Travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has put out a list of the best hotels in Texas, and Austin can walk away with some bragging rights, with four local hotels making the top 15. Three are ones that you’d expect to find, but one could be a bit of a surprise, considering that it just reopened for business.
Of course, it's hardly surprising to that see iconic, distinctive Austin hotels such as The Driskill or Saint Cecilia made the cut with Condé Nast readers.
It appears that recent changes and remodeling have already made quite the impression on travelers spending their getaways at Hotel Ella.
What is a bit more remarkable is the inclusion of Hotel Ella, as it opened its doors only recently after some extensive restorations. Originally built in the late 1800s by Dr. Goodall Wooten and his wife, Ella Wooten, the mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and in 1983 it opened its doors as the Chemical Dependency Treatment Center of Austin.
The house was turned into the Mansion at Judges’ Hill in 2003, but after exchanging hands again in 2012 and coming under the ownership of Stuart McManus, founder of Crystal Lake Capital LLC, it underwent yet another transformation. It appears that the changes and remodeling have already made quite the impression on travelers spending their getaways at Hotel Ella.
Perhaps visitors have already come away impressed by the brand new restaurant that now calls the hotel its home. Goodall’s recently opened its doors along with Hotel Ella, both of which pay tribute to the mansion’s original residents through their names. You can read more about the buzz around the new restaurant with a recent CultureMap interview with Goodall’s general manager and executive chef.
While it may not be surprising to see Austin establishments on yet another national publication’s list, it does seem to signal a new trend of ranking places that are very new to the block. It was just last week that Zagat put two newly opened Austin bars on their “Hottest Bars List.”
It could be the case that some publications are jumping the gun in trying to stay ahead in the rankings race, but perhaps it's a signal that more eyes are looking toward our fair city as the next trendsetter to keep watching. Whatever the case, it looks like Hotel Ella's renovations were worth every penny.