Feb 1, 2024 - Development

Ranch Motel is having a renaissance

Side-by-side photos on a green background showing a hotel room and pool.

Ranch Motel's new digs. Photo: Courtesy of JoMando Cruz

Tucked away beside the bustle of Broadway is the newly renovated Ranch Motel, a boutique lodging and leisure club giving life to a once-dilapidated property.

Why it matters: The repurposing of the neglected space enhances the aesthetic appeal of the rapidly growing Broadway corridor while preserving pieces of the city's past.

Driving the news: The motel, which started accepting reservations in the fall, gave the public a look around during a pop-up food event hosted earlier this month.

Flashback: The property operated as a low-frills motel until it was sold in 2018. It had not had improvements since 1960, property records show.

What they did: Hotelier Jayson Seidman, founder of Boerne-based Sandstone, renovated the 1948 structure into a stylish 26-room boutique hotel.

  • D'Hanis brick was used throughout, aligning with the aesthetic of landmarks throughout the city including Pearl.
  • Details from the original rooms like the tile work, arched ceilings and scalloped edges of desk nooks were preserved.
  • The property also has a heated pool, surrounded by newly planted oak trees, jasmine, desert grass and bamboo, all in synergy with the neighboring Brackenridge Park.

By the numbers: Room rates start at $250 a night.

  • An annual leisure club membership, which includes access to amenities like the pool, bar, upcoming pickleball courts and a hi-fi listening room, starts at $2,000 a person.
  • Day passes are $60 per person.

Zoom out: Seidman is also known for his properties like the East Austin Hotel, Thunderbird Marfa and Hotel Saint Vincent in New Orleans.

What they're saying: Seidman said in a recent interview that he seeks out properties that evoke emotion. For Ranch Motel, it was the Brackenridge area.

  • "What's even better is our proximity to some of the best cultural and outdoor activities the city has to offer," he tells Axios, highlighting the proximity to the Witte Museum and Botanical and Japanese Tea gardens.

Of note: Adam Smolensky, a local glass and neon artist, repaired the motel's original sign, which he believes hadn't worked properly — with a functioning animated arrow — since the 1960s.

  • He tells Axios he's admired the sign since he started working in neon and was excited to contribute to its revival.
  • "It's been cool seeing the older generation get excited about seeing it, when they passed it before it was this decrepit sign with glass hanging off of it, and now it's back up and running."
A neon sign with an arrow and Ranch Motel lettering.
The old sign is back in working order. Photo: Courtesy of Adam Smolensky

The bottom line: Seidman says he's received feedback during the first few months of business from people who are grateful to see a "nice escape from the urban world" emerge from an abandoned property.

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