Daily Life

The LINE, Austin

26. April 2019

The LINE Austin is a collaboration of diverse local and visiting creative talent in its design, culture and culinary programs. Among its greatest assets is its location at the convergence of Town Lake and downtown Austin, where lush landscape and outdoor life meet the vibrant culture and history of the city

The guest rooms balance old and new elements with a minimalist design that focuses on the room’s essentials

The hotel opened in 1965 as The Crest Inn, a modernist mid-century building in the midst of an evolving downtown landscape. It was home to Club Seville, a dinner and dance club that broadcast live jazz weekly on then-radio station KAZZ-FM. A part of the cultural legacy of Austin and a distinct mid-century modernist fixture in the skyline, the hotel has undergone a comprehensive renovation with no detail overlooked and highlights the unique neighborhood around it.

With 428 guest rooms, including 108 suites ideal for entertaining with a tailored amenities program for guests, the property features expansive lake and city views through giant windows. Interiors by Los Angeles-based Sean Knibb and architecture by Austin-based Michael Hsu focus on drawing the surrounding nature in by opening the lobby to lake views and adding landscaping that blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors. The striking porte-cochère at the front of the property reveals a restored concrete brutalist structure that leads guests into the open lobby with communal areas anchored by fireplaces made of marble, travertine, cooper, wood and cement.

The guest rooms balance old and new elements with a minimalist design that focuses on the room’s essentials: the bed, desk, and chair. A range of textures are seamlessly incorporated throughout the space from exposed concrete columns and a finely patterned wall covering to a large sandblasted plywood headboard that suggests an abstract topography of the ancient surrounding ecosystem. Light fixtures reflected through the hotel’s many windows conjure the magic of the area’s seasonal appearance of fireflies. A lounge chair with chrome piping and saddle leather straps marries ranching culture references with a contemporary sensibility.

Supporting the work of emerging artists in the cities where its hotels live is one of the fundamental tenets for Sydell’s design ethos, and the LINE Austin is a reflection of the city’s creative talent. Bastrop-based artist Michael Wilson created a wooden interior and central bar overlooking the lake and the Congress Avenue Bridge, home to the world’s largest urban bat colony which provides a spectacular nightly show from March to October. The hotel features over 500 original pieces of art in guest rooms and public spaces by a diverse group of Central Texas artists selected in partnership with local arts non-profit Big Medium, including Xochi Solis, Alyson Fox, Manik Raj Nakra, Alexandra Valenti, Elizabeth Chiles, Jules Buck Jones and Jeffrey Dell. The hotel also has a dedicated artist’s studio and is developing a residency program that is aimed to create an ongoing legacy of support and a platform for showcasing the work of local artists.

The hotel opened with Arlo Grey, the debut lakeside restaurant helmed by Top Chef 10 winner Kristen Kish. Kish’s culinary style melds precise training and technique rooted in French and Italian traditions with a nostalgia for dishes from her upbringing, world travels and exploration of the bountiful ingredients of Central Texas. Arlo Grey currently serves dinner and cocktails in a casual setting with sweeping views of Town Lake. The restaurant also features personal and local touches in its design – from artwork made from Kish’s cooking notebooks and childhood mementos to a bespoke floral illustration inspired by the Dayflower, a perennial commonly found in Texas, by Austin artist Xavier Schipani which can be found on the menus and cocktail stirrers.

Located on the ground level of the property on the corner of South Congress Avenue and East Cesar Chavez Street, Dean’s One Trick Pony is an eclectic dive bar serving laid-back drinks alongside bar food favorites from around the world. The name pays tribute to popular nightclub host Don Dean who managed Club Seville in the late 60s. Led by the hotel’s Executive Chef Justin Ermini, the menu nods to Austin’s diversity of cultural influences and highlights range from easy-going classics including the Dean’s Double burger and Club Seville Wedge salad to snacks like Disco Fries, Crab Rangoon and a Mexican Shrimp Cocktail served michelada-style. The cocktail menu by Beverage Director Brian Floyd focuses on signature drinks including the All Time High (tequila, watermelon), Captain Fantastic (a unique take on a Flor de Caña rum punch) and the Pink Pony (frozen Aperol pink lemonade) as well as beer and bar favorites. Pastry chef Ashley Whitmore oversees the ever-changing dessert offerings which include soft serve and pies, like the Smoked Pie for two. The interior design by Sean Knibb brings together local and global influences, and includes a mural by Austin-based Drew Liverman and a shuffleboard, the hallmark of all good dive bars.

Beverage Director and staple of the Austin cocktail scene, Brian Floyd heads up the beverage program with a belief in classic cocktails, simply made. As Executive Chef, Justin Ermini oversees the overall culinary operations for the LINE Austin, which includes in-room dining and the property’s extensive meetings and events offerings. In the lobby, an outpost of Los Angeles-based Alfred offers a full coffee and tea menu including their signature matcha as well as food to take away. The hotel also features an infinity pool on the edge of Town Lake serving cocktails and poolside fare.

Just recently the property opened P6, a rooftop lounge with sweeping views of the lake, the South Austin skyline and the Congress Avenue bat bridge. Designed by Los Angeles-based Sean Knibb, the design reflects the region’s culture of outdoor living with a mix of spaces including fireside seating, communal and intimate dining areas, and an al fresco living room. The space features a wrap-around outdoor terrace and takes on a deconstructed green-house vibe with Provencal-style touches throughout. The menu of shared small plates and antipasti by Chef Justin Ermini is influenced by the cuisines of the Mediterranean, created to complement lazy days and evenings spent lakeside with cocktails. Highlights include snacks of warm Comté Gougères, Windy Hill Farms Lamb Tartare with Piedmont hazelnut and Pecorino, and a Tuna Crudo with Texas olive oil, lemon and fennel pollen. A rotating selection of desserts by Ashley Whitmore are a destination unto themselves, and Brian Floyd’s cocktail menu is easy and refreshing – the Toasted Almond Mai Tai can be shared among friends, while solo drinks include the Wicked Warden with Mezcal, Aperol & Habanero Shrub, and the P6 Gin Martini with French Quinquina.

Images: Chase Daniel; PR


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