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With a considerable cow to person ratio and a population of 90, the pastoral town of Round Top, Texas might register as sleepy to the uninitiated. But to the thousands of furniture dealers and design lovers who make the pilgrimage here twice a year for the town’s famous Antiques Fair, this is a sprawling treasure chest of a place. Stretching across 17 miles, the Round Top Antiques Fair hosts over 800 antique vendors from all over the world. From European collectibles to vintage everything (cowboy boots, jewelry, taxidermy, and beyond), the visual stimulation is endless.
And while the fair (whose fall market is on right now!) is undoubtedly the most action-packed time to visit, Round Top offers a bucolic bliss not unlike the Cotwolds the rest of the year. A handful of artfully curated stores are open year-round, there's an impressive amount of options for good food, and, most excitingly, there are a handful of cozy-chic lodgings for design lovers to chose from. Ahead, the 4 best places for aesthetes of all creeds in Round Top.
The brainchild of Austin-based artist Sheila Youngblood, Rancho Pillow is Round Top’s reigning crown jewel. (Quite literally: There's a vintage crown from a 1940s Best Western sign attached to a neon sculpture reading La Reina on the grounds.) Much more than just a hotel, Rancho Pillow is an eclectic experience rooted in art and nature. Situated across 20 acres of farmland, the ranch's accommodations consist of multiple guesthouses, each of which has been outfitted in art, textiles, and furniture from Youngblood’s travels around the world. Amenities include a saltwater pool, handwoven caftans made by an artisan Sheila met in Morocco, fully equipped kitchens in some guest rooms, and a recently added kitchen house where the property is able to arrange for a private chef.
A colorful oasis for creative types, Rancho Pillow has hosted all kinds of artistic experiences over the years. The property has served as a recording studio to various musicians, a camp for film students run by Youngblood herself, and, for the ongoing Antiques Fair, is the co-host of A Current Affair's first vintage show ever held outside of New York or LA. Guests can rent out each individual house or Rancho Pillow in its entirety, which sleeps 30 people altogether. For larger groups, bespoke glamping experiences can also be arranged out in the fields.
Only a stone's throw from town square, Hotel Lulu is a newly-opened boutique hotel from wife-and-husband duo Cinda and Armando Palacios (whose adjacent Restaurant Lulu has long been a Round Top fixture). Evoking understated luxury that feels akin to design hotels in the British countryside, Hotel Lulu is set on grounds that include an herb garden, a spa offering treatments with 111SKIN products, a cocktail bar that evokes retro Italian glamour, and a stunning pool whose view of a neighboring barn makes for a dreamy juxtaposition.
The amount of design details to ogle over here is vast. Highlights include Pakistani wedding blankets made by Studio Imil, a textile studio that works with artisans in Pakistan's Cholistan Desert, as well as a wrap-around mural by Houston-based artist Andrea Condara in the hotel's Il Cucolo (Italian for cuckoo) bar. Guests traveling in larger groups or after something more secluded should note the Hotel Lulu Annex, which houses 3 additional private bungalows.
If Wander Inn sounds familiar to anyone who watches HGTV, it’s because sisters Amie and Jolie Sikes of Junk Gypsy fame opened up this quaint bed and breakfast back in 2017. Located in 2 buildings adjacent to their famous Junk Gypsy store, the inn is a cozy, western-feeling compound made up of 8 individually designed rooms. Unique amenities include a record player and albums in each room.
The Vintage Round Top
Longtime Round Top shoppers (and wife-and-husband duo) Paige and Smoot Hull opened up the first guesthouse comprising The Vintage Round Top back in 2012. In the years since, the property’s presence has expanded both physically and virtually: Another house and two 400 square-foot cottages have been added, and The Vintage Round Top's dreamy modern-vintage aesthetic has garnered Instagram fame. A blog and online store for immersing in the Hull’s aesthetic have been set up as well. Guests can rent out each vacation house individually or altogether. PS: The larger two houses have chef’s kitchens and bathtubs large enough to fit two people.
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