Husband and wife team Sam and Stephen Hopkins had a dream. A dream they’d been thinking about for ten years: to create a place, less than an hour from Austin, that was the perfect combination of plush and pared down… a hideaway submersed in nature, but not so submersed guests had to sacrifice the comfort they’d find in a high-end hotel as they explored the wild.
“We love traveling and have been fortunate to have visited over fifty countries,” explains Stephen. “Along the way, we’ve taken note of the experiences that left an impact on us. One of our favorite parts of traveling is the unexpected. So, we’ve tried to help curate an experience for our guests that surprises them – in a good way.”
And that’s what led them to the creation of the MISSING hotel – where guests stay in air-conditioned geodesic domes with private dip pools, high-end fixtures, in-room bathrooms with full showers, while surrounded by the 50,000-acre Balcones Wildlife Preserve. Deer frolic past while you’re brewing your morning coffee and coyotes howl at night as you flick through each dome's carefully curated wellness books at bedtime.
“The topography is dramatic with expansive views of the canyon we’re located in,” says Stephen. “It’s true that the Texas Hill Country region is very populated with glamping sites; however, we’ve really sought to make something unique. This was definitely a passion project! It took us three years to find a property that met all of our criteria, then we had one hell of a year getting it ready to share, working 12–14-hour days, seven days a week, taking this beautiful, but overgrown raw, 100-acre parcel and turning it into something luxurious and fun to explore. We were extremely hands-on through the process and built nearly everything ourselves with an exceptional team of six people.”
The name of the hotel is a little odd, though. Missing? “We named our property the MISSING Hotel with the idea that guests will “go missing” for a while. They’ll disconnect and hopefully find something they were missing in them along the way.”
To help guests do this, several every day hotel things are missing – there’s no check-in or waiting around (it’s all done on via phone), there’s no room service or turn-down service, so you get left alone once you’re home, and there’s no giant television screen or bleeping alarm clock giving out a bright glow all night. Instead, there are thoughtful notebooks and gratitude journals waiting to be filled out, hammocks to swing on in the live oaks, hiking trails to natural swimming holes, fairy-lit hideaways, and yard games like giant Jenga, corn hole and frisbee for families to use.
Most exciting perhaps, are the resort’s two celebrities – Elvis and Presley, the mini-cows who love eating ‘cow cake’ and enjoy it when guests visit them at 4pm every day to give them their afternoon tea.
Exploring the simpler life offered here, surrounded by such wild and stunning nature, slows the brain and releases tension, and leaves guests not only feeling rejuvenated, but also considering – the owners hope! – their future wellness, and what they can take away with them from the experience.
Perhaps you’ll realize it is Pitohuis you’ve been missing all your life! What is that? It is the practice of paying attention to the sound of the wind as it whistles through trees, a pastime Sam and Stephen believe their guests will find enchanting as they sit on their deck at sunset, sipping the complimentary Lone Star beers left in the fridge, inspired by the property, with a new found desire to stop missing out on the best things life has to offer.