Texas Surprises Shake Up Top 100 Hotels in the World Rankings
Quirky Austin Retreat Shocks the Luxury PowersBY Shelby Hodge // 07.12.19
Hotel Emma’s library stocks more than 3,700 volumes from the collection of cultural historian Sherry Kafka Wagner.
Austin's Hotel Eleven rocks national and international hotel rankings. (Hotel Eleven photo)
The Hotel Eleven bar ranks among the liveliest in East Austin. (Hotel Eleven photo)
Resident feline Louis Vuitton reigns over the hotel patio and occasionally makes an appearance indoors. (Hotel Eleven photo)
Hotel Eleven Crash Pads offer 230 square feet of cozy luxury. (Hotel Eleven photo)
Most rooms, including suites, have balconies with views of Austin. (Hotel Eleven photo)
The rooftop terrace offers 360 degree views of Austin. (Hotel Eleven photo)
Orange and blue are the signature colors of Austin's Hotel Eleven. (Hotel Eleven photo)
The lobby of Hotel Emma reveals a welcome sense of it past as a brewery. (Photo by Nicole Franzen)
Architectural details from the original brewery give Hotel Emma its special character. (Photo by Nicole Franzen)
One of Hotel Emma’s 146 rooms, this one with a glazed black bed inspired by the artistry of the Herter Brothers.
Hotel Emma’s guest bathrooms feature custom blue-and-cream tile with a rustic surface developed by Roman and Williams design firm.
Along with the palaces of India and the five-star hotels of Paris, a boutique hotel in Austin finds itself named among the Top 100 hotels in the world, according to Travel & Leisure magazine readers. That same hotel is one of two in Texas that made the list of the 16 best hotels in the United States. And you will never guess which proud Lone Star properties were heralded in the magazine’s World’s Best Awards, which were revealed on Wednesday.
If you’re betting on Dallas’ glamorous Adolphus or the Mansion on Turtle Creek or Houston’s Hotel Granduca or the hipster Hotel ZaZa, don’t buy a lottery ticket this weekend. You would be so wrong. Travel & Leisure readers have proved to be a quirky bunch anointing the 14-room Hotel Eleven in Austin as No. 36 in the World’s Best 100 Hotels and No. 2 in the Best U.S. City Hotels category.
Readers rated their faves on facilities, location, service, food and overall value.
The boutique hotel that opened in East Austin in 2016 is the handiwork of husband and wife architect Mark Vornberg and Shelly Leibham, who traveled extensively studying hotels before designing their own. Hotel Eleven is replete with luxury touches including Sferra linens, Turkish cotton bath towels, mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs and all the five-star amenities one would demand. Rooms range from the very cozy 230 square foot Crash Pads to the Junior Prime Suites which double that size. Most of the rooms have balconies and all have access to the rooftop with 360 degree views of Austin.
“Unbelievable,” Leibham tells Austin’s KXAN. “I thought it was a typo honestly. It was shocking.”
Indeed, Hotel Eleven bested The Lanesborough in London, the Auberge Resort Collection’s Grace Hotel in Santorini and the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, among other outstanding properties worldwide.
Travel & Leisure readers also blessed Hotel Eleven with the No. 2 slot in the best U.S. city hotel rankings, second only to the Inn of the Five Graces in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it beats out the swank Lowell in New York and the Peninsula Beverly Hills among other impressive properties.
Joining Hotel Eleven among the Top 15 U.S. city hotels is San Antonio’s Hotel Emma, which was ranked No. 13. Built in 1894, the former Pearl’s Brewhouse is widely noted for its luxury, service and unique design embracing many of the breweries original architectural features. Hotel Emma has been reaping adoration almost since its opening in 2015 having received honors including The Harper Report’s Grand Award and in February U.S. News & World Report dubbed it the No. 1 hotel in Texas.