Inside the Colton House Hotel

…And the imagination of interior designer Patrice Rios

Article by Jennifer Birn

Photography by Louie Ayuma, courtesy of Colton House Hotel

Originally published in Austin Lifestyle

Award-winning interior designer Patrice Rios has a flair for outfitting luxury hotels, honed designing luxury hotels in Shanghai! She brought her skills home and recently revealed her latest design project, Colton House Hotel, an 80-suite hotel property on Austin’s hip South Congress Avenue.  The three-year project entailed designing all of the hotel’s rooms, ranging in size from 460 - 1,170 square feet and equipped with a full modern kitchen or kitchenette, as well as its many common spaces. These include the Simona Coffee + Cocktail bar with vintage chandeliers and oversized Versailles chairs and The Parlor, an elegant lounge area furnished with leather Chesterfield sofas and bright red velvet club chairs overlooking the lawn and pool with plush black-out drapes to create an intimately, warm and cozy space.  The Parlor is also where you find the “Wander Home” neon sign, custom made for the hotel and sure to be an Instagram favorite. 

There’s also The Library with grand bookshelves and a table that seats 16, The Club Room with Texas saloon-style chairs, blue velvet Victorian-style sofas and a kids’ corner with thoughtful games, books, stuffed animals, and child-size furniture. In partnership with landscape designer M.J. Meneley at Hitchcock Design Group Rios designed the Backyard & Lawn, an outdoor spacious deck with fire pit and seating adorned with a trellis and chandeliers overlooking a 5,000-square foot lawn, heated  outdoor swimming pool and private cabanas and The Penthouse, situated above the sprawling outdoor area, a 1,200 square foot event space connected to an expansive rooftop terrace with views of the Texas Hill Country and the Austin Skyline. 

Rios says, “I find hotels to be such a unique challenge as you are catering to the design aesthetics of a wide variety of guests as well as the hotelier, who was a joy to work with. I’m so happy that we were able to allow travelers to Austin as well as local Austinites looking for a destination within town, to feel like they are at home in a cohesive, elevated space that lends itself to so many different experiences.”

Drawing inspiration from its distinctive surroundings, the property showcases the captivating spirit of Austin and pays homage to the Lone Star State’s rich history.   Whenever possible, the design elements were locally sourced, including artwork, lighting fixtures, antique trunks, lobby barn doors and mirrors, from Round Top, La Grange and Lockhart, small towns surrounding Austin.

Whether a visitor from afar staying in one of the hotels streamlined rooms or a local dipping in the more vibrant common spaces for a cocktail or dinner, Rios says, “I want guests to feel they are exploring. I want them to be able to move from one space to the next and feel the shift. Oftentimes, a hotel guest is traveling solo, so it was very important to us to have a sense of exploration as an individual. Each space was designed to make you feel a different way. The Library makes you feel focused, yet relaxed; The Club Lounge gives you a little morning pep; Simona's Coffee + Cocktail Bar makes you feel inspired; The Parlor provokes thought. It’s a constant journey of emotion that creates the individual experience”.

In addition to hotels, in 2015 Rios started S&H, taking shipping containers and converting them into livable spaces. She’s also been a recurring design consultant for HGTV’s “Buying and Selling” with the Property Brothers.

You can check out the Colton House Hotel  at: 2510 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 7870

Find more on Rios here:

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