Austin is known for being cool. I got to experience it first hand when I had the pleasure of staying at one of the coolest hotels in the city: Hotel San Jose. Tucked inside lush garden walls, the hotel felt like a tiny oasis in a sweltering city – my own secret garden! It was such a breath of fresh air to stay in a small bungalow style hotel with just 40 rooms. A truly calming and relaxing experience: it now tops my Gotta Getaway list.


Hotel San Jose was founded by an attorney who left her job in New York to return to her native home of Texas. She had always admired the run down hotel across the street and wished to fix up the place. At the time, the hotel was in a bad neighborhood, full of crime, but Liz took a leap of faith and bought the place in hopes to renovate and make her dreams a reality. In the process, she made a documentary about the residents of the hotel, gentrification and urban renewal called “Last Days of the San Jose”, and in the end transformed Hotel San Jose into a gorgeous respite.


I was immediately smitten with the design of the rooms! Iconic pieces like the Eames Chair and butterfly chair were nestled into cozy quarters with chic cowhides and minimalist furniture. The clean lines of the bed and sofas were balanced with a pop of color and whimsy with things such as these beautiful Mexican blanket inspired kimono style bathrobes {I’ve got to have one!} that hung in the bathroom.


However, the best part about the hotel has to be the outside gardens and landscaping. The exterior, much like the interiors, stays true to the minimalist Mexican inspired design aesthetic. Cacti and greenery abound in the cool concrete exterior and grounds. Colorful lanterns and richly hued emeralds and terra cotta furniture blended right in with their surroundings, making me feel like I had really taken a mini vacation South of the border!


Isn’t that pool just gorge? If you’re ever in Austin, I highly recommend retreating to the Hotel San Jose. I have one more spot in Austin to share with you coming up this week that I know you are just going to love as much as I did. Stay tuned!

original photography for apartment 34 by chris perez

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  1. We almost stayed here during our most recent trip to Austin but ended up at the Kimber Modern instead. Very cool boutique hotel. I highly recommend.

  2. I love it! I’m heading to Texas in September and I will add this to my list! xo

  3. Hotel San Jose looks great! Going to Austin for the first time in July, so the recommendation is super helpful. Great rec.