the exterior of the Cotton Court Hotel in Lubbock, Texas
The hotel’s two-story guest wing is also corrugated steel.

This Hotel Embraces the Legends of the Lone Star State

Lauren Rottet stands but 5 feet, 3 ½ inches tall. (Add another 3 when she dons her Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.) Yet the architect is a towering force in the hotel sector. Rottet Studio, where she is founding principal and president, ranks 16th among the Interior Design Hospitality Giants, not to mention 79th on the top 100 list. Headquartered in Houston, the studio has designed properties around the world—from New York and Los Angeles to Bogotá, Colombia, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as well as nearly 70 vessels for Viking Cruises. Her latest endeavor, however, is closer to home: in Lubbock, deep in the west Texas panhandle surrounded by red dirt and tumbleweeds—a far cry from the glamorous urban hubs that typically host her projects. But Cotton Court Hotel is rife with references not only to Lubbock but also the overall Lone Star State, which happens to be where Rottet is from.

Cotton Court is the fourth in Valencia Hotel Group’s Court Collection—Rottet Studio has designed all of them, seven properties total for Valencia—which is all about providing a destination-worthy, boutique-style hotel in a college town. For Cotton Court, that school is Texas Tech University. Rottet and colleague Chris Evans, design director and associate principal, pay homage to it along with the rich history of Lubbock, long a center of cotton production and live music, and Texan-style outdoor living. “Visitors aren’t getting something dumped on them,” Rottet says of the concept. “It’s Lubbock’s own vernacular. That’s what we love.”

The Cotton Court Hotel Honors Its Locale With An Industrial Aesthetic 

corrugated steel clads The Midnight Shift restaurant and music venue at the Cotton Court Hotel
At Cotton Court Hotel in Lubbock, Texas, the seventh property Rottet Studio has conceived for Valencia Group and the fourth in its Court Collection, materials such as the corrugated steel cladding the project’s amenities component, which contains the Midnight Shift restaurant and music venue, along with brick and weathering steel nod to the city’s agro-industrial history of cotton production.

The team began with the master plan. Five structures, all new-build but with an airy, sort of repurposed warehouse aesthetic, occupy an approximately 3-acre site, a former parking lot. They’re arrayed around a courtyard with an expansive swimming pool. From there came the exterior materials selection: a tight palette of corrugated and weathering steel and brick is simultaneously minimalist, industrial, and desert. For the interiors, which encompass 50,915 square feet and 165 keys, references to cotton and the local music scene abound, with furnishings and finishes that are luxe yet rustic—oversize tufted-leather sofas, wide wooden floor planks, exposed brick. “People can’t tell it’s new,” Evans says of the project. “It looks as if it’s been renovated.” Or, from Valencia executive vice president John Keeling, “We’re creating adaptive reuse for buildings that don’t exist yet.”

The journey begins in the double-height reception lobby. “We played off the trading floor of a cotton exchange,” Evans continues, noting that Houston has one. At Cotton Court, a wall-size mural on the mezzanine resembles an old futures trading board, its numeric patterns looking like they’re done in chalk. Further, they come together to compose a portrait of musician Buddy Holly, a Lubbock native. (The city was a touring stop for the likes of Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings.) Under the mural, behind the reception desk, a series of guitars displayed like artworks are available for guests to use.

Rottet Studio Nods to Local Legends 

With an external stairway that guests favor, the entry piece is attached to one of the guest-room wings; four stories, its accommodations are ordered along double-loaded internal corridors. Meanwhile, the three-story perpen­dicular wing and the L-shape, two-level building offer rooms with 10-foot-deep front porches, very Texan, and covered outdoor corridors. “We design like someone who writes a musical score,” Rottet explains, referring to the common thread tying together the processes underlying all her projects. The metaphor means determining which emotion to evoke, as in a song, calm or crescendo. Those alfresco pathways signify moments of calm; tables with tops painted like a vinyl record tie more literally to music. The buildings’ pitched roofs reference historic cotton mills. “They were typically wood with pointed ceilings and fans to let out the hot air,” she adds.

Heat is not an issue inside these buildings. Long and narrow, standard guest rooms are 400 square feet, the presidential suite 1,390. All adhere to Valencia’s formula of sleeping-sitting zones up front, bathrooms in back. As in many Rottet hotels, most furnishings are custom, and settings are dense with art, objets, and accessories specific to surroundings. “I went through antiques shops to find things by hand,” Evans recalls, “and drove a truckload from Houston to Lubbock.” But, Rottet pipes in, Cotton Court is “not about holing up in the room.”

a chicken-wire American bison head on wood slats at Midnight Shaft
By the stage at Midnight Shift, Sheena McCorquodale’s chicken-wire American bison head hanging on wood slats reclaimed from a Kentucky barn.

Cool Off in the Cotton Court Pool

Between the guest-room components stands a low-slung, cotton gin-esque building distinguished by hand-painted signage saying Midnight Shift, which is the property’s restaurant and concert venue (live weekend music is part of the Valencia program). Its cinematic interiors play up the agro-industrial theme. “Pipe framing expresses the machinelike structure,” Evans notes, while the slatted banquette and bar front evoke visions of flat-bed trucks used to transport cotton bales. The restaurant is joined by two meeting rooms envisioned for Monday-to-Thursday professional travel. They can be conjoined as a ballroom for events (there’s also a boardroom capping the entry piece).

If not at Midnight Shift, Rottet says, “Within 5 minutes of checking into their rooms, guests hit the courtyard—to socialize or grab a drink,” or take a dip. Lubbock is hot, with temperatures climbing upwards of 90 degrees during summer. At 50-feet long, the pool is a real swimmer’s pool and the courtyard’s heart. Overlooking it is a shade structure and an outdoor bar with a slatted banquette made to resemble cattle fencing. “It’s like a small urban resort,” Evans says. In fact, pool privileges are extended to locals, so the property has become part of the community, too. “Before Cotton Court,” Rottet concludes, “there was no ‘there’ there for Lubbock.” There sure is now.

Inside the Cotton Court Hotel by Rottet Studio

a mural of Buddy Holly overlooks the lobby of the Cotton Court Hotel
The chalkboard-like quality of Maksim Koloskov’s mural of musician and Lubbock native Buddy Holly references cotton stock exchanges as it overlooks the lobby, the oak floor planks inset with a swath of copper penny tile.
inside Midnight Shift with dining tables and a gabled Douglas fir-beamed ceiling
The gabled Douglas fir–beamed ceiling rises to more than 20 feet inside Midnight Shift, where Jean chairs surround custom tables on poured-in-place concrete flooring.
the exterior of the Cotton Court Hotel in Lubbock, Texas
The hotel’s two-story guest wing is also corrugated steel.
a chicken-wire American bison head on wood slats at Midnight Shaft
By the stage at Midnight Shift, Sheena McCorquodale’s chicken-wire American bison head hanging on wood slats reclaimed from a Kentucky barn.
numbers in a Buddy Holly portrait
Numbers in Holly’s portrait.
a sign with the Cotton Court Hotel logo
Custom signage with Cotton Court’s logo.
a poster of Lone Star beer
A framed poster of Lone Star, a favorite beer among locals.
inside the presidential suite at the Cotton Court Hotel
Wire shelving displaying cotton-ball bouquets spans a wall in the 1,390- square-foot presidential suite, where century-old, reclaimed-factory maple flooring has been hand-painted with a handkerchief pattern.
a junior suite bathroom with mirror and shower framed in painted steel
In a junior suite bathroom, both the mirror and shower are framed in painted steel.
green custom carpet in a bedroom of the Cotton Court Hotel
The pattern of the custom carpet in standard rooms is derived from an aerial photograph of irrigation circles taken by Rottet Studio design director and associate principal Chris Evans.
guest room corridors at the Cotton Court Hotel covered in yellow pine and Douglas fir
Covered guest-room corridors of local yellow pine and Douglas fir.
a neon Texas Tech Raiders logo in the presidential suite of Cotton Court Hotel
Neon art referring to the Texas Tech Raiders logo in the presidential suite.
a spool table painted like a vinyl record
A corridor’s spool table painted like a vinyl record by Koloskov.
the neon sign of Cotton Court Hotel
The hotel’s primary signage.
a courtyard with a pool at the Cotton Court Hotel
The hotel’s 165 guest rooms and amenity buildings, a total of five ground-up structures, are organized around a courtyard featuring a 50-foot pool.
Rottet Studio: jeff horning; bernardo rios; maksim koloskov; felipe cosio; wade meadors; parker nussbaum; ashlee owens; veronica pesenti
mayse & associates: architect of record
word + carr design group: landscape architect
dci engineers: structural engineer
wh engineering: mep
hugo reed & associates: civil engineer
brand standard furnishings: custom furniture workshop
signco america: custom signage
teinert com­mercial building service: general contractor
through matt camron rugs: vintage rugs (lobby)
Cepac Tile: penny tile
West Elm: coffee tables
schoolhouse electric: sconces
wood goods industries: custom tables (restaurant)
barn light electric: pendant fixtures
Industry West: chairs (restaurant), stools (Pool)
barlow tyrie: chaise longues (pool)
serena + lily: hanging chairs (suite)
rejuvenation: sofa, cocktail table
CB2: side tables
crate and barrel: armchair
daltile: tile (bath­room)
signature plumbing: tub
shaw carpet: custom carpet (guest room)
elegant lighting: custom pendant fixture, custom sconces
wells industries: custom bed
rh: sofa (suite)
new american reel company: custom record table (hall)
ram windows & doors: windows
sherwin-williams company: paint

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