AUSTIN, Texas — Round Rock is trying to appeal to a new audience by opening its first boutique hotel.
The Ruby Hotel opened March 1 with limited availability.
Part of it is still under construction, but come April 15, the hotel will be finished and fully open.
What makes it a boutique hotel is that it is independently owned and a lot smaller than traditional hotels.
“It is this little respite, four blocks north of downtown. With 100-year-old oak trees,” Bree Carrico, the Austin-based developer of the hotel, said.
Once finished, the hotel will have a pool and a bar inside the old home that was once on the property.
The name "Ruby" comes from an old letter Carrico found on the property off Fannin Avenue when she first toured it three years ago.
"I kicked over a pile of leaves, and I turned up a partial love letter,” she said, “addressed to a 'dearest Ruby.'"
Ruby’s identity is still unknown, yet Carrico and her team centered the theme of the hotel over the woman and her worldwide travels.
Carrico said she chose Round Rock because of the opportunity to be part of a growing community.
"I like the idea of sharing our backyard with local and tourists alike,” Carrico said.
Round Rock worked out a deal with the hotel to grow the city's downtown.
"When you go around the country and you go around the region, the really fun areas are the areas that have a little bit of everything. And give people different reasons to come downtown," Round Rock Planning Director Brad Wiseman said.
Part of the deal between the city and the hotel includes an investment of $4.5 million by the hotel into project improvements.
In turn, the city will rebate a percentage of hotel occupancy and property taxes.
The Ruby Hotel is one of several developments in the works for Round Rock. Another upcoming project is the Kalahari Resort.
"That'll be the biggest hotel in the history of Round Rock,” Wiseman said. “Close to a thousand hotel rooms."
Kalahari will also be the home to the second-largest convention center in Central Texas. It is slated to open next year.
Kalahari and the Ruby Hotel hope to appeal to sports fans.
"We want to be a part of the sports,” Carrico said. “And everything happening in Round Rock."