Why We Love It
Originally built as a wedding present from University of Texas founder Thomas Wooten to his son, Dr. Goodall Wooten and his young socialite bride, Ella, the 1898 landmark was student housing before a multimillion-dollar renovation restored its splendor last year. The ground-floor rooms surrounding the cabana-lined pool come with small, private patios perfect for sipping an afternoon drink—such as the West Campus Mule with ginger beer, local vodka, and lime—from the home bar. It's just what the doctor ordered.
Ella is prim and proper with a dash of rogue masculinity. Marble baths, an expansive lawn, and a wraparound porch recall the mansion's first matriarch, while the gun display and dark leather-and-paneled cocktail room are all 1900s gentleman.
On the Menu
Paying tribute to Austin's area code, all dishes are sourced within 512 miles of the city. Start with tomato bruschetta on cornbread and work your way through mains like half-rack lamb in an eggplant-chili relish. End with the apple cake and blue cheese ice cream.
Worth the Splurge
Book one of four Mansion Junior Suites and opt for a three-course dinner on the second-floor private veranda. (Rooms from $399; tasting menu: $55 per person with wine pairings.)
hotelella.com; $299 and up