A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
A new “experiential hostel" combines boutique hotel design, amenities, and service with the energy and community that's typically associated with hostels.

Situated in a restored railroader hotel from the 1890s and an adjoined midcentury warehouse in downtown Austin, Native offers a distinctly cool and authentic experience for both out-of-towners and locals alike. 

The concept behind the unique lodging and the design/build comes from Icon Design Build—two of the partners in the firm are also partners at Native—who worked with un.box studio (the designer of record), Joel Mozersky Design (interior designer), and Helms Workshop (creative branding) to create the hostel's moody, rough-hewn aesthetic. It's full of playful juxtapositions at every turn, including charred rafters nestled against silky Venetian plaster walls and warm velour wrapped around black steel. 

A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 1 of 16 -  Native Hostel was envisioned to be an incubator for thinkers, makers, and creatives.

 Native Hostel was envisioned to be an incubator for thinkers, makers, and creatives.

"As an homage to the transient hostel lifestyle and the building's original use as a railroader hotel, tramp art-inspired woodworking can be found throughout, all of which were handcrafted and fabricated on-site. When designing Native, we worked to restore the faded elegance of a forgotten gem in the heart of Austin. We also wanted to pay homage to Austin's past while casting our own vision of her future," explains Antonio Madrid, a partner at both Native and Icon Design Build. 

A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 2 of 16 - A cafe and parlor offers a co-working space for both guests and locals during daytime hours. <span style="color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-size: 13px;">Casey Chapman</span>

A cafe and parlor offers a co-working space for both guests and locals during daytime hours. Casey Chapman


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 3 of 16 -


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 4 of 16 -


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 5 of 16 - The reception area and gift shop.

The reception area and gift shop.

Lodging at the hostel includes 12 suites that are outfitted with 65 custom-built beds tucked into handcrafted bunks complete with privacy curtains, a lamp, and plug. A communal "Romper Room" includes eight single beds tucked into handcrafted bunks, a California king-sized bed, sofas, three full bathrooms, and 1,000 square feet of space for those "rock star nights." 

A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 6 of 16 -


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 7 of 16 - The "Romper Room" is outfitted with eight single beds tucked into handcrafted bunks.&nbsp;

The "Romper Room" is outfitted with eight single beds tucked into handcrafted bunks. 

More than just lodging, Native also offers a cafe and parlor lounge for co-working, a bar and kitchen that serves craft cocktails and cuisine by executive chef Virginia Pharr, and a 3,500-square-foot, multipurpose event space. 

"Native is our attempt to make quality design accessible, while also making the space rambunctious enough for a youthful audience." 

A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 8 of 16 - The bunk beds in the communal "Loft Room" are tucked into handcrafted bunks complete with privacy curtains, a lamp, and plug.

The bunk beds in the communal "Loft Room" are tucked into handcrafted bunks complete with privacy curtains, a lamp, and plug.


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 9 of 16 - The "Common Area" is a shared space for Native guests only.&nbsp;

The "Common Area" is a shared space for Native guests only. 


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 10 of 16 - A cozy built-in lounge spot in the "Common Area."

A cozy built-in lounge spot in the "Common Area."


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 11 of 16 - Guests also have access to a full, residential-style kitchen.&nbsp;

Guests also have access to a full, residential-style kitchen. 


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 12 of 16 - Both guests and locals can enjoy the bar and kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.&nbsp;

Both guests and locals can enjoy the bar and kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 13 of 16 -


"My favorite part of the property is how natural light flits and moves throughout the day, creating new sensations throughout each room as day turns into night." -Antonio Madrid

A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 14 of 16 - Daily on-site events and activities include a DJ, live music, curated film screenings, city excursions, and more.

Daily on-site events and activities include a DJ, live music, curated film screenings, city excursions, and more.


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 15 of 16 -


A New Experiential Hostel in Austin Offers Unique Lodging in a Restored Railway Hotel - Photo 16 of 16 -