Guests of the Inn at Dos Brisas on a trail ride during wildflower season.
Stables at the inn
The Inn at Dos Brisas’ horse-drawn carriage meanders past pastures and organic gardens.
One of pastry chef Tanya Herrin’s many dessert offerings.
The living room of one of the Inn’s fi ve haciendas.
The rose garden is a popular spot for wedding ceremonies and intimate events.
Eleven years ago, Doug and Jennifer Bosch began an ambitious journey to transform their bucolic 313-acre family compound, located in the rolling hills of Washington County, just one hour outside Houston’s city limits, into a luxury countryside respite. Millions of dollars went into the development of The Inn at Dos Brisas, a destination hotel and restaurant, which has earned not only the lauded Relais & Chateaux hotelier and restaurant distinction, but also the only Five-Star restaurant honors in Texas awarded by Forbes Travel Guide.
I’ve been fortunate enough to find myself here on more than a few occasions — amid the water oaks and meadows, sunbathing at the edge of the infinity pool, the sprawl of pretty fenced horse pens stretched out before me. Recently I sent my parents here for their anniversary, and now I’ve brought my husband, William. After more than a year searching real estate listings within an-hour-and-a-half distance of our Houston high-rise aerie, we recently settled into a second home not far from Dos Brisas. As we readied to empty boxes and set up our furnishings, we escaped to this idyllic refuge to refuel during the mighty move.
It had been more than five years since my last visit. Back then, the resort’s geothermal pond was simply a hole waiting to be filled, the sprawling state-of-the-art greenhouse was being built and five stunning Spanish-style haciendas (constructed at a whopping million dollars apiece) had yet to be fully erected. Today, accommodations range from a generous 800-square-foot casita (which sleeps two and can adjoin another casita, duplex style, to sleep four) to a swank hacienda measuring 3,000 square feet inside and out, with a screen porch and floating bed (I could nap away for hours there), Frette linens, soaking tub, outdoor shower, private heated plunge pool and two fireplaces.
Sure, you can simply venture here to relax and tour the property in your private golf cart (which is included in every room package). But you can also throw yourself into sporting activities ranging from carriage and trail rides to horseback riding lessons, clay shooting, fishing in the heart-shaped stocked pond, cycling, hayrides, farm tours, yoga and even a civilized round of croquet. But many of us are drawn to Dos Brisas for a meal (or, honestly, many of them). Here you’ll find an authentic farm-to-table culinary experience like nowhere else. While other chefs work to forge relationships with area farmers, chef Cory Untch has the bounty of 42 acres of USDA-certified farmlands just beyond his kitchen door. With more than 400 varieties of produce picked year-round on property, this experience can appropriately be labeled seed-to-table dining.
While most chefs create seasonal menus that typically change four to six times a year, this ambitious young chef might have mere weeks, even days before his fairy-tale melons or tiny heirloom varietal of bing cherries elapse their season bloom, making it time to sweep that dish off the menu in favor of a new one. Course by course, Untch brightens the pristine white plates with dishes that engage the eye as well as the palate, such as Great Plains bison with warm burrata cheese or fried green tomatoes with a dashi-spiked tomato broth. For a cheese course, the French blue classic fourme d’ambert is served on a slate alongside house-made flatbread and blackberries just off the prickly bushes.
As new part-time residents in neighboring Austin County, where white-tablecloth-cloaked restaurants of this ilk aren’t common, this is the place we’ll meet friends from Round Top, Fayetteville, Chappell Hill and Brenham. Once seated in the elegantly simple dining room with cocktail in hand (mixed with tinctures infused with herbs and such from the gardens), we’ll choose between the three-course prix-fix menu ($69 per person before wine or gratuity) or the more elaborate seven-course tasting menu ($125 plus $110 for wine pairings chosen from the 7,000-bottle cellar managed by Thomas Perez).
Did we mention the $49 brunch on Sundays? That’s always a wonderful lazy Sunday option, too. But don’t wait for an invitation to your chum’s country house to make your way here. Plan your own getaway (or Uber it for the evening) and retreat to a place close to home that feels very far away from it all.