You don’t have to travel to Milan to experience the atmosphere of an Italian villa and the cuisine of northern Italy. You only have to go as far as Westlake.
This month, Hotel Granduca Austin celebrated its one year anniversary. So for a full year now, travelers have enjoyed the hotel’s luxury accommodations, and locals have joined those travelers at Visconti Ristorante & Bar where northern Italian dishes tantalize the palate.
Developer Giorgio Borlenghi set his sights on the Westlake area after his most recent real estate success — Hotel Granduca Houston. After five years in Houston, he was poised to expand his Texas operation. But to where? While his son Alex attended the University of Texas, the local landscape called to Giorgio Borlenghi. After living in Houston for 38 years, the hilly Austin terrain was a welcome change of pace.
“Coming to Austin and starting to really know the city, I was captivated by the movement of the ground and the vegetation with so many areas, like the one surrounding Hotel Granduca, open and still in its natural state,” Borlenghi told Austin.com. “In northern Italy the hills have many different variety of greens, and only in the Westlake area do I see the same intensity and color tones I was accustomed to in the countryside of Milan.”
So he decided to place his next hotel in Austin. But the land wasn’t the only factor drawing Borlenghi. He saw an opportunity to build a luxury hotel outside of the city center.
“Most hotels in Austin are downtown, and we wanted to create a real option — something different, unique, with a true Italian atmosphere,” he said. “The Westlake area, being one of the most affluent in town, was the perfect place where we could find enough land and create a different experience, not just for the traveler to Austin but for the local community with our wonderful northern Italian restaurant and our indoor/outdoor facilities perfect for events and weddings.”
His vision was to build a remarkable boutique hotel reminiscent of a private Italian villa. The hotel reflects the Borlenghi family’s history and Italian heritage; many of the antique furnishings, art, and decorations placed throughout the hotel come from the Borlenghi family home.
Through the hotel’s common spaces and 194 rooms, you’re enveloped by the traditional ambiance of an Italian palazzo and rustic Texas charm. The interior design showcases Italian flair throughout including hand-painted murals, intricately detailed mosaic tile designs, patterned wood floors and antique carpets. Exposed beams and wooden elements contribute to a naturally aged patina.
That elegance continues into Visconti Ristorante & Bar where your tastebuds can experience the beauty of Italy just like your other senses will before you sit down.
“We have just finalized a new menu for our restaurant, and I am very excited about it,” Borlenghi said. “My favorite pasta dish is the Braised Lamb Rigatoni and favorite entrée the Veal Milanese, of course.”
So if you’re in the mood for a fine Italian meal or you want to slip away to Italy without the redeye flight, make your way to Hotel Granduca Austin.