Holiday in Town
Bed, Breakfast, and a Whole Lot More
Park Lane Guest House221 Park Lane, 78704
The Park Lane Guest House didn't start out as the cozy Travis Heights cottage it is today. When it was first purchased by its owners, Shakti and Dev Kirn Khalsa, the house looked more like a run-down South Austin shack, with few windows, little natural light, and linoleum piled three layers thick on the 1940s-era hardwood floors.
What a difference some care and a little ingenuity makes. Today, the Park Lane is a breezy, comfortable, and elegant home, with French doors, tons of funky windows (including one from the first renovation of the Texas Capitol), and a welcoming, wide-open kitchen and living area. Most of the work was done by retired carpenter Shakti Khalsa, who recovered odd doors, windows, and other fixtures from old properties and integrated them into the house's structure. It's the second resurrection for the property, which was originally the site of a larger Victorian house built around the turn of the century; a recently added stone swimming pool was built on the ruins of the original basement.
Guests stay in the Nantucket room inside the house -- a breezy room with private bathroom, billowing drapes, and full-size bed with all-cotton linens -- or in the nearby cottage, a three-room structure built from the shell of the house's original two-car garage. The cottage, which has a queen-size sleeper sofa in the living room and a queen canopy bed in the back bedroom, includes a full kitchen and wonderful deco-style shower with dual shower heads for two. There's also a recently added Carriage House suite on the back side of the cottage, which has a king-size bed.
There's little chintz and only a few antiques in this eclectic home, which has a wonderful South Austin charm and nary a trace of Martha Stewart in sight. Meals, which include a light "continental-plus" breakfast in the cottage or the dining room, are light and vegetarian, with organic ingredients whenever possible. Native gardens, tended by Dev Kirn, are located just outside the cottage, in the cool back yard, which is shaded by a giant live oak tree.
In addition to their bed & breakfast business, the Khalsas teach a self-development course called Avatar; information is available at the inn. The Park Lane is a gay- and lesbian-friendly establishment.