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Austin

The Carpenter Hotel

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If you've rambled around Austin a few times, you understand there is no need for an excuse to stay more than just a few nights. When you do, find The Carpenter Hotel on the edge of Zilker Park. Built within a former carpenter's union building, the hotel's rooms check all the boxes for minimalist design, offering extra-high ceilings and eclectic dwellings shaded by a grove of heritage pecan trees.

OUR ARTICLE

BY: Dakota Nate Contributing writer

Two innovative Texas natives, a star food writer, and an old Carpenter’s Union Hall: What do these three things have in common? Well, they’re each a major playing piece in Austin’s Carpenter Hotel — a boutique hotel near Lady Bird Lake and Downtown ATX that brings elements of vibrant artistry and sacred at-home energy together effortlessly, building somewhat of a forcefield around the perimeter of this colorful lodge. By definition, a boutique hotel is a small hotel that typically has anything from a mere ten to one hundred rooms, settled in an offbeat or unique setting with upscale accommodations and individualized niche selling points. The term was supposedly born of the west coast trend calling for smaller, trendier accommodations that were so much more than just the Hiltons and Marriots of the world. In the case of this peculiar Austin hideaway, once you get into your room, you might forget you’re not anywhere near Palm Springs or Joshua Tree, Toto.

dishes that are downright, how you say, T-E-X-A-S, the transition from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner is an adventure in itself.

On the edge of Zilker Park, you’ll find what was once the Local 1266’s Carpenters Union Hall — which until a couple of years ago, was a stark, faded brick building erected in 1948 that had sat empty for quite some time — that is until Ace Hotel group co-owner Jack Barron and his architect wife began transforming the space. Jack, who still owns The Ace Hotel in Portland, has always had a knack for taking a run-down property and giving it a new life. Jen, on the other hand, earned her chops working for Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York for 11 years before returning to her home state. Today, thanks to the pair and a little help from their friends, you’ll find a vintage oasis enclosed by a thicket of pecan trees and terracotta barriers, with 93 rooms accented by Jen’s chic personal touch and Jack’s way of upholding a cohesive atmosphere. 

The Mighty Union Hospitality Group, which consists of Barron, Turner, and Don Kenney, paired up with Austin-based art and design-duo, Ryan Rhodes and Caleb Everitt, aka LAND, and local developer John Davenport to bring together a proper the proper blend of vintage and modern, minimalistic and plenty. It was important to the team to keep the integrity of the original dwellings alive, even in the slightest. F&B is guided throughout the premises by another powerful husband-and-wife duo, Christina Skogly Knowlton and foodie tv host Andrew Knowlton, who also happens to be one of the most acclaimed food writers of the last decade. 

Hot L Coffee acts as the hotel’s java hub from 7 am to 5 pm daily, while Carpenter’s Hall, Chef Grae Nonas of Olamaie’s first solo venture, became a neighborhood favorite almost immediately upon the hotel’s opening. With just the right balance of upscale items, stellar snacks, and dishes that are downright, how you say, T-E-X-A-S, the transition from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner is an adventure in itself. There’s something about an exposed kitchen that’s just so, well, exposed, and with a dish consisting of a dollop of Oklahoma, Hackleback Caviar accompanied by a snack-size bag of Ruffles, who can complain? Really though, we should all be so lucky to experience such a joyful juxtaposition.

While that former faded brick has since been given a bit of a facelift, each room certainly has its own individual charm and its own outdoor patio. Everything from the bedding, the flooring, down to the colorful tile in each bathroom, Jack and Jen haven’t left out a single detail. In the summertime, the Carpenter’s outdoor swimming pool offers the opportunity for a poppin’ pool party, and their Quonset hut pavilion acts as a pool cabana and event space. Settled smack-dab in the heart of ATX, if there’s still any question of where you should be chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool during your stay in Bat City, you haven’t been listening. Pack up that duffle bag and get to steppin’ cowboy.

FIELD TIPS

The unique pool will serve as a hideaway oasis when traveling amidst that notorious Texas heat

Surrounded by killer bites and buzzing bars, The Carpenter is an easy 11-minute walk from Zilker Metropolitan Park, an easy stroll to Lady Bird Lake and downtown

Chow down at Carpenters’ Hall for some good hospitality, and hit the cafe for hot or iced coffee, tacos and other delectable bites

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