What A Gem
Round Rock's first boutique hotel is a hidden gem for design lovers
As if being named one of the coolest suburbs in America wasn’t enough, Round Rock can now claim its very first boutique hotel.
Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in historic downtown Round Rock, The Ruby Hotel is making history itself as the first hotel to be built in the area. Nestled on three acres, the hotel features 39 rooms with exterior entrances that mimic a vintage-style motel. The property, which overlooks Brushy Creek, offers tranquil waterfront views for all but three rooms, however, every room comes with its own balcony.
Upon walking onto the property at 400 Fannin Ave., guests will notice the abundance of mature oak trees creating a peaceful canopy of shade throughout. The surrounding nature makes it “easy to forget you’re in Round Rock,” says general manager Diana Gonzalez. She adds that preserving the natural landscaping was crucial to the vision of the space.
“We worked around the landscaping as best as we possibly could,” she says. “It’s a huge contributor to the guests’ experience.”
Amenities at The Ruby include a fitness center, a pool, and a bar and meeting room area. The hotel was built around the property’s original house and pool, with the house being completely renovated into the bar area. While the space may be modern and new, walking into the bar feels like stepping into the home of an old friend: cozy and inviting. The sense of warmth is in large part due to the fact that they kept “quite a few things” from the original property.
“We restored the countertop from the original kitchen and used it at the front desk,” Gonzalez says. “It was very important that we try and keep the vintage feeling.”
The midcentury modern design used throughout the property is inspired by a fictional 1950s era character named Ruby. Apparently, the developers of the hotel discovered a letter beneath a pile of leaves that was addressed to a “Dearest Ruby” upon their first visit to the site. The brand story was then carefully conceived by developer Bree Carrico of Alexa Management.
“She was basically the genius behind the concept and had the vision of what it would look like,” says Gonzalez. She adds that Carrico “personally handpicked all of the decorations” found throughout the space.
The Ruby’s thoughtful approach to design and use of story-driven elements all point to its goal of creating a unique and personal experience for visitors and locals alike.
“We find a lot of people that come in here are looking for something different,” Gonzalez says. “They’re well-travelled, have stayed at every hotel chain, and are looking for an experience.” But she adds that the hotel also sees “a lot of people who are doing staycations” as locals are finding The Ruby to be a welcome respite from city life.
Whether you’re an out-of-towner or a local, anyone can enjoy The Ruby’s public bar, which offers fresh, handcrafted cocktails, wine, and beer. Like the rest of the elements of the hotel, the cocktail menu was thoughtfully curated and made to fit the vintage theme.
“The menu was created by our bar manager,” Gonzalez says. “He moved [here] from New York not that long ago, and this is his background. He’s a true mixologist.”
The Ruby launched with a soft opening back in March and has been fully operational since April. As for future plans, Gonzalez says the team is looking forward to rolling out new ideas, such as cocktail classes or yoga by the pool.
“There are so many ideas that we have [but] we just opened, so we’re like ‘okay, one at a time,’” says Gonzalez.