Many visitors will remember this boutique hotel gem, set in the West Campus area of downtown Austin, as the elegant Mansion at Judges' Hill. However, in 2013 this popular high-end hotel reopened under new ownership, undergoing a $5-million renovation to be reborn as Hotel Ella. The main building, the stately Goodall Wooten Mansion, is a historic Victorian house with ornate Greek columns and wrap-around porches. It was originally built in 1898 as a wedding gift from one of UT's founders, Thomas Wooten, to his son and young bride. During its years as the Mansion at Judges' Hill, the hotel saw the addition of a second building and courtyard, adjacent to the main house, with a distinctive New Orleans style. That structure features modern rooms, suites, and business meeting spaces, along with a long, slender pool. Today, less of the New Orleans vibe remains, and the Hotel Ella has updated the entire property with a sleek, contemporary look. The pool area now features a monochromatic grey color scheme, modern minimalist outdoor furniture, and a less-is-more approach to landscaping. Inside, rooms are handsome, large, and well-appointed, more Texas cattle baron (leather, wood, brass) than stuffy Victorian (no fringed chandeliers or heavy damask draperies here). The spaces are finished with art photography, flat-screen TVs, good lighting, and furniture that has strong, simple lines. The result is a serene retreat in the heart of Austin, just a few short blocks from the Texas State Capitol building, the University of Texas campus,  and "The Drag" (Guadalupe Street). The downstairs spaces, including a tony upscale restaurant and full bar, have crystal chandeliers and high-coffered ceilings, with a look that speaks sleek and sophisticated, while whispering old money. I prefer rooms on the second floor of the main house; my husband and I still recall how much we enjoyed having our coffee and breakfast on the wide gallery upstairs overlooking the neighborhood and the city beyond.