May 23, 2017 | By Carla Buzasi
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Hotel San Jose boasts a perfect mix of modern and charming style created for the contemporary adult with a penchant for minimalist design. Located in the heart of bustling South Congress Avenue, this Austin stay offers bungalow-style rooms with a sleek and pared-down aesthetic. Marrying contemporary appeal with western sensibilities, the space embraces a rustic ambiance with the right amount of cool. Mineral gray, pristine white and refreshing mint tones immediately create a relaxing vibe, and continues to grow upon entering the airy courtyard surrounded by lush foliage.
Inside, colorful music posters allude to Austin’s proudly held title of ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ while retro design details bring endearing personality. Supple wood and fiery pops of red add welcoming warmth that ties minimalist design with down-to-earth comfort.
The 40-room hotel, originally a seedy motel built in the ‘30s, fits right into Austin’s counterculture movement by embracing soulful character and distancing itself from corporate chains – a philosophy Texas hotelier and creator of Hotel San Jose, Liz Lambert, knows all too well. After leaving her job as a prosecutor in Manhattan in 1994, Lambert returned to her native Texas and proved to be quite the visionary when she set her sights on the rundown motel that is now Hotel San Jose. Not only did she have an entrepreneurial dream, but Lambert arguably became a key player in the upswing of the area when she followed her gut (and chronicled her journey in the documentary The Last Days of the San Jose) even when South Congress was still a far cry from the hip haven it was to become.
Fast forward to today and South Congress is now the epicenter of Austin cool, chock-full of quaint thrift stores and charming food trucks. Right in the thick of it all and nestled between the sweet mix of shops and eateries, Hotel San Jose has become a neighborhood staple known to attract guests and locals alike for low-key evenings of sipping and mingling. String lights hang above the courtyard as foot-tapping tunes play in the background and servers shell out drinks. It is during these evenings that the history, the vibe and the design all come together to provide an unmistakable sense of place and community that radiates the elusive homey feel that hotels are always striving for. –Christina Thornell
1316 South Congress Avenue / 1 512 444 7322
Photos courtesy of the hotel
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