El Cosmico

Hotel in Marfa

18-acre Trailer, Tent & Tepee Hotel & Campground

Artists, poets, writers and filmmakers have been flocking to this town near Big Bend National Park in West Texas for more than a decade now. Marfa has grown famous for its film festival and the Marfa Lights, but it's never tried to market or reinvent itself. Its cool, artsy appeal has grown organically.

Of course, with a destination as different as Marfa, there are some unusual places to hang your hat as well. El Cosmico is one of those places.

El Cosmico – part vintage trailer court, part tepee campgrounds – is the latest lodging concept from Liz Lambert and her management company Bunkhouse, the creative force behind the renowned Hotel San Jose and Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin. There's also a creative lab, greenhouse and amphitheatre, all situated in a community space that fosters and agitates artistic and intellectual exchange. It offers accommodations in several renovated vintage trailers, safari tents, several traditional 22-foot diameter Sioux teepees, and a number of tent campsites.

Visitors are encouraged to explore and use the communal spaces on the land including an elm grove full of hammocks, a community lounge and mercantile, and an outdoor kitchen and dining space. El Cosmico offers wood fired Dutch hot tubs seasonally and, eventually a large pool and pavilion will lie at the Bedouin heart of the village to offer an oasis for guests and Marfans alike.

More than just a place to spend the night, El Cosmico offers opportunities for creativity and play, with workshops and retreats ranges from sewing to cooking to art classes to writing workshops and more. And there’s also the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love, held annually onsite.

Perhaps the best thing about El Cosmico is its embrace of the philosophy of Mañana. Mañana cannot generally be found in cities with more than one stoplight, which is all that Marfa has, and is in general an exodus from the world of urgency. As the website states: “Mañana doesn't care about email or normal hours of operation. Mañana recognizes that we can't all have everything we want at any given moment, like peaches in January or cell phone reception in West Texas. Mañana is the anticipation that it might happen today, and it might just as likely not, and really either way it's not that big of a deal.”

The entire concept provides a great place to unplug and slow down. Because let’s face it, most of us could use a little more Mañana in our lives.

El Cosmico also offers plenty of events throughout the year. One of those is the Trans-Pecos Music Festival, also referred to as the festival of music and love. Held each September, this year will be the 8th annual weekend gathering of friends, music, workshops, vendors, art and more.

You can also learn to cook on the range with El Cosmico’s Camp Cooking weekends. If Marfa has any sort of a cultural heritage, it is that of the cowboy, as brought to life in Giant, filmed in the area in 1955. Try your hand with a culinary weekend of Big City Camp Cooking, exploring the roots of West Texas flavor with renowned chef Lou Lambert – who just happens to be the brother of El Cosmico's Liz Lambert. Campers will cook, eat and enjoy the idyllic high plains desert town of Marfa and see how the landscape and culture of this unique place influences its culinary heritage, evolving Texas cuisine from cowboy cooking to haute cuisine. Guests start with a welcome reception on Friday night, followed by intensive culinary workshops on Saturday along with a cook-out dinner at the Bunkhouse Ranch, and a camp breakfast on Sunday. Participants will also have time to explore the art and culture of Marfa on their own, or simply relax in El Cosmico’s hammock grove. The next camp cooking weekend will take place in August.

Shelley Seale is a freelance journalist and author based in Austin, Texas

Reviewer's Rating
Services Free Parking
Outdoor / Adventure
Cost Low
Dogs Welcome Yes

Room and Suite Categories

7 trailers; 6 tepees; 8 safari-style tents; and campgrounds available. All accommodations except the trailers make use of shared bathroom and shower facilities.

Additional Ambience Information

This is not a cushy inn or resort; accommodations are rustic, and guests can also bring their own tents and camp. Pets are welcome and there are usually many dogs here.

Last updated on 29-06-2013

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