The Loren at Lady Bird Lake Makes a Glamorous Entry in Austin

A bold fusion of Caribbean hospitality, Michelin-caliber dining, earth tones, and midcentury elegance create a rarefied stay in the Lone Star State’s weirdest city.

Opening Shot is a column that peeks inside new hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops with dreamy interiors.


Location: Austin.

Designer: Rhode Partners and Fleur-de-lis Interior Design.

On Offer: The well-heeled patrons of the Loren’s flagship on Bermuda’s pink sands won’t be disappointed with the hospitality upstart’s eagerly anticipated sister property, which is perched at one of the most coveted locations on Austin’s greenbelt. The south bank of Lady Bird Lake offers easy downtown access thanks to a lushly planted pedestrian bridge across the street yet still carves a veritable sanctuary from the Live Music Capital’s party-all-night cacophonies. With a winning alchemy of verdant-hued rooms, uninterrupted views of the evolving skyline, and enough wellness amenities to make a Caribbean resort jealous, the Loren strikes a breath-of-fresh-air ambiance that’s sure to soothe the nerves of both adventure-hungry locals and the weekender set seeking a lavish introduction to the Lone Star State’s weirdest city. 

That quickly becomes clear upon arrival, where the breezy reception’s leafy living wall and earth-toned palette forges an airy, conservatory-like vibe that trades traditional five-star stuffiness for a refreshing taste of modern-day Southern hospitality. (For a pick-me-up, the ground-floor Cafe at the Loren delights with La Colombe brews and artisanally crafted pastries that can either be taken to go or savored on the lobby’s midcentury-inspired furnishings.) Each of the 108 rooms and suites are blanketed in emerald-hued carpet, a bold aesthetic choice that may normally raise eyebrows but creates a breathtaking treehouse effect as it visually flows into the live oaks and bald cypresses perched right outside generous floor-to-ceiling windows. Connection with the outdoors is paramount—there’s no better view of Austin than soaking up the eighth-floor infinity pool, which is also outfitted with native flora.

Standout Amenities: The Loren offers ample space to rest and recharge, primarily through Reiki massages and anti-aging facials at the neighboring Milk + Honey spa. Guest rooms are similarly well-appointed with Sferra towels, Malin + Goetz toiletries, walk-in showers, and plush bathrobes. For those seeking a healthy dose of Vitamin D, concierges can help book kayaking trips, schedule regional vineyard tours, and even rent out six e-bikes. Or perhaps embark on an on-site art tour: a Matthew Ritchie painting featuring intertwining hexagonal structures that represent flowing carbon anchors the lobby while guest rooms feature Karl Blossfeldt’s photographs that recast plant life as decorative ironworks. The hotel is even activating the nearby Paggi House, one of the city’s most storied buildings, as a temporary gallery for artists from The Loren Art Collection as well as local talents until the end of the year. 

After spa time and sightseeing, venture upstairs through the lobby’s glass-walled elevator to Nido, the crown jewel and rooftop restaurant serving up Modern American cuisine with local flavors. A moody dining room and intimate backlit bar waste no time seducing guests with supple leather sofas, twinkling downtown lights, and even Olafur Eliasson’s color wheel that nods to the Ellsworth Kelly Chapel, but don’t let the clubby environs distract from the world-class menu. We recommend oysters with cucumber mignonette, blistered shishitos dressed in garum aioli, the octopus carpaccio with escabeche, and Iberico pork; wash it down with adventurous concoctions like the signature Nido Martini or Old-World wines selected by a sommelier. The culinary repertoire comes via Executive Chef Brad McDonald, a Mississippi-born heavyweight who cut his teeth in the Michelin-starred kitchens of Alain Ducasse and René Redzepi and is known for selecting seasonal ingredients to create complex dishes with a familiar bite. 

All images courtesy of The Loren at Lady Bird Lake.

All Stories