The Lone Star State is in the midst of a design renaissance with inspired small boutique hotels packed with Texas-sized personality. Places like Hotel San Jose in Austin, Hotel Emma in San Antonio, and Belmont Hotel in Dallas, and, of course, El Cosmico — the most unique hotel in the state, located way off the beaten path in the tiny West Texas town of Marfa, population 1900.
El Cosmico is an 18-acre trailer, tent, and teepee hotel that is a refugee camp of sorts for hip urbanities looking to escape the pressures of modern life and settle into the simple life. The entire vibe of the hotel is laid back and requires you to shut off social media and relax.
The brand aesthetic is inspired by nomadic cultures and shows obvious design influences from places like Mexico and India. Catering to what the hotel calls “the intrepid traveler”, the property invited like-minded beautiful people to participate in the community environment and experience life organically, close to the ground and without the noise of social media and email. Wifi is only available on the porch of the front office, and even then, only sometimes.
Relaxation and community are key and an integral part to the experience. Hammocks dot the lawn and fire pits light up the property at night. Guests may B.Y.O.T.(ent) or stay in one of the property’s luxe teepees, chic safari tents, or amenity packed vintage trailers. There is an outhouse with a communal shower and claw foot bathtub. Guests need not sweat if they forgot to bring soap; the hotel's well-curated gift shop stocks locally hand-made sundries and unique on-brand essentials, like vintage army jackets, boot butter, and $45 slingshots. You won’t find a club sandwich on the room service menu — or room service at all — but you will find a vintage cooler in the front office stocked with small batch local and imported beer.
The best part of all: you can charge it to your teepee.
OTHER THINGS TO KNOW
THINGS TO DO: The hotel has lots going on, particularly in the Spring and Summer, so before you plan your trip check out their website for a full calendar of happenings. Events include Sunset Soundtracks, a evening live music concert series; Camp Cooking, a culinary weekend at the property; Camp Design Build Adventure, a four day workshop; and, the Annual Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love, a weekend of live music, sandlot baseball, workshops, and art installations. And, no visit to Marfa is complete with checking out Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation and Judd Foundation. Ballroom Marfa is a must as are Marfa Mystery Lights, the oldest attraction in town.
WHERE TO SHOP: Check out Freda for women’s clothing and accessories, get custom cowboy boots at Cobra Rock, browse highly-curated art books at Marfa Book Co., scour racks for 80s chic vintage at Marfa Thrift Store, and find one-of-a-kind local art and design objects at Wrong.
MARFA AFTER DARK: Cochineal is Marfa’s go-to best restaurant, and local’s love the home-cooked pasta at Maiya’s. For lunch, check out the Thunderbird Cafe or the one-and-only Food Shark. The local favorite watering hole is Lost Horse Saloon, where you will find pool tables, wall taxidermy, and stiff cocktails.
GETTING THERE: You can get to Marfa via car, plane, and train. The easiest way to get there is to fly into El Paso, the closet airport that is only a 3 hour drive away. Another plus to getting there via El Paso is that you’ll pass Prada Marfa on Highway 90 in the town of Valentine, about 35 miles from Marfa. San Antonio is the next closest metropolitan city and gets you to Marfa in about 6 hours. Next closest is Austin, a 7 hour drive away. If you are Beyonce, fly your PJ into the Marfa municipal airport only three miles away.
GETTING AROUND: The entire town is only 2 square miles so the best mode of transportation is by foot or on two wheels. Sneakers or boots will do and bikes are available to rent at the front desk on a first come first serve basis.