Ask any Austinite and they’ll tell you: the skyline has never looked so different. It’s truly a remarkable one to take in, different from most medium-sized cities, if only because of the abundant greenery that runs through and around it. Few cities have such a sense of nature embedded in their identity, and few hotels are able to combine luxury with this natural, easy-going vibe.
That’s why the latest selection for Room Key, Beast Travel’s series on exciting new hotels, is the Loren at Lady Bird Lake, which has one of the city's best new rooftops and unobstructed views across this bustling, fast-growing hub deep in the heart of Texas.
Opened in October 2022, the property is the newest from the Loren Hotels and Residences Brand, which opened the first luxury hotel in Bermuda in 2016, and is the first in the U.S. for the brand.
Born from the rubble of a Taco Cabana, which for the uninitiated, is a Texas chain akin to Taco Bell (but with better margaritas), the Loren at Lady Bird Lake is adorned with modern, Western decor. You get the sense that cowboy boots would be permitted, if dressed up with a sports coat, as you stand checking in, with deer antlers looming overhead at the front desk.
Throughout the lobby, precise prints of plants adorn the walls and wooden frames light up the room numbers, architecturally resembling tree house beams. The hotel has 108 rooms and suites, all boasting striking lake and city views. Each room is simple, uncluttered, best described as business chic with a subtle flair of the natural surroundings brought indoors. The carpeting is, notably green, reminiscent of an aerial view of the greenbelt, and the furniture all has subtle touches of wood and leather. It’s like glamping, only more luxurious.
Of course the main attraction of the room is the floor to ceiling windows and the balcony, which offers sweeping views of acres of verdant parkland, Lady Bird Lake, and the Austin skyline.
Similar views are accessible on the eighth floor, where most people will end up, whether they’re staying at the hotel or not. After shooting up a glass elevator, you arrive at the hotel restaurant, Nido, which sports the best of a modern American menu with Texas Hill Country terroir, all in a buzzy rooftop atmosphere. In the restaurant dining room there are two Olafur Elision color wheels, both of which I saw several guests get lost in, and are unquestionably reminiscent of Ellsworth Kelly’s work on display at the Blanton, just a few blocks uptown.
The only feature which comes close to rivaling the sweeping views is the location itself. The hotel is only steps away from over 10 miles of trails encircling Lady Bird Lake and a day full of outdoor adventure and activities. Whether you spend the day paddleboarding, kayaking, renting a boat, or just cycling around the trail, there’s access to all of the city's best destinations via the trail.
After a day out on the lake, you can hop right off your paddleboard and seek out some relaxation at the Milk + Honey Spa in the hotel lobby, which features a calming and design-forward environment.
Or you can head to the rooftop bar for a margarita and soak in the sunset.
Rooms at the Loren at Lady Bird Lake start at $311 a night.