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Culture / Travel

New Hill Country Resort Channels the Northeast’s Best Lake Hotels

The Next Great Austin Getaway?

BY Jim Kastleman // 10.15.15

We love contradictions: Boho chic, T-shirts paired with Posen skirts, Michael Graves designs at Target.

How about Mies-meets-Hill Country? The new Oohla Bean inn and resort in Driftwood, just outside of Austin, is anything but high-low: It’s high. Creator/proprietor Robin Garrison has turned a multi-year labor of love into an exquisite, modern (Mies-ish), homey get-away in the context of the great lodges dotting the lake regions of the Northeast.

Six suites offer slight variations — walk-in shower versus soaking tub versus fireplace. All six open spaciously to an archetypal Hill Country view.

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Garrison is particularly proud of the 65,000-gallon rainwater cistern. In the morning, our two-couple crew short-hopped into Wimberley for vintage Texas shopping, picked up snacks and scurried back to picnic by the large limestone-lined organic pool, frequently taking a few steps to the well-stocked honor bar to refresh cocktails. (They don’t swarm you with valets, but they’re there when you need them).

Johnny Cash was on the iTunes speaker, and that night, after a golf-cart tour of the property, we huddled in the screened gazebo for a lovely candlelit dinner prepared by the innkeeper.

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Chairs as art at Oohla Bean

Between courses, we wandered into the kitchen — a space that would make any gastronome salivate — and spotted a unique set of vintage wines. A 2005 Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria caught my eye simply because the bottle was dainty and dusty — which to me has always equaled “must be good … must have.” Robin explained how she picked it up on a trip to Italy a few years back, and at the end of the meal, it flowed into history as our dessert wine.

Go with your mate, go with your friends or go it alone … it’s a bit of modernist heaven.

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