Destination Resort: Rancho Pillow, Texas
Consider a bohemian weekend getaway in Round Top, Texas, at a wonderland of a hotel that welcomes visitors from near and far.
Written By: Trisha Boyer
Rancho Pillow in Round Top, Texas
Following a decade of dinner parties, birthday celebrations, and house concerts beneath the open Texas sky, artist Sheila Youngblood transitioned her family’s bohemian weekend getaway in Round Top, Texas, into a wonderland of a hotel that welcomes visitors from near and far. From the mechanical bull watching over the pasture, to the cluster of oyster shells hanging in the climate-controlled teepee and French linens that adorn a Mexican bed, every inch of Rancho Pillow reflects Youngblood’s design philosophy that “everything belongs.”
At the heart of the grounds stands an 18th century Dutch barn that was moved from upstate New York. Inside, massive hand-hewn timbers live in harmony with 2,500 hand-dipped, gold feathers that embellish the ceiling and giant, gold-leaf murals on the walls. With its state-of-the-art kitchen and ample porch space, The Barn serves as the central gathering space for private events, or it can be rented on its own.
Besides The Barn, there are four additional dwellings available. Whether you slumber with extended family in The Red House, spark romance in The Love Shack, cozy up with the kids in the quirky Tower House, or chill beneath the sacred murals in The Teepee, each property is filled with Youngblood’s colorful curiosities from around the globe.
As night falls, gather around the fire pit or float beneath the moonlight in the heated saltwater pool. With more than 20 acres to explore, Rancho feels intimate or private, depending on your mood. Walking the vast landscape to the swish and sway of wildflowers lets you relish in the simple magic of it all. End your day with a soak in one of the outdoor bathhouse tubs—thick, Turkish towels and a bevy of bath products make for a luxurious farmhouse experience.
Round Top is home to around 90 residents, but there’s plenty to offer those who want to check out the town. For a funky, gourmet lunch experience, try Royers Round Top Café. The Royer family moved to Round Top in 1987 and never looked back. Stick around to enjoy a piece of their famous pie, or walk across the street to their second outpost, Royers Pie Haven, for an extensive selection of sweet and savory pies.
Twice a year, more than 150,000 shoppers descend upon the tiny town to peruse miles of tented treasures at the Original Round Top Antiques Fair (one of the top antique markets in the country). The spirit of Rancho is completely transformed by the influx of guests. Visiting chefs use ingredients from local farmers to prepare “Feasts in the Field,” where 100 lucky diners come together as friends at one spectacular table to exchange stories of the day’s finds. On occasion, luxe sleeping tents dot the lawn for those who don’t want the enchantment of the evening to end.
Several of the properties have full kitchens, and private chefs can be arranged in advance. The entire property can also be rented for special events. Note: Most rooms are booked six months to a year in advance for the Round Top Antiques Fair. Southwest Airlines offers direct flights to Austin daily.
Photos courtesy Rancho Pillow and Knox Photographics.