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Photo by Randall Alford on Unsplash

Austinites are overflowing with opinions about how the city should be evolving, and now they have a chance to apply those thoughts toward the city’s oldest park and most central public space. On November 15, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department released a draft vision plan for the future of Zilker Park, which is open to community comments through January 8, 2023.

Officially titled the “draft Zilker Park Vision Plan document and map,” it sounds broad, because it is. The goal of the plan is to “establish a guiding framework for the restoration and future development of Zilker Metropolitan Park,” which includes all of its 350 acres. It is the first document to tackle this initiative in its entirety, and it emphasizes the need for community feedback.

It is important to note that Zilker Park does not just refer to the Great Lawn, the open space that hosts Austin City Limits Music Festival, which has relatively little structure and programming compared to the surrounding park and facilities. A map on a separate web page shows all the proposed areas in one place.

“One can think of Zilker Park as a complicated puzzle of elements that need to come together to create a holistic park. The decisions made for one element have impacts for the other aspects of the park — from ecological uplift to transportation initiatives to cultural programs and policies,” states a summary in the plan. “It is also important to acknowledge that the plan needs to solve the challenges faced today, but allow for innovative solutions to address climate change, transportation, and generally being a park for a thriving, growing city … the plan needs to think 100 years forward to plan for a sustainable, thriving park."

The 207-page document outlines the history of the park, goals and obstacles concerning ecology and equity, and relevant financial data. Although most of the document is context and sharing past outreach findings, Chapter Six contains the proposed changes, “based fully on the community outreach and stakeholder conversations that have taken place over the course of the planning process.”

Highlights of the vision plan include:

Zilker Land Bridge
Perhaps the most conspicuous change to visitors, if it is implemented, would be the Zilker Land Bridge. Inspired by the land bridge under construction at Houston’s Memorial Park (much larger than Zilker at 1,500 acres), this idea garnered 74 percent approval in the fifth and most recently published survey.

“The land bridge will stitch the park back together by joining the north and south sides of the park with an underground parking garage,” says the summary of the feature. An illustration shows it wrapping over Barton Springs Road, connecting the Great Lawn to proposed areas south of the road including a new Zilker Hillside Theater, a sports area, and a welcome plaza along Barton Creek. Another proposed change would reduce the road to one lane in each direction.

Zilker Land Bridge The proposed Zilker Land Bridge. Courtesy rendering

"Ecological Uplift"
The phrase “ecological uplift” appears often in the document (20 times), referring to the possibility of one day reducing parking areas, improving spacing of access points to Barton Creek, and turning landfill areas from contamination hazards to biodiverse park space.

Visitors will recognize one of these landfill areas as the dusty overflow parking behind the Zilker Botanical Garden. Participants in the surveys that informed this document expressed interest in removing waste or adding soil, and the plan illustrated a wooded and meadow area to replace these. As readers can imagine, ecological uplift is a primary concern with too many proposed solutions to summarize, but the document specifies 91 acres to undergo some type of uplifting treatment.

Ecological Uplift Zilker Park Proposed "Ecological Uplift" on landfill area.Courtesy rendering

Parking garage
Any Austinite that has driven to and from Zilker Park has likely spent hours slumped behind the steering wheel waiting for other drivers to clear out, or circling the free parking lots. The change most Austinites have responded to in the first 24 hours of comments is a proposed parking garage. It would be located “on the east side or under MoPac” and service “Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin Nature and Science Center, the new Rowing Dock, and the Ann and Roy Butler Trail.”

Several commenters call for better efforts at encouraging public transportation. (The document contains the word “bus” 20 times and proposes city-monitored “triggers” that would allow for parking areas to be reclaimed as park space, one being the achievement of 15-minute-or-less bus arrivals.)

Zilker Park vision plan The proposed Zilker Park Vision Plan.Courtesy graphic

A concern it is difficult for the plan to address is local discomfort with change and overdeveloping a piece of land that feels, to many, like one of the only parts of the city that isn’t subject to the urbanization of the surrounding city.

“I don't know if we need a sports field and playscapes on the south side,” wrote one commenter, who on November 16, held the top comment. “I think they will fall into disrepair quickly and one of the cool things about Zilker is that it's open and natural. It doesn't need to be built up for people to enjoy it. [It]'s just natural and open."

Community members are encouraged to share feedback by commenting on the draft plan and the map, taking the surveys on both pages, and meeting the planning team around town. There are community meetings on December 7 (virtual) and 10 (McBeth Recreation Center), plus six pop-ups between November 17 and December 17.

More information about the Zilker Vision Plan, including overviews, important documents, and community schedules, is available at austintexas.gov. Only a small portion of the information available through the plan is reflected in this article.

Texas Eclipse 2024

On April 8th, 2024, a total eclipse will fill the sky over Texas. During this incredibly rare occurrence, two distinct worlds connect: ours spanning the vast, open terrains of Central Texas, and that of the endless space beyond our planet. It’s at this moment in time that people, technology, music and the arts unite in celebration of this phenomenon.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Dazzling Field of Light illuminates 16 acres of Austin's Wildflower Center

Photo Synthesis

In collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, British artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light is a vast installation of solar powered lights that illuminate 16 acres of the South Austin staple. The exhibition opens September 9 and runs through December.

In collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, British artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light is a vast installation of solar powered lights that illuminate 16 acres of the South Austin staple. The exhibition opens September 9 and runs through December.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos
In collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, British artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light is a vast installation of solar powered lights that illuminate 16 acres of the South Austin staple. The exhibition opens September 9 and runs through December.
In collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, British artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light is a vast installation of solar powered lights that illuminate 16 acres of the South Austin staple. The exhibition opens September 9 and runs through December.
Courtesy of Link & Pin Gallery

Embrace the fall with these 8 enticing Austin exhibits

STATE OF THE ARTS

With the summer behind us (on the calendar at least), the arts in Austin beckon with exhibits to entice all sensibilities and seduce the senses. Starting with major star power, the Harry Ransom Center reveals their Robert Di Niro collection encapsulating costumes, props, film, and video in the exhibit, “Stories to Tell.” Meanwhile 28,000 stemmed spheres subtly lit by solar powered fiber-optics will illuminate the Arboretum at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center with Bruce Munro’s “Field of Light.” From works by the first female industrial photographer of India on display at Link & Pin, to artist Jenn Hassin who transforms military uniforms and more into beautiful, raw memorials, there is much to sustain the soul artistically this September.

Flatbed
“Connie Arismendi: Everyone” — Now through October 15
“Everyone” is an exhibition of new monoprints and etchings by Connie Arismendi. In residence at Flatbed since 2021, she has created a series of large 42” x 55” monoprints and a suite of three chine collé varied edition etchings. Arismendi is a nationally recognized sculptor and installation artist living and working in Austin. Her artwork is shaped by the profound emotional and intellectual concepts of family, memory, and spirituality. She is known for innovative projects, from large-scale architectural installations to freestanding sculptures that combine a wide variety of materials.

Ivester Contemporary
“Jenn Hassin: Pulp Alchemy” — Now through October 15
Texas born artist, Jenn Hassin has spent her career collecting clothing and personal artifacts with embedded histories of trauma. The work in her latest exhibition features military uniforms from all six branches of service, medical uniforms, children’s clothing, blue jeans, carved bone, and porcelain. As a United States Air Force veteran and rape survivor, Hassin’s main intention is to transform the materials she uses from her own past and the materials donated to her by fellow vets and survivors of trauma into beautiful, raw memorials of these stories. Her work invites the viewer to visually sift through the pulped materials and contemplate the history of the people who wore each item.

Link & Pin Gallery
“Rama Tiru: Beyond” — September 8 through October 1
“Beyond” is comprised of Rama Tiru’s new work and features digital, mostly surreal paintings, both full color and black and white. As a photographer, painter and author, Tiru was the “first woman industrial photographer of India.” Her images evolve from her dreams, memories, and collective experiences from the past, “Beyond” the experiences of today. She starts with a blank canvas and without a plan, she creates an organic image. When she is satisfied with one of the iterations of the image, she completes the image, then adds Augmented Reality to provide “a technological sparkle.”

Assemblage Contemporary Craftsman Gallery
“A Sense of Place: Works by Debbie Carroll” — September 9 through September 30
Initially a jewelry designer, Debbie Carroll came to painting later in life after an abstract watercolor painting class in Taos. Inspired by the landscape, she paints scenes of her travels, but is equally inspired by what she sees in her own back yard of West Texas. In this exhibit, Carroll is painting places that resonate with her — “places that reach out and beg to be painted.” Inspired by places that hold memories, a particular light or color, she wants to instill a sense of place in her paintings and to transport the viewer there.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
“Bruce Munro: Field of Light” — September 9 through October 30
Illuminating 16 acres in the Arboretum at the Wildflower Center, “Field of Light” is a display of 28,000 stemmed spheres that are subtly lit by solar powered fiber-optics showcasing the intersection of art, technology, and nature. British artist Bruce Munro is best known for immersive large-scale light-based installations inspired largely by his interest in shared human experience. Recording ideas and images in sketchbooks has been his practice for over 30 years, noting his own response to stimuli such as music, literature, science, and the world around him for reference, reflection, and subject matter. The installation unites with the outdoors, celebrating the natural topography of the landscape and creating an immersive and emotional experience for guests.

Harry Ransom Center
“Stories to Tell” — September 10 through January 29
Since 2006, actor Robert De Niro has donated his archive documenting his cinematic career, adding to the Center’s vast collection of records and objects related to landmark films in American culture. Covering many aspects of filmmaking — from scripts and production records to costumes, props, film and video — the Robert De Niro Papers are unlike any other film archive. This exhibit examines the actor's early career, from his time at the Dramatic Workshop and Stella Adler's acting classes, to the plays and films that marked his initial successes and learning experiences, to collaborations and friendships that last to this day. The display highlights De Niro's work in films including Bang the Drum Slowly (1973), Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather, Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), and Raging Bull (1980), among many others. What stands out is not only De Niro's talent but also his work ethic, his resourcefulness, and his devotion and dedication to his craft.

The Contemporary
“In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive and You Were Full of Joy” — September 17 through February 12, 2023
This exhibit title comes from a work by the prominent feminist artist Jenny Holzer. With works by eight female artists — Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Adriana Corral, Ellie Ga, Juliana Huxtable, Tala Madani, Danielle Mckinney, Wendy Red Star, and Clare Rojas, along with engagements by Jenny Holzer — this exhibition grapples with a range of critical issues such as societal inequities and envision pathways toward a new and better future. Confronting identity and history in ways informed by feminism and other political thought, their works evaluate systems that suppress and exclude those whose lives are not privileged within the dominant patriarchal power structure.

Visual Arts Center
“Social Fabric: Art and Activism in Contemporary Brazil” — September 23 through March 10, 2023
“Social Fabric” brings together the work of ten artists who reflect upon the long-standing histories of oppressive power structures in the territory now known as Brazil. Blurring the line between art and activism, these artists contribute to both local and global conversations about the state of democracy, racial injustice, and the violence inflicted by the nation-state. In so doing, they ask us to consider how the agendas and policies of those in power are visually articulated in public spaces and inscribed in official narratives. Rosana Paulino’s Tecido Social (2010), from which the exhibition takes its title, provides a timely roadmap to approach these ideas while inviting us to imagine anew, stitch by stitch, a more equitable future. Spanning installation, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, and video, the exhibition unfolds over five galleries.

Roiling Sea16x20 by Rama Tiru, on display at the Link & Pin Gallery.

Courtesy of Link & Pin Gallery
Roiling Sea16x20 by Rama Tiru, on display at the Link & Pin Gallery.
Photo courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

6 perfect weekend getaways to plan in Texas this fall

Post-Summer Plans

With the end of this brutal summer finally (hopefully?!) in sight, it is time to start planning for fall. Call it second summer, as in still plenty warm for enjoying the outdoors but no longer hot enough to melt pavement. Here are six places perfect for a much-needed autumn getaway. Take one (or more) as your just reward for surviving another scorching Texas summer.

Lake Bastrop North Shore Park
This LCRA park in Bastrop hugs the shore of a constant temperature lake for swimming, paddling (canoe, kayak, SUP, and Corcl rentals available), or fishing (with a boat ramp and pier). The park features almost 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, including one connecting to Lake Bastrop South Shore Park, and a sand volleyball court, too. Stay in one of 5 Airstream campers, 2 cabins, or 6 safari style tents. All have grills for cooking and decks for enjoying views of the lake and the stars while sipping a cold one. Other dining and entertainment options in nearby Bastrop, including a distillery and several breweries and taprooms. Neighbor's Kitchen & Yard and Iron Bridge Icehouse, both on the banks of the Colorado River, serve food, craft beer and cocktails, and live music.

Lake Georgetown
At this Corps of Engineers reservoir, choose from four campgrounds with RV and tent camping options. Enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking (rentals available at Russell Park), and hiking. The crown jewel is the Good Water Trail, a 26-mile loop around the entire lake through a variety of terrain, with multiple trailheads offering the opportunity for shorter hikes. Dining options, wine bars, breweries, and other lodging options are nearby in Georgetown. Check out Barking Armadillo Brewing and, on the courthouse square, three wine tasting rooms and multiple dining options.

Matagorda Bay Nature Park
Located where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico, Matagorda Bay offers miles of uncrowded beaches for combing and wetlands for paddling. Rent beach chairs, wagons, and kayaks (guided tours available), play miniature golf, fish on the beach or pier, or birdwatch. In addition to Airstream rentals and camping and RV sites, visitors now can rent one of 10 new bungalows that sleep from six to eight people, with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor decks, gas grills, and fantastic views.

Port Aransas
Miles of beach, without summer crowds: What else do you need? Well, perhaps a place to stay, and you’ll find every option from fancy condos to kitschy cottages in this seaside town. Plenty of dining and entertainment options, too. Try the local seafood at places like La Playa Mexican Grill, Fins Grill & Icehouse, and Seafood and Spaghetti Works. Have a cold one at Bernie’s Beach House, the Port A Beer Hut, or Moby Dick’s. Rent bicycles, golf carts, surfboards, and kayaks at Island Surf Rentals (check out the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail). Or just sit on the beach.

Painted Sky Inn
Located on a tranquil inlet of Lake Buchanan, this waterfront property offers rooms for two to ten people with kitchens and lake views, as well as a tiny home and a vintage Airstream. Amenities include fire pits, BBQ grills, a fishing pier, and canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park (day pass reservations recommended), or tour several nearby wineries (Torr Na Lochs and Fall Creek, to name two) and breweries (Save the World Brewing and Double Horn Brewing), plus dining options in Burnet and Marble Falls.

Frio River
The aptly-named Frio River is famous for swimming and tubing in the summer. The most popular way to enjoy the river is Garner State Park, but getting weekend reservations can be tough. Another option is Neal’s Lodges, a sprawling family-owned complex that includes 81 cabins, 10 lodges, 17 condos, 45 RV hook-ups, and 16 tent sites, plus a country store and dining room. See a bat emergence at nearby Frio Cave or a bit farther away in Kickapoo Cavern State Park. Saturdays are for fine dining at The Laurel Tree and diner fare at Lost Maples Café, both in Utopia, and Concan has several eateries as well (some close after the summer season, so check websites).

Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park near Marble Falls.

Photo courtesy of Visit Marble Falls
Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park near Marble Falls.
Photo courtesy of the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society

Austin's cactus and succulent people gather for fall show at Zilker Botanical Garden

Grow Together

Whether you were a pandemic collector or a pandemic neglecter, odds are there’s room for a few new additions, and your knowledge is always evolving. There will be plenty of adoptable plants, both rare and super accessible, at the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society (ACSS) Fall Show and Sale on September 3 and 4, plus an opportunity to meet and join Austin’s spikiest social club.

The sale invites 10 Texas and New Mexico vendors to the Garden Center at the Zilker Botanical Garden. The little building on top of the hill is tucked away from the highway and Barton Springs Road in the trees, with access to the rest of the grounds for a stroll after scoring some new photosynthesizing friends.

East Austin Succulents always has a big presence at the sale, completely taking over one end of the showroom with showpieces (priced accordingly) as well as tiny, cup-of-coffee priced finds. Rick Van Dyke brings his glazed pottery in earthy tones and organic forms — some look like fossil beds, and others even have eyes and feet. Cactus Data Plants visits from New Mexico with exotic offerings, and A Bugs Home nursery joins from San Antonio.

Many of the stores have little to no online presence apart from ACSS shows, so this annual chance to see their goods is irreplaceable. A $1 raffle every hour will hook visitors up with plants offered by each vendor day-of (so no one knows what’s coming until they get there), and a silent auction, which in the past has included historical books, socks, and a Madagascar palm (Pachypodium lamerei).

ACSS president Sara Sturtevant had no plants when she joined the club, which was founded before she was born, in 1975. She started collecting through the monthly plant raffle to close each meeting, and more seasoned members would give her advice on how to care for her prizes. One of the most valuable pieces of advice she received — advice we all receive over and over, but may never accept — was that even the best growers kill plants sometimes.

“I have a nice little greenhouse now, and I'm very much involved in the community and in plant collecting, but I didn't start that way,” says Sturtevant. “And that's okay. If you have an interest, you should come out.”

Although the club includes nationally-known educators and traders, it also contains part-time hobbyists and, through family memberships, people too young to tell you what a plant is. Sturtevant estimates that the age demographics are evenly split above and below 50, and include active members from high school, college, and deep into retirement. Plants may never have been cooler in the United States than they are now (although the 70s won’t go down without a fight), so membership is booming, and members themselves are what Sturtevant calls a “hip crowd.”

Before the pandemic, roughly 60 people would attend in-person meetings. Those numbers have been slashed in half, but overall membership actually grew to 165. Now some events are available virtually. Regular programming from the past four months has included a workshop focusing on the Haworthia genus (those pointy, fleshy crowns that are sometimes translucent); a presentation on better plant photography; a talk by former Colorado Cactus & Succulent Society president Jackson Burkholder on Sulcorebutia in its native Bolivia; and an exploration of plant and animal life in South Texas by ​​paleontologist and ACSS member Kenneth Bader, who also manages of the Osteological Preparation Lab at UT Austin.

The society’s biggest members-only event is its annual holiday party, which before the pandemic was at a restaurant and has since transitioned to a member’s home. A potluck event in more ways than one, the party turns organically into its own mini market. “People back up their cars and have their own little plant sale, or a trade, or giveaway,” says Sturtevant.

For hands-on, site-specific activities, the group has volunteered to clean up the cactus garden at Zilker, and takes “field trips” to hike and photograph native species (never removing them). They’ve visited Big Bend on past trips, and next up is a smaller private ranch trip. As any social club could hope for, members do connect and hang out independently outside of the group.

Sturtevant considers the plant show a must-see for nostalgic Austinites and visitors. “It's been happening forever at Zilker Botanical Gardens, and it’s kind of a staple in Austin culture. If you want a piece of old Austin, this is it.”

The Austin Cactus & Succulent Society Fall Show and Sale will take place at the Garden Center at Zilker Botanical Gardens on September 3 and 4, from 10 am to 5 pm. It is open to the public. Members ($15 annually, $20 for families including housemates) are invited to free events once a month and receive a newsletter detailing events, society business, and plant thoughts. Sign up at austincactusandsucculentsociety.wildapricot.org.

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H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.