Red River revival
A 10-acre site listed on the National Register of Historic Places is being touted as Austin’s first “urban retreat.” Luxury lodging operator Auberge Resorts Collection, owned by Houston billionaire Toyota dealer Dan Friedkin, said in a December 11 release that the Commodore Perry Estate resort is scheduled to open in the spring of 2020.
In addition to 42 guest rooms and 12 guest suites, amenities include a restaurant concept called Lutie’s, a cocktail bar, a solarium, breakfast and dining rooms, an organic farm, a private club, and an outdoor swimming pool. The resort’s chapel and gardens will host weddings and other destination events.
The resort, at 4100 Red River St., sits north of the University of Texas campus along Waller Creek. The estate most recently was an event space. It closed in 2017 to begin renovations. This will be the first property in Texas for the Mill Valley, California-based Auberge Resorts Collection.
“Bringing a combination of exquisite design, exceptional location, and an authentically Austin experience, this one-of-a-kind estate introduces a new level of style and distinctive luxury to the diverse city,” says Marco Bustamante, general manager of Commodore Perry Estate.
Bustamante previously managed luxury hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Washington, D.C.; and Connecticut. Before that, he was an executive chef at several high-end restaurants.
As the resort’s design mastermind, San Francisco interior designer Ken Fulk is bringing a sense of “contemporary glamour, whimsical soul, and effortless luxury” to the 10,800-square-foot mansion. The property will feature a number of antiques curated by Fulk during shopping trips to the Hill Country antiquing haven of Round Top.
Fulk is collaborating with California architecture firm Moule & Polyzoides and Austin design firms Clayton & Little and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects to restore the Italian Renaissance Revival-style Commodore Perry Estate.
“When I first saw Commodore Perry Estate, I was simply mesmerized. It was as if a European country estate had been transported to a bucolic Texas Hill Country landscape,” Fulk says.
Built in 1928, Commodore Perry Estate originally served as the country home of Commodore Edgar Perry and wife, Lutie Perry, who used the a getaway for entertaining family and friends when they weren’t crisscrossing Europe. Dallas architect Henry Bowers “Hal” Thomson designed the mansion. The Perrys sold the estate in 1944; three years later, St. Mary’s Academy relocated to the property.
The resort’s onsite restaurant, Lutie’s, will serve lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. The operator promises “old-fashioned Southern hospitality within a refined garden setting.”
“Decorated with delicate ivy, the restaurant boasts a sophisticated, yet classic country club-style aesthetic that includes a patio and all indoor and outdoor seating arranged to take in views of manicured English gardens and fountains,” Auberge Resorts Collection says.
Sharing the same 10-acre site, the resort is adjacent to a newly built three-story, courtyard-style inn with 42 guest rooms and seven guest suites. Moule & Polyzoides designed the high-end property, with Fulk incorporating an interior blend of midcentury Italian pieces, 1920s Spanish pieces, vintage rugs, and framed artwork.
In 2017, Friedkin said the estate “offers an exceptional setting for Auberge’s signature style of tailored luxury and unforgettable guest experiences. It will be an ideal complement to the other iconic properties in our collection.”
Behind the resurgence of Commodore Perry Estate is Georgetown developer and filmmaker Clark Lyda, who first came across the property as a high school student at St. Mary’s Academy. Lyda, a former member of the Georgetown City Council, worked for a number of years to buy the estate, eventually teaming up with Austin-based The Marchbanks Co. on its preservation and expansion.