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Nostalgic 'Upscale' Motel Planned for the Domain

A company from Houston is getting ready to build a retro motel at the Domain that is reminiscent of motor courts of the 1950s, an era when TVs and coin-operated radios were major selling points.

But in keeping with the 21st century, the hotel is also said to include “high-tech amenities.”

The Lone Star Court by Valencia Group is scheduled to open by 2013. Rooms will cost from $150 to $300 a night, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Here’s the complete news release from Valencia Group:

Lone Star Court breaks ground at the Domain in Austin Valencia Group introduces court concept hotel brand AUSTIN—A new upscale, retro-inspired, motor court concept is coming to Austin. Lone Star Court, an authentic Americana roadside hotel by Valencia Group, is breaking ground at the Domain with plans to open in early 2013. Nostalgia will meet modern at the Lone Star Court, with an aesthetic that’s authentically Austin and Texas Hill Country from the art in the rooms to the unique outdoor environment. Lone Star Court will have 123 retro-inspired guest rooms with high-tech amenities. True to Austin, Lone Star Court will feature live music by an outdoor fire pit and a dipping pool reminiscent of Hill Country swimming holes. Lone Star Court will draw business as well as leisure travelers to its unique “ranch-tech” property, and the restaurant and bar will be a destination for Austinites as well as visitors. The property will have approximately 2,000 square feet of interior meeting space, an outdoor covered pavilion of 1,600 square feet, and an adjacent open air lawn that adds 1,800 square feet to the total available meeting space. Lone Star Court will be the flagship of a new hotel concept created by Valencia Group, a Houston-based company known for its luxury independent Hotel Valencias in San Antonio and San Jose, and Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE in Houston. The court concept, a 21st century re-interpretation of the nostalgic motor court, will eventually be expressed through additional hotels by Valencia Group. According to Doyle Graham, Jr., Valencia Group president, “This is the most exciting new concept in the hotel industry. Lone Star Court in Austin will be the flagship of what will eventually be a series of court concept hotels across the southeastern United States,” Graham said. “Each of the court concept hotels will capture the essence of the cities where they are located. Lone Star Court will be one of a kind and totally unique to Austin, Texas.” During the early days of auto tourism beginning in the mid 1940s, roadside campsites led entrepreneurs to create quaint, cabin-like places for travelers to stay. Simple cottage camps began to evolve into more sophisticated full-service motor courts, and the number of motels in America tripled to more than 60,000 by the 1960s. The new, more modern motor courts along great American highways featured “air cooled by refrigeration,” television, coin-operated radios, tiled bathrooms, easy chairs, and Serta Perfect Sleepers. After decades of booming business, mom-and-pop motels began to disappear in 1956 with the Federal-Aid Highway Act that funded construction of the interstate highway system. With little means to move their facilities or re-route traffic, these gems of the road gave way to corporate chains staking their claims along the new highways. Lone Star Court will take visitors back to the heyday of the roadside motor court experience, where guests can discover an era of authentic Americana along with modern amenities and the excitement of Austin. The architect for Lone Star Court is RTKL Associates of Dallas, led by Jim Suggs. Suggs was part of the design team for Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio and Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose.  The designer for Lone Star Court is Lauren Rottet of Houston-based Rottet Studio, and the landscape architect is Christine Ten Eyck of Austin-based Ten Eyck Landscape Architects.  About Valencia Group Valencia Group, a Houston-based company, provides management, development, branding, and repositioning services for full-service, boutique, independent hotels owned by Valencia as well as third parties. As with Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, California, Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE in Houston and Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio, most Valencia-sponsored hotels are set in the cultural heart of each city.  Valencia Group’s newest hotel concept is a 21st century re-interpretation of the nostalgic motor court.  The flagship will be Lone Star Court, an authentic Americana roadside hotel that will open in Austin’s Domain in early 2013.  Valencia Group hotels fuse globally-inspired modern design with Mediterranean influences, becoming popular destinations for guests and visitors alike. Valencia Group continues to forge its position as a mixed-use anchor with projects where the right balance of residential, restaurant, retail and office coalesce to create full-spectrum accretive value in great urban settings. Known for exceptional service and style, Valencia Group properties have received international recognition by magazines such as Condé Nast and Travel + Leisure, and by discerning travelers seeking a memorable experience. For more information, please visit

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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