Austin’s The Guild is changing the hospitality industry.
By Lauren Jones, Photos by The Guild
For travelers, nothing is worse than checking into a hotel and finding cramped quarters, a lackadaisical staff and stark interiors. For The Guild Co-founders Brian Carrico and Chris Herndon, it was this common complaint, plus years of their own travel mishaps, that sparked the idea for their latest venture.
The Guild offers a new concept in hospitality, with the best amenities of a five-star hotel, a 24/7 virtual concierge, modern interiors and authentically Austin décor. With five locations throughout the city at luxury apartment complexes, The Guild is able to extend its amenities and services to the buildings as a whole, which further enhances the residents’ experiences, but also the experiences of the guests.
“With The Guild, we want to create real connections between travelers and locals,” Herndon says. “That’s how we came with the name. A guild is an association of artisans, merchants or craftsmen. We want to take that idea and bring it up to speed for millennials.”
Because developing connections plays such a large role in The Guild’s mission, hospitality is one way the company sets itself apart from a standard hotel. Before check-in, guests are greeted with an enthusiastic text message detailing information about their stay. Upon arrival, a guest-experience representative presents a Guild-branded fob. A personal note, a tote bag and snacks from local Austin businesses are left in each of The Guild’s units as treats for guests.
For those staying for an extended period of time, whether for business or to visit family, The Guild becomes a true home away from home.
“We don’t put the same art print in every room like the four-star hotels of the world,” Carrico says. “Everything down to the objet d’art on your coffee table has been curated, and we display local artists’ work.”
In addition to featuring local artists, The Guild’s units are curated by Austin interior designers Claire Zinnecker and Emily Basham-Hoelscher, both of whom Carrico and Herndon selected for their ability to create beautiful spaces that display the quirky and bohemian spirit of the city. From a gallery wall of vintage vinyl-record sleeves at The Guild’s East Sixth Street location to framed vintage photos, each unit has a unique feel.
“I wanted the guests to feel like they were entering into their home whenever they stepped inside,” Zinnecker says. “I wanted [the units]to feel unique, warm, cozy and full of Austin details. I approached this design challenge with custom furniture, pops of color and Austin memorabilia.”
For out-of-town guests, staying at The Guild offers a unique immersion into the culture of the city. In addition to the hand-selected details in each home, the buildings the company partners with are chosen based on location, amenities, comfort and neighborhood charm. The Guild duo has extensive knowledge of the neighborhoods and they make sure to let guests know about the hottest new restaurants in town, up-and-coming events and tips from locals ranging from where to get the best breakfast tacos to the best bars on Rainey Street.
While The Guild is currently opperating only in Austin, Carrico and Herndon are in the process of expanding. Next up: Miami, Boston, Dallas and Nashville, Tenn.
Photos are from The Guild’s East Austin location at The Corazon Apartments.