Do y’all remember last October when Brandon and I spent a few days in Chicago, and I left singing the praises of Hotel Lincoln? After that hotel experience, I was almost certain that it would be years before I found any hotel that even came close – but in less than a year I discovered one of the most spectacular hotels…and in my own backyard. Literally. I’m talking about Hotel Saint Cecilia, a quaint little property located in the heart of Austin on South Congress. While Hotel Saint Cecilia is, in fact, a hotel, calling it that just doesn’t quite seem to do the place justice. Paradise seems like a better name – if Adam & Eve existed in modern times, I imagine Hotel Saint Cecilia would be their Eden. I’m not kidding, y’all, it’s that wonderful.
I know this as fact because earlier this summer my company decided to have our annual summer retreat at Hotel Saint Cecilia. Upon arrival, I knew I was in for a treat when I walked it and the hotel grounds smelled like a combination of a sweet candle and my favorite yoga studio. It made the entire hotel grounds seem as if it was situated in some faraway lands, and I was totally OK with that. I was convinced it was magic – turns out, the hotel actually had incense burning in the trees. Either way, it was a pleasant way to start my day at the hotel.
We chose Hotel Saint Cecilia after hearing that they had a fabulous pool, and decided there was no better way to spend a day away from the office than lounging poolside. The team all met at one of the hotel’s six poolside bungalows, which was everything you would imagine a bungalow to be – cozy, but spacious quarters, complete with modern chic decor and huge windows that looked out on a gorgeous tree-lined property. It didn’t take me long to realize that if money were no object, this poolside bungalow would have become my permanent residence.
After spending quite some time admiring the beauty of the little bungalow, we changed into our swimsuits and headed down to the pool. You know when you’re looking at design blogs or pictures of people in swanky Vegas hotels, and you see these beautiful pools that look like they were created simply to be in the pages of a vogue magazine? That was Hotel Saint Cecilia’s pool. It wasn’t necessary made for swimming – the long, skinny shape was beautiful, and perfect for our purposes of getting poolside food and drink service and sitting in the pool without actually doing any physical water activity. The light music playing overhead and the trees surrounding the pool made it easy to forget that we were actually smack dab in the middle of Austin rather than lounging at some tropical estate like I imagined.
From experience, I can say that the poolside service is spectacular. No one in our group was ever without a full glass of sangria or Stella in hand, and we had enough cheese and meat on our charcuterie board to feed our small woman army. Plus, later that night when we got hungry for HomeSlice Pizza (a must when you’re hanging out on SoCo), but were too happy in the pool to actually move, the hotel offered to go pick the pizza up for us. WHAT?! Talk about fantastic service.
While waiting for the pizza, we headed back to our rooms to change. Because there were so many of us, the bungalow wasn’t large enough to accommodate, so we also rented one of the hotel’s suites, which are larger rooms connected to the main portion of the hotel. What’s so great about the suites is that each one is styled in a distinctly different way. Our suite – suite 4 – had a deluxe living room, bedroom, and gorgeous bathroom that could only be described as pure luxury (seriously, we’re talking beautiful velvet headboard, ornate furniture, and more). But I haven’t even mentioned the best part about our suite. It came with a private fenced in backyard, southern-style porch, and an outdoor fireplace. Unfortunately, due to the city’s burn ban, we couldn’t roast marshmallows in the fire pit as we had originally intended, but it made for a great area to hang out and play card games.
I went to sleep that night in a bed that felt like clouds and cotton balls and perfection – the bed and accompanying sheets were so wonderful that I basically forgot that I had someone sharing the bed with me. It was a great way to end a heavenly-filled day with my coworkers at Hotel Saint Cecilia.
I can’t even begin to describe how sad I was when it was time for us to check out the next day – it’s quite possible that my feet have never dragged so much in my life. The whole experience was magical and so, so relaxing.
Hotel Saint Cecilia quickly secured its spot as my heaven and happy place, and I’m officially taking up a collection so that I can get enough money to stay there again (unfortunately, the hotel prices tend to run a little out of my normal budget constraints, but I refuse to let that keep my away). What a find.
Have you ever been to Hotel Saint Cecilia? What did you think?