Check in to Wille Nelson’s Austin Hangout Turned Tiny House Hotel

published Jul 19, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Austin is known for its live music scene, funky boutique hotels and nearby Hill Country, and one of its newest places to stay, The Wayback Cafe and Cottages, combines the charm of all three.

Located on three Live Oak-dotted acres in the exclusive West Lake Hills neighborhood, The Wayback boasts eight board-and-batten style cottages, a restaurant led by the flavors of Central Texas and a handful of communal areas including a pool, fire pit and cabana. Wednesday evenings are pizza nights and one can often hear the sounds of acoustic guitar or violin from one of The Wayback’s featured performers. It’s not only a relaxing hideout, but one the Austin community has fully embraced. 

Mother-daughter duo, Vicky Bly and Sydney Sue, purchased the property in 2013 from a developer, and quickly decided on a name: The Wayback. But, little did they know just how serendipitous that name really was. 

“It was meant to be from the beginning,” Sue recalls. “We were meeting with a lighting guy and we gave him the address and he said, ‘Oh my dad used to go out there all the time. You mean The Wayback When? That’s what it used to be called.’”

Back in the live music heyday of the 1970s and 80s, rumor has it that Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin used to come out to The Wayback When for jam sessions. 

“There’s a rock wall [on the back of the land] where they would serenade one another and their friends,” Sue says. “There was also a volleyball court and they’d hang out, smoke dope and have a good old Saturday night.”

Today, the rock wall still stands as stories of The Wayback live on with future generations. 

The eight cottages, which were inspired by Sue’s great great grandmother’s home in Kerrville, Texas, were designed with the land in mind, each with exterior patios and built around the mature oak trees. 

“For us, it was really important to preserve the land we live on. With strip malls going up you won’t get much more of this in the future. We hope to start a trend,” she says. 

Each cottage stands for a different stage of life. Sue, who is currently 28 years old, designed them so the property could be a place “that [she’d] enjoy coming back for say 30 years and enjoy it as much as the first time every time,” she says. 

Cottages one and four, which are the largest at 500 square feet, have a queen bed and two twin beds, great for families or close friends; cottages two, three and seven are the smallest at 325 square feet, and ideal for a solo trip.

“Cottage five is for the girlfriend’s getaway,” she adds. “There’s a pink couch from Serena & Lily, all antique details and things you’ve never seen before, while cottage eight is for the honeymooners. There’s a fireplace and a romantic back porch.”

Inside, each feature various furnishings and textiles, all organic and sustainable, along with art, some handmade by Sue herself. 

But, some of Sue’s favorite pieces on the property are the ones with a story, such as the 1950s outdoor bench she bought in Round Top and the 1910 hand-whittled wooden luggage cart she got for just $10. 

“There’s definitely some fun and quirky pieces,” she says. 

The Wayback’s calming color palette adds to its laid-back, family-friendly vibes. Curious to see where Willie once roamed? Click here to book a stay.