas we often would take a drive to Austin. The capital remains in my mind as one having the prettiest walkways. Thanks for the memories.

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  50. I used to work in Austin at the Capitol and I have always wondered what the hotel looked like inside- nice place. Has your daughter considered OU/Norman is a nice place to live- plug I live here.
    I have the faucet you love at Saint Cecillia in my master bath except mine is brushed nickle. I love it too!!

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  51. As a fan of Liz Lambert - thanks so much for all the photos and info on her most recent projects! This post rocks, Joni!

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  52. Lovely, lovely. Holly Mathis of www.hollymathisinteriors.com just let me know about your blog and I'm now obsessed with the San Jose Hotel!!!
    I am definitely going to continue following your blog!

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  54. I am very fond of the 10% rule, it's unfortunate that is doesn't work in everyone's favor.
    Growing up in a rural community (where about half of the teachers hold a valid certification) helps one to have gratitude for anything that levels the playing field. Students from those horrible schools cannot compete with the better metropolitan schools but still have potential to do well.

    Anyway, I'm not a minority but I got into A&M on the 10% rule (only) and graduated Summa Cum Laude- So this Aggie loves it.

    I agree with the first post, though- she should do fashion!

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  55. I enjoyed your post on St. Ed’s. Both of my daughters attend St. Ed’s and love it. They originally thought about transferring to UT after their first year at St. Ed’s but decided against it after all. I agree with the Visual Vamp. Since your daughter truly knows that she wants to be in fashion she should attend FIT, Parsons or SCAD. I wish her the best of luck and you too. It is so hard when children leave for college but it is a lot of fun to see them grow into young adults.

    PS-I am so happy you were able to stay at the San Jose. I have always wanted to spend a weekend there when visiting my daughters. Maybe one day . . .

    I read your blog daily and enjoy it tremendously. Thanks for all you do.

    Lisa

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  56. Oh, I'm so jealous! I've been wanting to go down to Austin some time and stay at either the San Jose or the St. Cecilia - they both look so fun from the pics. Just haven't made it down there yet!
    Thanks for sharing all the pics, and I hope your daughter finds the right fit for her. College can be daunting!

    By the way - congratulations on the mention in the newest House Beautiful!! :-)

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  57. I love the quirkiness of this hotel Joni. Sometimes when you wake up in a 5 star for that split second you lose track of where you are, all the rooms look the same. That would definitely not happen here! And Mr. SS certainly looks happy enough. I love the Riverwalk area of San Antonio, so will be keen to see Liz's new venture when it's completed.
    Millie ^_^

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  58. I am in my sophomore year at St. Edward's, and stumbled upon your blog when going through various fashion and home decor sites.
    I originally was planning on NY or Chicago, and saw St. Ed's as nothing more than a start, but once I actually began, I couldn't see myself anywhere else. It is a beautiful campus, as you saw, but much the same can be said for the students. It is a small school, sure, but a wonderful microcosm of Austin, perched on a hill. As far as fashion, you bet that there is plenty of that among the tens of thousands at UT. You just have to search for it among the burnt-orange sweat pants. At St. Ed's you can find every "look" around one of the tables at the coffee shop.
    Please don't write St. Edward's off as nothing more than a quaint, private school. It is truly an amazing, evolving school, in it's own fashion.

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  59. reading this post back in november inspired me to have my bachelorette weekend in austin...we chose the san jose hotel to stay at and LOVED it! i had girls fly in from all over (including several who had never been to texas) and they fell in love with austin!

    thanks again for this inspirational post...it resulted in the most memorable girls weekend!

    i have included a link to this post on my blog, The Sale Rack.

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