The stone exterior of a hotel
Photo by Robert Gomez
A woman makes a cocktail behind a wooden bar with large blue barstools
IL CUcuLo bar at Hotel Lulu Photo by Robert Gomez

Hotel Lulu

Round Top

Lulu is a flirt in the best kind of way. She makes you feel special, pampered, like it’s time to kick up your heels, forget city life, and linger with a book of poems on the porch. Even in your hotel confirmation email she calls you “darling,” as in: “Friendly reminder that we don’t have a fitness center—that’s the point, darling!”

“As soon as you walk onto the property at Hotel Lulu, you feel the presence of the character we created, Lulu,” hotel marketing director Matt Johns says. “She is the personification of the Italian art of ‘il dolce far niente,’ or the sweetness of doing nothing, and the property was designed to encourage that.”

Each guest room is an artful merging of Round Top farmhouse—original floor-to-ceiling wide-plank timber and antiques—and swanky comforts like canopy beds, lavish drapes, and Le Labo bath products. By the hotel herb garden, the pool beckons. Surrounded by oaks and wisteria, it’s the only pool downtown, making a cool plunge even more delicious.

The flirtation continues at the hotel bar and restaurant, epicenters of Round Top social life, even when the hotel isn’t bursting with guests during the twice-yearly antiques fair. Lulu’s, an Italian eatery in an early 1800s stone farmhouse, seduces with dishes like cacio e pepe and tender braised short ribs over polenta. The hotel bar, IL CUcuLo, features whimsical pink painted birds and bougainvillea adorning the walls. It’s the kind of place you want to linger, slow down, and make a new friend. As Lulu would say, “That’s the point, darling.”

Rooms start at $250/night.
204 E. Mill St., Round Top.
979-401-3272;
hotellulutx.com

Playful components at these one-of-a-kind hotels include firehouse-themed rooms, an alpine rollercoaster, and a secret library bar.

A rich and warm guest room with wood accents and gold fixtures
Hotel Lulu Photo by Robert Gomez

Also Check Out

Camp Fimfo

New Braunfels

Play is the name of the game at Camp Fimfo, regardless of your age. The New Braunfels location has Texas’ first alpine coaster, plus a giant jump pillow, rental golf carts, daily crafts, a waterpark, a swim-up bar, and lots of other amenities aimed at spreading family-style joy. —Cynthia J. Drake

Cabins start at $125; tent and RV sites are also available.
520 Whitewater Way, New Braunfels.
830-743-9803; campfimfo.com

The exterior of a stone building with chairs on a porch
Photo by Robert Gomez
The interior of a room with wooden furniture and a large driftwood chandelier
Contigo Ranch Photo by Robert Gomez

Contigo Ranch

Fredericksburg

During a sunset walk at Contigo Ranch, you might lock eyes with a 14-point whitetail buck before he dashes into the limestone caprock behind your cottage. Or maybe you’ll catch sight of cottontails darting across your trail into tawny grasses. And if the weather gods allow, you might be lucky enough to hear the slow roll of distant thunder against the backdrop of a double rainbow so pretty it could lift the gloomiest mood.

Contigo, a 300-acre working family ranch about 6 miles from Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, sets the stage for Mother Nature to do her thing. Owners Claudia and Frede Edgerton have assured that the lodging—nine white contemporary cottages, three historic hand-hewn Kentucky log cabins, the original 19th-century German ranch house, and a stone building evocative of a Spanish mission—blends in with the oak- and cactus-covered landscape. The Bluff, the ranch’s hilltop perch and one of the highest points in the area, is a primo picnic spot that lets you soak in the staggering vistas of the surrounding ridges and canyons.

“This is not just a piece of property,” Frede says. “It’s a working ranch where we live, and you can feel it when you walk around. For my family and friends, the land brings us together, and we want other people to have that feeling.”

The interior design of the dwellings feels like an extension of the land. Earthy Equipale chairs, oversized white couches, and big wooden tables fit for meals with friends bring in the natural colors and materials of the outdoors. And thoughtful comforts like soaking tubs big enough for two and pecan oil bath products add just the right touch of luxury.

Rooms start at $220/night
13454 Lower Crabapple Road, Fredericksburg.
830-685-3464;
contigoranchfredericksburg.com

Deer, rabbits, and horses are among the animals you might see at these stays featuring abundant wildlife.

Two people sit in outdoor furniture around a stone firepit
The patio at Contigo Ranch Photo by Robert Gomez

Also Check Out

JL Bar Ranch Resort & Spa

Sonora

An illustration of a woman in a black cowboy hat riding a horse
Located on the border of the Hill Country and West Texas, this luxury lodge resort offers a full slate of activities, including shooting and archery, guided hunting trips, horseback riding, and even horse psychology classes. Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant and spa and a private airport for easy traveling. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $449.
3500 Private Road 2254, Sonora.
855-414-3337; jlbar.com

Illustration By Lauren Tamaki

The March 2024 cover of Texas Highways Magazine

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