- By Gary Dinges American-Statesman Staff
A resort set to open this month in Wimberley is taking the concept of going camping to a whole new level.
Collective Hill Country, at 7431 Fulton Ranch Road, isn’t your traditional brick-and-mortar hotel. Instead, it features 12 high-end canvas tents atop a hill at the 225-acre Montesino Ranch.
Each tent overlooks the surrounding Hill Country and comes equipped with electricity and running water, a full bathroom and designer furniture, including a plush king bed or two single beds.
“Our tents provide everything you’d expect from a five-star hotel,” Collective Retreats CEO Peter Mack said. “There’s a sitting area, desk, French press for coffee, freshly ground local coffees and an ensuite bathroom.”
The resort is set to make its debut March 30. On Friday, the Collective Hill Country website, collectiveretreats.com, was advertising nightly rates of $400 weekdays and $450 on weekends during the month of April. In peak season, rates could go as high as $550 this year.
Mack, a veteran of the hospitality industry, has opened Collective Retreats locations in Vail, Colo.; Big Sky, Mont.; and Hudson, N.Y. Collective Hill Country will be the brand’s first retreat to be open during the winter months.
“We spend a lot of time talking to our customers, doing research,” Mack said. “The whole Austin area – and the Hill Country, in particular – is insanely popular. It has always been on our growth plan.”
The average stay, Mack expects, will be three or four nights. Guests will be treated to a complimentary breakfast each morning in the Three Peaks Dining Lodge.
Lunch and dinner – both prepared by members of the onsite culinary team – are available for an additional charge. Dinner options will typically include a three- to four-course farm-to-table meal served with the chef tableside or a do-it-yourself barbecue-in-a-box meal.
“Austin is such a culturally important place,” Mack said. “We’ve put a ton of energy into creating a localized and authentic experience, and that definitely extends to dining. Culinary is one of the most important things about the Collective experience.”
Mack says the Collective retreats appeal to a broad group of people, regularly attracting bachelorette parties, 70th birthday bashes, corporate events, weddings and everything in between.
“Our retreats are really retreats for everyone,” he said. “It’s all demographics.”
Activities for guests will be a mix of onsite offerings as well as partnerships with nearby attractions, such as golfing, wine tours and ziplining. A concierge will reach out to visitors ahead of their stay to make necessary arrangements.
Already, even before Collective Hill Country opens for business, Mack said he’s already toying with the idea of adding more tents for guests.
“This is a really proud moment for us,” Mack said.