When the Commodore Perry Estate opened three years ago in a 1928 Italianate mansion in Central Austin, it instantly established a new standard of hospitality in the city and became a fixture on roundups of favorite hotels, including Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. It was also a beachhead of sorts for the luxury boutique resort operator behind the hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection.
The Commodore Perry was not only the first Texas hotel run by Auberge—best known at the time for such intimate getaways as Napa Valley’s Auberge du Soleil and Aspen’s Hotel Jerome—it was the company’s first urban hotel anywhere. Fast-forward three years, and Auberge has announced projects it will operate in a few other cities around the world, including Miami, San Francisco, and Florence, Italy—and, notably, several more in Texas. Now totaling 27, the company’s resorts today span the globe from Punta de Mita, Mexico (about 25 miles northwest of Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific coast), to Santorini, Greece.
The latest addition to the portfolio, Auberge executives have revealed to Texas Monthly, will be in Houston, just outside the tony River Oaks neighborhood. That property, the Birdsall, is scheduled to open in late 2026. It will include a 105-room hotel and 44 private residences. As at the Commodore Perry, the amenities will be accessible to locals who buy a membership to the resort’s private club.
Three other new Auberge hotels in Texas have already been announced. Bowie House, which opens December 1 in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, sits within walking distance of the Kimbell Art Museum and several other institutions that have helped the often-overlooked city transform into a boomtown. In 2026, the Knox will open next to the Katy Trail in Dallas, amid the shops of the Knox-Henderson neighborhood and the mansions of Highland Park. And yet another project, the Inn at Mirasol Springs, is being planned along the Pedernales River in the Hill Country. (The Mirasol Springs property, being developed by Dallas real estate mogul Steve Winn, has come under fire from some locals who are concerned that its efforts to be environmentally sensitive will fall short.)
The main driver behind the rapid Texas expansion is Dan Friedkin, a Houston billionaire who acquired Auberge from founder Mark Harmon in 2013. Friedkin, who seems to have his sights set on “most interesting man in the world” status, owns a network of car dealerships and one of the world’s largest independent Toyota distributors, along with various automotive product companies and an Italian professional soccer team. He also produces movies, including the forthcoming Martin Scorsese film based on the blockbuster David Grann book Killers of the Flower Moon, serves as chairman emeritus of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and owns a luxury safari company in Tanzania.
Friedkin and his Dallas-based Auberge CEO, Craig Reid, a veteran Four Seasons executive, saw an opportunity in Texas that other top-tier hospitality companies had largely overlooked. Well-to-do Texans have long been a core part of the Auberge clientele at the company’s properties in California, Colorado, and Mexico. It only made sense to bring Auberge-level indulgence closer to home for those same folks, as well as for travelers from elsewhere drawn in by the booming economy and flourishing Texas art, dining, music, and shopping scenes.
In Houston, the Birdsall will anchor a new seventeen-acre shopping and dining district, known as the RO (a “walkable village,” at 3120 Buffalo Speedway), that will highlight high-end local designers, retailers, and restaurateurs. That’s not unlike what the company is planning in Dallas, with the Knox hotel billed as the centerpiece of “a four-acre luxury lifestyle development that includes curated retail and restaurants, design-forward luxury office . . . and a new park.” For that matter, the Bowie in Fort Worth aims to become something of a new center of gravity for the cultural district.
With five Lone Star projects open or underway and no telling what more could come (San Antonio? Galveston? Round Top? the Big Bend region?), Auberge might likewise end up shifting the luxury leisure world’s center of gravity to Texas.