With a sizable cow-to-person ratio and a population of 90, the pastoral town of Round Top, Texas might seem sleepy to the uninitiated. But for the thousands of furniture dealers and design enthusiasts who make the pilgrimage here twice a year for the city’s famous antique fair, it’s a huge treasure chest. Stretching over 27 km, the Round Top Antiques Fair hosts more than 800 antique dealers from around the world. From European collectibles to everything vintage (cowboy boots, jewelry, taxidermy and beyond), the visual stimulation is endless.
And while the fair (which the fall market is underway right now!) A handful of artfully curated shops are open year round, there are an impressive amount of options for great food, and, more excitingly, there are a handful of comfortable and chic accommodations that design enthusiasts can choose from. Forward, the 4 best addresses for aesthetes of all faiths at Round Top.
Created by Austin artist Sheila Youngblood, Rancho Pillow is Round Top’s reigning gem. (Very literally: there’s a vintage wreath from a 1940s Best Western sign attached to a neon sculpture reading The Queen on the grounds.) More than just a hotel, Rancho Pillow is an eclectic experience steeped in art and nature. Set on 20 acres of farmland, the ranch accommodations consist of several guesthouses, each outfitted with art, textiles and furnishings from Youngblood’s travels around the world. Amenities include a saltwater pool, hand-woven caftans made by an artisan Sheila met in Morocco, fully equipped kitchens in some rooms, and a newly added kitchen where the property can host a private chef.
A colorful oasis for creatives, Rancho Pillow has hosted all manner of artistic experiences over the years. The property served as a recording studio for various musicians, a camp for film students run by Youngblood herself and, for the ongoing antique fair, is the co-host of A Current Affair’s first vintage show ever. outside of New York or LA. Guests can rent each individual house or Rancho Pillow in its entirety, accommodating 30 people in total. For larger groups, tailor-made glamping experiences can also be organized in the fields.
Just steps from the Town Square, Hotel Lulu is a boutique hotel recently opened by wife and husband duo Cinda and Armando Palacios (whose adjacent restaurant Lulu has long been a Round Top fixture). Evoking understated luxury akin to designer hotels in the British countryside, the Lulu Hotel is set on grounds with an herb garden, a spa offering treatments with 111SKIN products, a cocktail bar evoking glamor retro Italian and a superb swimming pool with a view of a neighboring barn creating a dream juxtaposition.
The amount of design detail to go through here is vast. Highlights include Pakistani wedding blankets made by Studio Imli, a textile studio that works with artisans from the Pakistani desert of Cholistan, as well as a mural by Houston-based artist Andrea Condara in Bar Il Cucolo ( Italian for hi) from the hotel. Guests traveling in larger groups or after something more secluded should note the Lulu Hotel Annex, which houses 3 additional private bungalows.
If Wander Inn sounds familiar to anyone watching HGTV, it’s because renowned sisters Amie and Jolie Sikes Junk Gypsy opened this quaint Bed and Breakfast in 2017. Located in 2 buildings adjacent to their famous Junk Gypsy store, the hostel is a comfortable, western-style compound consisting of 8 individually designed rooms. Unique amenities include a record player and albums in each room.
Vintage round top
Longtime Round Top buyers (and wife and husband duo) Paige and Smoot Hull opened the first guesthouse featuring The Vintage Round Top in 2012. In the years that followed, the property’s presence s ‘is sprawling both physically and virtually: another house and two 400-square-foot cottages have been added, and The Vintage Round Top’s dreamy modern-vintage aesthetic has earned Instagram fame. A blog and an online store to immerse yourself in the aesthetics of Hull have also been set up. Guests can rent each vacation home individually or as a whole. PS: The two larger houses have chef kitchens and tubs large enough to accommodate two people.
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