Hotel Ella

1900 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78705, USA

A Greek Revival family mansion built at the turn of the 20th century, Hotel Ella owes both its name and its grandeur to its very first lady of the house, Ella Wooten. Known for her impeccable style and grand tastes, Ella was a fixture of Austin high society who hired the stone carver responsible for the Biltmore Estate to craft her house’s columns and verandas and worked with Neiman Marcus’ Stanly Marcus to redecorate the interiors in 1925.

Nowadays, Hotel Ella pays homage to her good taste with fashionably understated decor, a locally sourced restaurant, and an art collection that the original proprietress would have coveted. Works include original Ansel Adams photographs and Wooten family portraits and jewelry. The owners pride themselves on making guests feel just as pampered as Ella might have, with perks like a free town car service—even though the hotel is within walking distance of downtown—and a concierge team for whom no request is too much.

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Historic digs, terrific art, and a pool for good measure.

A classic mansion turned boutique hotel decorated with modernist art makes for a wonderful home base when exploring Austin. The staff was superb, the rooms were gorgeous. Our room had a patio facing the pool which was perfect for relaxing in-between tex-mex and bbq. A dip in the pool must be perfect during the summer, even though we visited during winter we made sure to stay warm at the classic bar under Goodall Wooten’s blunderbuss!

A Texas Hotel with Soul

A great hotel usually has a great story and in the case of Hotel Ella in Austin, the story unfolds in nearly every aspect of your stay. The name, Ella, refers to the stylish wife of Goodall Wooten, who was the son of one of the founders of the University of Texas. When the couple married they moved into this Greek Revival mansion and Ella hired Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus to redecorate the entire house. Wanting to preserve the soul of the original house, the new owners reached out to the Wooten family before opening the hotel in 2013. You’ll find old portraits of Ella and Goodall hanging on the walls as well as memorabilia such as a newspaper clipping of Goodall with his famous gun collection. The owners hired an art curator to handpick permanent and rotating pieces to display in the 47 rooms and common spaces. You’ll find sculptures of Farrah Fawcett from Charles Umlauf, rare cityscapes from Ansel Adams, and portraits of famous Texans taken by photographer Matt Lankes. Make a point of visiting the sitting room to see Lankes’s shot of three of Texas’s most powerful women: liberal political columnist Molly Ivins, attorney Sarah Weddington, who represented Jane Roe in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, and Liz Carpenter, who served as press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson (above). To hear more stories about the art or the Wootens, pop into the wine lounge which is full of interesting artifacts and books. The bartender will share hilarious tales over a bottle of wine.

City Serenity

You’ll forget you’re in central Austin when you’re sitting side-by-side on Hotel Ella’s breezy porches, anchored by ionic columns. The 1898 Greek revival mansion, originally a wedding gift to Dr. Goodall Wooten and his wife, Ella, also has 47 contemporary rooms, as well as a sculpture garden and restaurant, all fresh from a multi-million dollar renovation. Many rooms and suites overlook the central swimming pool, which is ringed by striped umbrellas, white lounges, and chic zero-scaping. In the evening, head to the stately Goodall’s bar for expertly crafted cocktails such as the Dean—a take on the Manhattan made with Red River rye, amaro, vermouth, and aged bitters.

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