- Gary Dinges American-Statesman Staff
The Central Texas hotel boom extends well beyond downtown Austin.
While the bulk of new construction has been in the city’s central business district, there are plenty of other properties in the works across the region. The latest to come online is the Tuscan-inspired Hotel Granduca, which opens Wednesday in the Westlake area.
The 194-room luxury hotel, at 320 S. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), is the second Hotel Granduca to be built by Giorgio Borlenghi, president of the Interfin Cos., a Houston-based development company. The first was in Houston.
It was on one of many trips to Austin to visit his son, Alex, at college that Borlenghi said he realized Central Texas was an ideal place to expand.
“Having lived almost 40 years in Houston, we have always appreciated Austin’s lifestyle and the vibrant community,” he said. “After the success of our Hotel Granduca in Houston, we thought Austin was the natural place to continue our vision of bringing something very special to Texas. Granduca Austin is not just another hotel, but a unique experience that is elegant, exclusive and intimate – with, of course, an Italian flair.”
The 190,000-square-foot hotel sits atop a hill on a 38-acre site adjacent to a new office building that will soon be occupied by Apple Inc., offering sweeping Hill Country views.
As a privately held company, Hotel Granduca’s developers declined to release the project’s cost. Construction lasted about 18 months.
General manager Joseph Violi said he was immediately drawn to the project.
“My parents were both born in Italy,” said Violi, who previously managed hotels affiliated with the high-end Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria brands. “This project just sang to me. I’m very fortunate to have the most amazing ownership group in the world.”
Furnishings buildingwide that Borlenghi, Violi and their team selected are custom made, with most coming from Europe. About 1,700 pieces of artwork – no two alike – adorn the walls in public and private spaces, for example.
“Everything was designed specifically for this property,” Violi said. “Everyone who’s seen it so far has been blown away. They love the look, the Tuscan feel.”
The guest rooms, which range in size from 480 square feet to 1,350 square feet, feature walk-in closets and are designed to have the look and feel of a Tuscan villa. Rates start at about $350 per night for regular rooms, with larger suites going for about $1,000 per night.
Amenities include a swimming pool with cabanas, a game room, a gym, meeting space, car service to nearby amenities and the Visconti Ristorante & Bar, which Violi said he expects will appeal to a wide array of guests, as well as nearby residents.
“Our property will have two very different personalities,” he said. “During the week, we’ll see small, high-end meetings. Weekends, we’ll be more leisure, with people attending UT games and things like that.”
The Westlake area is underserved right now in terms of both lodging and dining options, Violi said. Hotel Granduca will help fill that gap, while also providing an alternative to downtown Austin, where the bulk of the Austin area’s hotel rooms are located.
“Not everyone wants to be downtown,” he said. “We’re an oasis in West Lake Hills. There’s nothing like this out here.”