A first look at Hotel Bebe, Truth BBQ co-owner's new Round Top hotel

Abbie Byrom-Botello's passion project, a boutique hotel in the antique capital of Texas, is now accepting reservations.

Truth BBQ's Abbie Byrom-Botello is embarking on a new chapter. It's not in Houston, and it's not another barbecue spot with her pitmaster husband, Leonard Botello IV. It's a boutique hotel in Round Top, Texas' antique shopping capital just 90 minutes outside of Houston.

Hotel Bebe is now accepting reservations, just in time for the fall Round Top Antiques Fair Oct. 13 through 30. The property is conveniently right across the street from Marburger Farm, one of the town's most well-known antique shopping venues.

Byrom-Botello describes Hotel Bebe as "if the Ludlow Hotel in New York City and Hotel Emeline in Charleston, South Carolina, had a baby in the country." Set on 2 acres, Hotel Bebe has four standalone bungalows that sleep up to eight people, each with their own design elements, and one brick ranch house that Byrom-Botello and her husband often call home. All have been freshly renovated over the past six months, painted black on the outside, and now hold modern decor with some country touchesā€”think big fluffy canopy beds, large paintings, and pops of color and caramel leather.

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani
Abbie Byrom-Botello designed Hotel Bebe's rooms and communal areas herself. (Photos by Ben Sassani)

The property also has a bit of Round Top history: The previous owners used the bungalows to host traveling antiques dealers, and before that, it was owned by a woman in the community for decades. "The biggest joke in town is that everybody we know has grown up swimming in our pool," Byrom-Botello says.

She started visiting Round Top with Leonard's mother around seven years ago, not long after she moved to Texas from New York, perusing the antiques and vintage offerings for which the tiny Texas town is known. She didn't really understand the draw at first, but it didn't take long for Byrom-Botello to make trips out there to shop on her own. She also began noticing more and more visitors from in and out of Texas, noting to Leonard she was seeing "more Golden Goose than cowboy boots" at one point.

"A couple years ago I had just started saying out loud, 'I really think that Round Top deserves a cool boutique hotel,'" Byrom-Botello says, something "contemporary, a little edgy, a little modern" that would attract newer Texans like her and give them a fun place to stay.

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani
Hotel Bebe has four standalone bungalows and one brick ranch house available to book. (Photos by Ben Sassani)

The pandemic made her realize she wanted to be the one to offer up that cool boutique hotel. Byrom-Botello started telling people she was going to do it. "I read something somewhere that was like, if you verbalize it, it's X more percent likely to happen," she says. Leonard told her she helped him build Truth BBQ, his now-legendary barbecue joint with two locations in Brenham and Houston. Now, he wanted to help her make a hotel happen in Round Top.

On New Year's Eve 2021, stuck at home because Leonard had COVID, they sat down and made a vision board. A picture of it is still on her phone's background. And 90 days later, she signed the papers on the property.

Abbie Byrom-Botello put some modern touches on the new Hotel Bebe in Round Top.

Ben Sassani

Byrom-Botello designed the interior of Truth BBQ's Houston location, has flipped a couple of houses, and has embarked on designing other homes after her Instagram account dedicated to her "side hustle" got some attention. Hotel Bebe was far and away the biggest project she's ever taken on.

She will be welcoming Hotel Bebe's first guests with sparkling wine during the fall Antiques Show that starts on Oct. 13, finally seeing it "out in the wild" after spending months painting, laying tile and picking out pieces.Ā 

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani

The new Hotel Bebe in Round Top, Texas, is a passion project by Truth BBQ co-owner Abbie Byrom-Botello.

Ben Sassani
Hotel Bebe is a welcome addition to Round Top, which hosts thousands of people for its famous antique shows. (Photos by Ben Sassani)

"I'm just excited to see people park cars there. I want to see them using the fire pit and the string lights that I've been paying my 60-year-old electrician to hang," she says. "That'll give me a lot of satisfaction to walk outside and see people using the property the way I hoped that it would be used, because then it means that they like what I created. I think that's what makes you feel good after you've done all that work."

But don't go expecting to find another Truth BBQ outpost. Byrom-Botello says they may very well do pop-ups and barbecue events later, but for now, this is staying separate. She and Leonard don't think Round Top needs it anyway.

"We have a pretty strong viewpoint that Round Top already has a really good barbecue joint," Byrom-Botello says. "They don't need two."

Hotel Bebe

Find it: 2249 S TX-237, Round Top, TX 78954
For booking:Ā Message @hotelbeberoundtop on Instagram or email [email protected]
Pricing: During peak season, $325 for small bungalows and $675 for large bungalows that sleep four to eight people. Offseason, around $175 for small bungalows and $375 for large ones.

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