An energy-efficient, art-forward boutique hotel with just seven rooms, Kimber Modern is an out-of-the-box hotel concept that will delight even the most jaded traveler. Set on a quiet street just off the bustling and lively main drag of South Congress Avenue, guests find themselves in the heart of Austin and surrounded by some of the city’s best dining, music and nightlife options.
The structure that houses Kimber Modern can’t be missed as it doesn’t resemble anything else that shares its residential street. The concrete and glass building, which runs parallel to the sloping street out front, was envisioned and constructed by Baldridge Architects. As guests enter the hotel, up a flight of stairs, whether arriving by cab or self-parking in the carport conveniently located just under the hotel, you are instantly taken by the central courtyard shaded by a canopy of beautiful Texas live oak trees. Along the multi-tiered central deck you will notice suites and rooms with names like “purple”, “white” and “red” – all colors. Don’t look for the reception here, there is none. Instead, before arrival, you’re emailed the color of your suite and a code, which you choose, and that is what allows you access into your room.
There are usually no staff in sight at Kimber Modern. You will occasionally see a housekeeper or the hotel manager in and out of the common area – but their intention is to let you alone and unwind in a very personal and quiet space. But, never fear, in your welcome email there is a cell phone number which you can call or text if anything is needed. In a few minutes, someone will be there to help you. After entering the code outside of your door and entering the room, you’re struck by the light and bright details. Art hangs on the walls, interesting portraits and landscapes – almost kitschy in style. Beds are outfitted with white linens, Egyptian 500 thread count sheets. There’s often a desk, a sitting area, large windows and a modern bathroom. The bathrooms are well-equipped with Malin and Goetz amenities as well towelettes, toothpaste and little extras in case you forgot something at home. Flat screen televisions hang on the wall and, in some rooms, large private decks provide the perfect place to read a good book or unwind with a glass of wine. The rooms couldn’t possibly get any cuter.
The hotel’s highlight is its common room. This glass enclosed space with views of the central courtyard is loaded with goodies. Firstly, it’s where you will find breakfast. Staff typically sets up before anyone is awake and stocks the common room’s kitchen with local baked goods, organic fruit, yogurt, cereals, coffee cakes and more. Attention to detail has been paid to these offerings. The stainless-steel refrigerator is packed with soy, almond, whole and skim milk. An industrial sized coffee machine sits on the counter calling you to press any button which will lead to a piping hot cappuccino, espresso or American coffee. Throughout the day snacks are available, including candy and fresh fruit set out on the counter. Beer and wine are kept in the refrigerator – no extra charge. The common room begs to be used in not only its culinary delights, but its cozy atmosphere with Arne Jacobson egg chairs sitting around an Eames surfboard coffee table. It was our favorite feature.
Kimber Modern is unique in that it strips away the trappings of what one would think is “luxury” and instead implements truly thought-through features that make everything convenient. Convenience is the new luxury and travelers today are not often fooled by things that hotels have been doing for years in hopes to please their customers. Times are changing and the industry is evolving, Kimber Modern seems to be ahead of the curb in Austin in this regard. We recommend a stay here – you will feel like a guest at your good friend’s well-appointed home. But, in the end, you’re a guest at a hotel, and that comes through loud and clear.