If you’ve driven down East 11th Street lately, you’ve likely seen Austin’s newest destination. Hotel Eleven is a stunning getaway opened by local husband-and-wife duo Mark Vornberg and Shelly Leibham.
The four-story, 14-room boutique hotel opened its doors in early April. With comfortable accommodations and beautiful views of Austin, the hotel is walking distance to East Austin hot spots, downtown, the Capitol building, and University of Texas.
Sandwiched between J&J Spirits and Blue Dahlia Bistro, Hotel Eleven stands out in its shiny new home. Sunny orange chairs pop on the front patio, contrasting the hotel’s signature blue. These two colors are incorporated throughout the hotel with warm wood accents and bright gray walls, giving the entire space an airy yet vibrant feel.
Every last detail — from the wallpaper down to the air vents — has been creatively and meticulously thought out. Vornberg, the lead architect for Dick Clark + Associates, not only designed the hotel but also handcrafted all the metalwork found in the hotel’s bar (wine racks), outdoor patio (flower planters), and the bases for the large communal tables that deck out the ground floor’s cafe and back patio. The hotel is truly the result of the couple’s blood, sweat, and tears.
Serving as general manager for Hotel Eleven, Leibham wants guests to feel as though they’re staying with friends — “friends who happen to own a cool hotel,” she laughs. As she gives a tour of the space, she greets guests warmly and catches up with them briefly about what they’ve been up to during their day in Austin.
Some of the incredible features of Hotel Eleven include a rooftop deck — only accessible by hotel guests — that boasts panoramic views of Austin; unique guestrooms featuring hand-selected wallpaper of varying color and design; freestanding, modern tubs in the guest suites; and all of the Austin touches like photography and paintings from local artists, flower pots from Miguel’s on Burnet Road, and furniture made from Austin companies like Drophouse and Rabbet Labs.
The gorgeous midcentury modern restaurant and bar on the ground floor is also worth mentioning — it's open to guests, visitors, and locals alike. Hotel Eleven will offer small plates and snacks, in an effort to not compete with the amazing culinary selections along East 11th Street like Sagra, Franklin Barbecue, and the tasty food court that houses Tony’s Jamaican Food and Amy’s Super Fantazmo Food Club (highly recommended from Leibham). The cafe currently has a small deli case filled with baked goods, as well as coffee and espresso drinks from Texas Coffee Traders.
Locally brewed beers from Austin Beerworks, Independence, Hops & Grain, and Zilker Brewing are served along with an expansive wine list of unusual selections. The bar also offers wine cocktails to be enjoyed inside the cafe, out on the front patio, or on the more private back patio. Try the signature Eleven: Eleven (cava and blood orange) or the King Louie (Austin Eastciders, blueberry, and citrus) named after Louie, the neighborhood black cat who frequents the outdoor spaces of the hotel.
Just as every detail in the design was taken into account, so were the opinions and concerns of neighbors and neighboring businesses. Leibham explains that their intention was to become a fixture in the area that locals want to be a part of, something built to last. Neighbors requested no live music or hard liquor, which the couple agreed to not only to respect wishes, but also to support the other businesses in the neighborhood. Music venue Historic Victory Grill is right across the street and the strong cocktails poured at Longbranch Inn are only a couple steps away.
While it took a while for this hotly anticipated hotel to open its doors (the couple has spent four years on construction, obtaining the right permits and zoning, and working to make sure the hotel fit the neighborhood), Leibham says that all of the hard work has paid off. She now gets to experience her favorite part: interacting with travelers and neighbors who pass through her hotel.
And we couldn’t agree more — Hotel Eleven was well worth the wait.