A new age has dawned on South Congress: Ownership of the legendary Austin Motel transferred hands Monday. As a result, Liz Lambert and her Austin-based hospitality group, Bunkhouse, have been tapped to take over management of the hotel.
Lambert's portfolio leaves her well-equipped to handle such a storied institution. Bunkhouse is responsible for revitalizing neighboring hot spot Hotel San Jose, in addition to operating other boutique hotels like the nearby Hotel Saint Cecilia, Hotel Havana in San Antonio, and Marfa's El Cosmico.
Bunkhouse assures Austinites that the name, iconic sign, unique vibe, and affordability of the Austin Motel will remain the same. However, we can expect a few updates to the space down the road — after all, it has been around for nearly 80 years.
"After an initial assessment period, Bunkhouse will begin to identify opportunities to enhance the guest experience and refresh the property," reads a statement from the hospitality group. The team is looking to "make minor improvements to rooms, pool, and pool deck, as well as create new cultural programming as a means to further engage the hotel's connection to the community."
Although the future of the Austin Motel appears to be in good hands, this marks a new era for the SoCo staple, which has been family-owned since it first opened in 1938. The Austin American-Statesman reports that the most recent owners sold the property to Connecticut-based firm Greenfield Partners, LLC in order to reconnect with family out of state. The property also encompasses next-door neighbors The Turquoise Door and Blackmail Boutique — no word on whether the purchase will affect the retail spots.
The Austin Motel isn't the only South Congress project on the horizon for Bunkhouse. The hospitality team is also in the process of opening The Magdalena, a new accommodation option on Academy Drive near Hotel Saint Cecilia. Scheduled to debut in 2018, this 89-room boutique hotel will include a restaurant, bar, and event space.