At a hotel named for the patron saint of music and poetry, the coolest pool in town was right outside my door. At night city lights twinkle in the distance and the water feels delicious.
A few days ago it was 106 in the shade.
The air was stifling. Hot and dry, like a blast from a hair dryer on high. In parking lots I could smell the asphalt melting under my feet.
It was the kind of heat that makes everyone a little crazy.
I found myself dreaming of Alaskan glaciers and water so cold it was like jelly…
But then I stumbled across a much closer oasis, a place to chill during the dog days. An (almost) secret hideaway tucked behind a high wall. With a garden terrace shaded by a canopy of spreading oaks… Where the scent of incense wafts across the lawn….
And the signature color is aquamarine. Just looking at it brought the temperature down a cool 25 degrees….
In the bar, washed turquoise walls made me feel like I’d toppled into an aquarium. The bubbles are always icy here—and it’s the only place where, after ordering one glass, I’ve been asked if I wouldn’t rather have a bottle. Well yes, now that you mention it...
In my poolside bungalow, the floor was paved with gorgeous hand glazed aquamarine tiles, a color so intense (and so refreshing) that I longed to take them home. The three big rooms felt decades old, but in fact they are nearly new. (I could imagine Rita Hayworth, on the lam, holing up next door with a bottle of tequila.)
Don’t you love the well-worn Moroccan rug, reddish-orange against that vibrant blue?
There's no need to sweat because the details are just right. Fig-scented soap from France, a bed made up with freshly ironed white linens, and a soft indigo robe, hand-dyed in India. On the turntable, vintage vinyl (checked out from the office) will carry you to dreamland.
But if sleep is elusive, the night air is delicious—and the coolest pool in town is right outside my door, city lights twinkling in the distance.
In the morning, the throaty warbling of pigeons. And guess what: here’s breakfast, delivered to the terrace. A discreet knock on the door lets you know it’s there.
Let’s stay another day, shall we? Or two?
Hotel St. Cecilia, 112 Academy Drive, Austin TX 78704. 512.852.2400.
"The only instruction we offer our guests is borrowed from the composer's lexicon: a bene placito - pacing is up to the performer."