How to Celebrate the Holidays at Austin’s Commodore Perry Estate

ohOne of my favorite things about living in Dallas is how easy it is to get away from it all in Austin. As a native Nashvillian, our state capital is a perfect blend of the best of Texas and the funky vibe of my hometown – a hybrid of breakfast tacos and guitar-clad hopefuls. The Line and The Proper have long been favorites, but since opening last year, a new hotel has been high on my must-see list. For months my Instagram feed was filled with dreamy images of Commodore Perry’s Estate, a stunning architectural monument reinvented as the premier resort in Texas. Any visit to the private town retreat would be nice, but the holidays seemed like an especially special time to visit the mansion – so we did.

The Commodore Perry Estate makes a stunning first impression. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)


Originally built in 1928 as a country home for “Commodore” Edgar and Lutie Perry, the 10,800 square foot Italian-style parsonage was the host to many parties of the Roaring Twenties. After the couple sold the estate in the 1940s, it housed several schools before the California-based Auberge Resorts Collection, known for its ultra-luxurious inns, set its sights on Texas.

The revitalization included the hiring of prominent designer Ken Fulk, known for his lush, layered interiors (he will soon be making his Dallas hospitality debut with Sadelle’s). The interior expert scoured Round Top for antiques that would give the rooms a timeless, lived-in feeling. Commodore Perry Estate opened in summer 2020 with a mansion restaurant (open to hotel guests and members of the estate’s private club). Earlier this year, Lutie’s Garden Restaurant, a beautiful botanical restaurant, opened to the public.

A view of the gardens below the Commodore Perry Estate. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The location

From the footage I’d seen of the sunken gardens and towering oak trees, I’d assumed Commodore Perry was in Hill Country. The European-style estate is actually in the heart of bustling Red River streets and Austin’s 41st Street – there’s an HEB right next door, but you’d never know it within the confines of the majestic stone wall.

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A vacation setup at the Commodore Perry Estate in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The holiday atmosphere

There’s an undeniable sophistication from the moment you step into the hotel’s hand-painted lobby, but there’s nothing stuffy about this century-old mansion, which is very family-friendly. (A free ranch water station is also located near the front desk.) This laid-back European elegance extends into the holiday season. Sparkling Christmas tinsel and trees are tastefully applied throughout the grounds, but the real draw of the season is the lineup.

We were lucky enough to be able to travel to Austin on Thursday for Commodore Perry’s Mansion Lighting Festival. The gardens below were dotted with food and cocktail vendors, a fire pit was ready for s’mores, and chairs were placed to give attendees an optimal view of the mansion’s largely white facade, which was drenched in color. during the vibrant, artist -Creation of a light show – to the rhythm of catchy holiday tunes sung in French. It might have been a balmy 75 degrees, but the spirit of the season kicked in.

CPE_Experience_Festive-Lighting_2020_7 (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)
The Mansion Lighting Festival at the Commodore Perry Estate. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

For Christmas, Commodore Perry sets a divine table. On the 25th, a Christmas party and eve will feature a pre-fix multi-course dinner, followed by music in the chapel performed by talented Austinites who offer their own take on vacation classics. If you already have dinner plans, A Very Texan Christmas Eve: Texas Vacation in Two Steps will offer dance and swing music lessons through The Rollfast Ramblers. Santa is coming on Christmas day in a vintage car to hand out gifts at 10 a.m., while Chef Bradley and Chef Susana prepare a Christmas (from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) with food and wine pairings and end of sweets by the fireplace.

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The Mansion Restaurant is open to hotel guests and members of the Private Club. (Photo by Auberge Resorts Collection)

The best bites at Commodore Perry

Beyond the holidays, dining is an integral part of the Commodore Perry experience. Led by award-winning chef couple Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu (veterans of famed Austin’s Barley Swine and Odd Duck), Mansion and Lutie’s menus feature American fare with a Texan twist and seasonal (sometimes organic) ingredients. directly from the land domain). Move from one beautifully appointed room to another, take a seat on the expansive sun terrace or find a seat at Lutie’s bar, dripping with fresh greenery and 20s elegance. Better yet, ask the hotel to organize a picnic with champagne and fried chicken on the manicured lawn.

When it comes to ordering, consider green corn hushpuppies with truffles, a refreshing lobster remoulade, the best neighborhood salad I’ve ever had in my life (really), or goat milk ice cream sundae. For a healthy breakfast, order Red Fife Pancakes to your room for breakfast, the highlight of my own vacation experience.

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