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5 of Texas’s Quirkiest Hotels

By Anna Mazurek

Oct 11, 2017

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Courtesy of Rancho Pillow

From a two-cell jailhouse to a vintage bowling alley, here are the Lone Star State’s most eccentric stays.

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Sometimes, the best part of travel is deciding where to stay. If you’ve ever dreamed about sleeping in a tepee under the West Texas sky or sipping local whiskey while listening to Johnny Cash records in a plush vintage jailhouse, then head to Texas to check out these five unique accommodations. These spots have so much style, history, and flair that it may be hard to venture out of your room.

Courtesy of Camp Comfort
1. Camp Comfort

Proof that you can make a place to stay out of any structure: This bed-and-breakfast was originally a vintage bowling alley built in the 1860s. The B&B is located on Cypress Creek in Comfort, Texas, 48 miles northwest of San Antonio. The original bowling alley was turned into four suites that feature desks made from the original flooring. The property also includes five cabins, one Airstream trailer for rent, a private swimming hole, and a communal social hall that dates back to 1870, where guests can eat breakfast. The venue also hosts a Camp Comfort House Concert Series that features Texas musicians and includes a BYOB old-fashioned potluck.

Photo by Lars Ploughmann/Flickr
2. El Cosmico


El Cosmico is a West Texas legend. Located in Marfa, the 21-acre hotel and campground rents yurts, tepees, safari tents, and vintage Airstream trailers. Self-camping is also allowed. Amenities include a hammock grove, bike rental, a lobby/provision house, and wood-fired hot tubs available for rent at night. Every fall, El Cosmic hosts the Trans-Pecos Festival, a three-day music festival. The 2017 festival  featured Wilco, Lee Ann Womack, and Hurray for the Riff Raff.

Courtesy of Rancho Pillow
3. Rancho Pillow

This funky complex in rural Texas offers colorful accommodations, including a renovated three-story Dutch barn built in the 1800s. While the barn is the centerpiece, there is also a restored 1896 home, a renovated storage shed known as The Love Shack, a building made of reclaimed materials, and a tepee. Rancho Pillow is located seven miles from Round Top, Texas, home of the world’s largest antique fair, which is held every spring and fall. The space started as a family compound in 2006 and then transitioned to an artist retreat before opening as a hotel complex. 

Courtesy of The Cell Block
4. The Cell Block

A 1930s’ era two-cell jailhouse was transformed into a boutique hotel in Clifton, Texas, which is only 90 minutes from Dallas and two hours from Austin. Since there’s no T.V., take advantage of the jail’s collection of Johnny Cash and Elvis vinyl records and sip some of the complementary local whiskey and wine. The rooftop deck is a great spot for a game of dominoes. The jailhouse amenities include a queen-size bed, full bath, and a natural-gas fire pit. 

Courtesy of Hotel Emma
5. Hotel Emma


Hotel Emma, a 146-room luxury hotel in San Antonio, is located in the original brewhouse of Pearl Brewery, which was established in 1881 and was once the largest brewery in Texas. The hotel was named for Emma Koehler, who ran the brewery after her husband died in 1914. Strangely enough, Mr. Koehler died after being shot by his mistress, who was also named Emma. Check out a book from the hotel’s 3,700-volume library, which was donated by Sherry Kafka Wagner, a novelist, historian, and Harvard Fellow. The hotel is the flagship icon of the expansive brewery complex, which houses retail shops, apartments, and restaurants. 

 >>Next: Is America Ready for the Luxury Hostel?

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