Published in 405HOME
One question has shaped the experiences offered at Hotel Ella: What would Ella do? Hotel developers believe the former lady of the house would have taken her afternoon tea on the veranda. She would lounge among fragrant jasmine vines by the pool. She would curate interesting art for her home. She would host a dinner party with her husband, Goodall, followed by cocktails in the parlor. And she would plant azaleas everywhere.
A master of décor, gardening and hospitality, Ella Newsome Wooten is the inspiration behind Austin’s Hotel Ella. The boutique hotel has 47 rooms on the property with nine housed in a historic mansion.
In 1900 Thomas Dudley Wooten built and gave this magnificent building as a wedding gift to his son, Goodall. While the large structure is certainly impressive, it was Goodall’s bride, Ella, who made the new house a home. Ella hired Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus as her interior designer, and she bailed a master carver (of Biltmore esteem) out of jail to work for her. Today, 10 hand-carved columns surround the wrap-around porch, making a grand first impression and beckoning you to come inside.
While many historical elements remain intact, a north wing was added recently to provide more rooms. The transition is seamless, however, as the new building’s interiors were fashioned to match those in the main home. Book a poolside room to lounge on your own personal patio, or ask about the mansion petite suite, which offers prime balcony access.
For an afternoon treat, come enjoy the hotel’s weekend tea service, which features Austin-based Zhi Teas, traditional sandwiches and dainty sweets. For heartier meals, Goodall’s restaurant onsite features elevated yet approachable southern cuisine. The most popular item is the brisket burger, a mouthwatering combo of ground brisket, Munster cheese and pickled red onion. Ella is credited with bringing azaleas to the area, so it’s appropriate to sip an “Azalea” in her honor. This refreshing cocktail mixes Texas whiskey with lemon, simple, blueberries and mint.
When in Austin, do as Ella did: Retreat, relax and raise a glass to the good life. If these are the experiences you seek while traveling, Hotel Ella won’t disappoint.