My family and I just got back from a beautiful wedding celebration in Austin. It was my first time visiting the area and quickly became enamored. The people were friendly, the city was clean, the food was delicious, great architecture, and the Hill Country was quite beautiful.
One morning we had a few hours of free time so I decided to take a walk down Congress Street. I was SO excited when I stumbled upon the Hotel San Jose.
A couple years ago I read an article on the hotel owner, Liz Lambert, and was inspired by her story and her beautiful hotels.
To give you a little background on the owner, in 1994 Liz left her job in New York as a prosecutor for the district attorney office to return to her hometown of Austin. At the time South Congress Street was a rough part of town and the hotel was rundown and a common place for drugs and crime. However, she had a vision for it and ran it as a low rent residential hotel until she had enough funds to renovate.
Today the Hotel San Jose sits as a hip hotel with Texan minimalist flair.
Walking into the courtyard from the Congress Street gate entrance was a bit of a surprise. It was so quiet and serene.
It is not your typical hotel. All the rooms have concrete floors, custom sheets, hand made saddle leather chairs, kimono robes, and Malin + Goetz bath amenities.
Located in the hotel's parking lot sits Lambert's famed Jo's Coffee. You may recognize the "I love you so much" graffiti on the side of the building.
Lambert owns three other equally cool hotels which you can check out here. I enjoyed my short stay in Austin and hope to be back to discover more of it.
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* All images are via Hotel San Jose unless otherwise stated.