Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Hotel San Jose
Over the weekend, my husband and I decided to drive over to Austin; at the last minute. Saturday morning we just decided to take-off, of course it took us about 3 1/2 hours to just "take-off". As it turns out, the weather turned bad, and we had to deal with pouring rain. So because of the rain, I wasn't able to do much on Saturday. (For my friends over at Home Girls, I wanted to come by; but just ran out of time). Luckily, Sunday was a truly glorious day. I drove over to the shops on South Congress (probably the funkiest part of Austin). I've been anxiously awaiting an opportunity to write about the Hotel San Jose. This place is so cool and beautiful, I've never seen a hotel quite like it. The Spanish colonial hotel, was originally built in 1936, and was a bustling business until the 1960's. For decades afterwards, the hotel was used for everything from a brothel, bible school, and a shelter. A few years ago the amazing architects of Lake/Flato,reworked the structure into the funky and serene hotel it is now.
I need to add that if anyone is planning to stay at the San Jose, don't assume that a room will be available at the last minute (trust me on this). Because our trip was so last minute, I was not able to get a reservation. So, instead I walked in and snapped a few photos, including a couple of shots taken on the sly. When you first walk on to the grounds, there is a sort of maze of courtyards, covered in ivy and native plants. Even though the hotel is directly on busy Congress street, the courtyards are very quiet and peaceful. I love the very creative use of colors and materials both inside and out. There is an art gallery on the site, that features a rotating selection of artists. Also, when you are needing your latte fix, there is Jo's coffee directly next door. Hopefully, next time we drive over to Austin, I will do a little bit better job of planning ahead. If I ever do, I will be able to write more about what the service and atmosphere are like.