An Ethical Traveler’s Oasis in Austin: The Park Lane Guesthouse

Park Lane Guesthouse

During our cross-country roadtrip with Hyundai, Lindsay and I had lots of opportunities to stay in some wonderful rooms—and we decided that the most fun would be to make each night and each place we stayed as different from the previous as we could. So, the night after we rested our jazz-jangled heads at New Orleans’ vintage-luxe Hotel Monteleone, we checked into a woman-owned, run (and built!) B&B in Austin, The Park Lane Guesthouse.


The Park Lane’s natural pool was cool and inviting by day and a wonderland of hanging lanterns and lights at night. 

We arrived late after driving from New Orleans, and enjoyed a glass of wine and the twinkling lights around the pool—which only just hinted at the loveliness we predicted we’d see upon waking. We weren’t disappointed!


It’s hard to capture a several-hundred-year-old live oak up close; it’s just so big!

While our breakfast was being prepared, we checked out the property, which is centered around a large live Oak tree (an incredible Texas hill country native tree whose unique feature is incredibly long, graceful branches that provide tremendous shade and a mini-oasis ecosystem all their own in the wild; here the Oak did the same for the cottages, gardens and pool area). There were all kinds of nooks and crannies to explore, each area a unique space unto itself. Soon we followed the low clucking sounds down a little path and found…..the chicken coop!


Shakti and one of her beautiful heirloom chickens. 

Shakti Khalsa owns and runs the Park Lane—which, as you can see above, includes chicken-snuggling in the job description. The vegetarian breakfast for the guesthouse is made with eggs she gathers from her chickens, and they eat the compost from the kitchen, creating a perfect cycle from chicken to guest to chef and back to chicken again.


Breakfast doesn’t get any more local or sustainable than that! Needless to say, the our fritatta made with just-laid eggs was incredibly tasty and flavorful!

Shakti also built the lovely cottages that guests can stay in (there are three, as well as two rooms inside the house). A former specialist in restorative carpentry, Shakti did an incredible job, creating cottages that feel like they’ve been nestled under the giant live Oak in the middle of the property since the turn of the last century.


The interior of the Garden Cottage, which has a large living room (shown above) with a pull-out couch and vaulted ceilings and a bedroom with a comfy queen-sized bed. Plus a very fun black-and-white bathroom! 

But they just seem vintage, they were built just 20ish years ago: Shakti installed antique stained glass (which combined with the Austin sunshine created beautiful, colorful interior to the cabin we stayed in) to make it feel like an older space. As you can see above, the decor is homey and comfortable, without being boringly unstylish (like so many accommodations are these days), which as style mavens we really appreciated; colors and patterns are much unappreciated if you ask me.


Just beyond the Tibetan prayer flags is the chicken coop; and notice the cool outdoor vintage chandelier on the left!

All of which draws attention to Shakti’s incredible design eye and attention to detail; every space, both indoors and out, was beautifully put together, but never precious. There were several spaces to relax (including our own little porch nestled in the greenery), a pool and the wonderful, grounding energy of the Oak. We didn’t want to leave, even though we were itching to explore Austin a bit!

The guesthouse provides bikes for guests to use; we took advantage of the location of the Park Lane to head on over the Barton Springs for a dip; it was about a 20 minute bikeride along the river, which allowed us a chance to see some of downtown Austin (without having to deal with traffic) as we biked over and back. You just have to secure the bikes after using them at the garage which is completely secure with recently installed Bifolding Doors.


Lindsay and I biked to Barton Springs from the Park Lane Guesthouse. 


A menagerie of adorable dogs upped the cute factor!


Shakti is a consummate hostess, flexible and helpful with dietary restrictions, directions around town, or anything else you might need! Lindsay was genuinely looking forward to the grapefruit served with our breakfast; it was from a tree right behind us in the garden!





Thank you so much to Shakti Khalsa for hosting us in Austin as part of our cross-country roadtrip!

Find Park Lane Guesthouse on Facebook here and Twitter here. And of course, Instagram!

All images by Starre Vartan and Lindsay Brown except top pool image and the cabin image, which are both courtesy Park Lane Guesthouse. 

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.