How a Found Love Letter Changed a Home into the Ruby Hotel

How a Found Love Letter Changed a Home into the Ruby Hotel

Deep into Texas, you'll find the independently owned and eclectically curated Ruby Hotel. Situated on, as well as named for, the private residence that came before it, the Ruby Hotel is a cohesive melding of bold color, modern decor, and vintage aesthetic. The 39-room midcentury modern boutique also has an amazing cocktail lounge that overlooks Brushy Creek. 

We spoke with hotel Director Cole Di Carlo to learn more about the history, design, and fun things to do while visiting Round Rock.

The Ruby Hotel was built with a unique source of inspiration, could you tell us about its history? 

Upon visiting The Ruby site in early 2016, the owners found a partial love letter addressed to a “Dearest Ruby” in a pile of leaves and trash. The only buildings on the site at that time were a home (which is now The Ruby Bar) and a few sheds. The letter was pocketed and, along with some torn pages of a scrapbook found later, eventually formed the brand inspiration for the hotel.

It was obvious from the first visit to the site that this spot along Brushy Creek was truly loved. Perched on the edge of a cliff with terraced gardens, an outdoor cooking area, and a pool underneath the 100-year-old live oak trees, one could tell it was once “the place to be” for an afternoon garden party. The design of the hotel intentionally located the new buildings for the hotel rooms on the perimeter of the property to maximize views of Brushy Creek and minimize impact to the lovely trees adorning the site.

As work on the project progressed through 2017 and the pieces fell into place, the brand and experience evolved. The Ruby brand is inspired by a fictional Ruby, who we imagine lived in small-town Round Rock. Inspired by a changing world and challenged by a generation defined by tradition, Ruby set out to find her own voice after graduating from high school around the 1930’s. We imagine she traveled — first to Chicago, then New York, and as her ambitions grew, San Miguel, Paris, and London. Ruby sparked her share of conversations as she collected her friends, her memories, and well… her collection. In this dappled spot along Brushy Creek, the delight of mingled surroundings is evidence of a life well lived. A cozy place Ruby called home. The Ruby Hotel & Bar is a small independent hotel in Round Rock, convenient to Austin, with the simple promise of allowing you to discover service, hospitality, and surroundings that will delight you.

For someone who’s never visited the region, what else can you tell us about Round Rock, Texas?

Round Rock's namesake is a large rock that signified a convenient low water crossing across Brushy Creek for those traveling what was to later be famously known as the Chisholm Trail. It sits on the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country and boasts history, outdoor activities and parks, Round Rock Donuts, and other local traditions, shopping — both local and premium outlets, professional and youth sports, and water parks. The Ruby Hotel & Bar sits on Brushy Creek, which is dammed just east of us, near Veterans Park, creating the small lake on the north side of the property. Cattle can often be seen roaming along the northern banks, water bird’s nest in the large trees in the mornings, and the area is prime for spotting certain migratory birds.

Your hotel rooms are very unique, what’s the story behind the color-coded rooms?

Our guest rooms are part of the story, inspired by our muse: Ruby. Along her globe-trotting, she developed an eclectic, yet cohesive, style all her own that manifests itself in each room. The bright, color-saturated hues are inspired to Eames-era interiors.

In such a meticulously curated space, what drew The Ruby Hotel to choose the Tivoli Audio Model Three BT as the bedside radio?

It's only fitting that when your guest rooms are meant to be drawn from a muse that every item, from the bed to the alarm clock to various baubles sprinkled throughout, needs to feel inspired. The Model Three Bluetooth is the perfect representation of midcentury style to bring The Ruby to life.

While we’re on the subject of music, which artist or musical genre do you think encapsulates the spirit of the hotel?

The music of Etta James, Sam Cooke, and Chet Baker provided the soundtrack to the gatherings Ruby curated around the tables she set.


Model Three BT


What would you say is the absolute “can’t miss” feature while visiting?

We highly recommend that everyone sets their Tivoli Audio alarm for 4pm on the weekdays to take advantage of happy hour at The Ruby Bar. A perfectly mixed (and happy hour-priced) cocktail by a friendly bartender that delivers it to you while sitting on the patio overlooking Brushy Creek borders on the divine.

If you're planning a trip to get out of the cold and into the Texas heat in the near future, make sure to check out the Ruby Bar for some Happy Hour priced cocktails at The Ruby Hotel in Round Rock. Visit their website here or follow them on Instagram @therubyhotelandbar

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