|Boutique hotel is a term used to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain or branded hotels and motels by providing personalized accommodation and services or facilities. Sometimes known as "design hotels" or "lifestyle hotels", boutique hotels began appearing in the 1980s in major cities like London, New York, and San Francisco.
The Pearl is a genuinely unique boutique hotel on Judges Hill with 12 themed rooms furnished with antiques from around the world in historic downtown Austin.
I am so glad you found us! Whether your journey to Austin is for business or pleasure, my goal at Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street is to help you relax and enjoy comfortably your escape to our beautiful city.
I invite you to relax downstairs in the ambiance and charm of the Victoria House, or you may choose to put your feet up with a good book, under the shade of our mature Oak and Pecan trees throughout the property. For the enjoyment of my guests I have designed a 1600 square foot deck in front of a whimsical fountain in a stone grotto, a favorite spot for visitors to sit with a glass of wine and wedding photographers alike!
I had a vision for these two homes years ago, and I am proud of the retreat we have created for our guests at The Pearl. Selected as an Austin’s Symphony Designer Show house, the Inn is considered one of Austin’s finest, most unique boutique hotels. I want to thank my dear family and friends who helped make this dream a reality. I especially wish to thank my parents, Burton and Victoria Bickford, for their commitment and support throughout the evolution of the Inn. In their memory I dedicate the achievement of Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street. I hope your experience here is unforgettable and that you will return time and again.
Thank you, Jill Bickford, Owner
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About the Inn
Located in the heart of a bustling capital city on historic Judge's Hill, the Inn at Pearl Street is a matchless oasis much like Austin itself.
The first official record of the Inn can be found in the Austin City Directory of 1914 when it was the private residence of prominent 26th Judicial District Judge Charles A. Wilcox and his family.
Wilcox and his wife, the former Stella Snider, had five children. Their second daughter, Darthula, obtained a degree from The University of Texas and a Masters Degree in Library Science from Columbia University. She was appointed the first director of the Austin Public Library in 1933.
Judge Wilcox held the judgeship until 1917 when he became a partner in the firm of White, Cartledge and Wilcox. When he died, government agencies and official buildings throughout the Austin area closed in his honor.
In the early 1980's, the home was briefly used as a movie set even as it was falling to ruin.
In 1993, the 1896 Greek revival home was rescued by Jill Bickford with the help of her parents, Burton and Victoria, and has been lovingly restored to it's near-original turn-of-the-century charm. When the home was purchased, the first chore in refurbishing the once vibrant home was to remove one of the largest bee colonies ever found in a private Austin residence. Hundreds of pounds of honey were removed from the walls and floors of the Inn.
Much "heart and soul" has gone into the restoration of this home. Nearly two years and a tidy sum of money went into the meticulous restoration, much of it accomplished by Bickford's father, a retired dentist who became an adept cabinet maker. The entire home has been re-plumbed, rewired and brought up-to-date while maintaining its historic integrity. For the most part, the home has remained just as it stood 100 years ago.
While the overall ambience bespeaks a reverence for the past, the modern touches--stylish bathrooms in each guest suite, the cobblestone drive, and a 1600 sq. ft. deck--blend in artfully. The interior is filled with thoughtfully arranged antiques and collectibles which are hand-selected by the owner and provide a unique sensory adventure.
Shortly after completion, the Inn at Pearl Street was selected as Austin's 1995 Symphony Designer Show House, a proud honor for the Bickford family. That same year, the Inn opened its doors for business.
With a style more akin to the diminutive country inns of Europe, the Inn at Pearl Street draws a sophisticated clientele searching for something more unique and warm than a four-wall hotel room. While the gracious, sumptuous surroundings are in keeping with a classic B&B, the management style is attentive, yet unobtrusive, allowing guests to bask in comfort and charm. Your stay is guaranteed to be memorable.
What is Judge's Hill?
The Judge's Hill Neighborhood is located in the central business district of downtown Austin on the eastern bluff overlooking Pease Park, bordered by West Avenue, 15th Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and Lamar. The area includes many historically designated properties from the late 1800s, some significant mid-century design, student communities and limited multi-family housing. Many residents have been a part of the Judges Hill Neighborhood for more than 50 years, representing generations of ownership.
The Judges' Hill neighborhood was originally inhabited by the Tonkawa Indians who rode and hunted in the areas surrounding Shoal Creek. In 1851, Elijah Sterling Clark Robertson built the neighborhood's first home near the corner of 18th and San Gabriel. The house was demolished in 1966. Robertson was the first among the neighborhood resident judges and attorneys who earned the area the name of Judge's Hill.