In its March 2014 issue, Southern Living magazine has produced a list of the best new hotels in the South, including some recently renovated properties worth a revisit. Three Texas hotels — one each in Austin, Houston and Dallas — caught the editors' eyes.
Listed among the noteworthy renovations is Hotel Derek in Houston. The property had a recent facelift courtesy of Flick-Mars, who made "brazen design choices" such as snakeskin-patterned bathroom walls, bold colors and zebra-print chairs that are "meant to echo the fashion of Houston's Galleria."
Hotel Ella in Austin gets props for being "prim and proper with a touch of rogue masculinity." Although the property is under new ownership, it had been operating as a hotel, the Mansion at Judge's Hill, before its reincarnation as Ella last year.
Originally built in 1898 as a wedding gift from one of UT's founders, Thomas Wooten, to his son and young bride, the mansion retains its historic charm with features like a wraparound porch. But the cabana-lined pool, for example, is totally of-the-moment — especially for enjoying a well-shaken cocktail.
However, Southern Living failed to mention Hotel Ella's greatest asset: those sumptuous beds you may never want to leave. Depending on your agenda, you may never have to.
In Dallas, the Southern Living staff noticed the recently renovated Joule — although "renovation" hardly seems sufficient to describe the downtown hotel's swanky transformation. "A big-budget expansion sleeked out this 1920s landmark with multilevel penthouse suites; a bird's-eye rooftop terrace; and CBD Provisions, a modern brasserie serving proud Texas fare," the magazine notes.
Sadly absent from the reno list is W Dallas Victory hotel, whose redo has likely been overshadowed by its sparkling downtown neighbor. Houston-based design firm MaRS executed the cowboy cool update to all 252 guest rooms, including 26 suites.