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Ant Street Inn

Ant Street Inn


Ant Street Inn is a hotel building near the center of Brenham, Texas. This bed and breakfast was originally built in 1899 and operated as a warehouse and retail store before closing in the 1970s. It was renovated in 1990, reopened as an inn in 1995, and is currently known for its antiques and free bluebell ice cream. It is also known for its guest rooms, which are decorated and colored in likeness to the cities where the inn's original owner purchased his antiques. Breakfast is served at the Brenham Grill, a restaurant adjacent to the hotel lobby and operated by Jaime and Chelly Galindo. Keith and Suzy Hankins, the inn's owners, have partnered with several local businesses to provide guests with additional experiences such as wine tastings and holiday celebrations.

About

Ant Street Inn is located near the center of Brenham, Texas. It is near several local live music venues, stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and wineries. The property is an acre and a half and is comprised of a hotel building described by one of its owners as "classic southern" styled, as the exterior square and made of red brick. A wildflower field, fountain, and "New Orleans-style" gardens are south of the main building. These are decorated with iron works, and Suzy, one of the inn's owners, says it is the only designated green space in Brenham.

Fifteen units with private bathrooms are available to rent at Ant Street Inn. These are categorized into seven Classic rooms, five Deluxe, and three Premier accommodations. The Classic rooms are cheaper with "more basic amenities," according to Suzy. These include a single sink and a shower or tub and shower combination. The Deluxe rooms are slightly larger, and their bathrooms include a separate tub and shower plus two-sink vanities. One of these units has a king-size bed, while the others have queens. Finally, the Premier rooms are the largest and most expensive accommodations and come with shower and tub combinations or a jetted tub in the case of the San Antonio room. These also include desks or additional seating areas. Amenities common between all rooms include flat-screen TVs, soap, shampoo, makeup towels, and a view of the property veranda or downtown. All the rooms were named and decorated after the towns where the previous owner purchased antiques. For example, Louisville is colored like a brown saddle and features horse artwork, and Galveston is blue with paintings of ships.

The Refreshment Room on the second floor of the inn is where guests can get water, coffee, soda, and bluebell ice cream, which Suzy says is one of the things for which the inn is best known. This room has 24-hour access and is reached by stairs. The Grand Hall is another common area with game tables, sitting areas, access to an outside veranda, a library, and movies. A Hospitality Room at the end of the Grand Hall has a coffee station and can be reserved at no cost to guests; Suzy says it is often used by couples who want to play board games together or businesspeople who need to attend a meeting. The outdoor veranda on the hotel's south side can provide guests with a view of the gardens, and Suzy says "it never gets direct sunlight." She also notes that guests often use it as a spot to hear the music from the nearby venues or drink coffee and eat ice cream. Ant Street Inn leases a restaurant on the first floor called the Brenham Grill, open to guests and the public depending on the day. Lastly, a 4500-square-foot ballroom can be rented for weddings, birthday parties, business meetings, or political events. Suzy explains that each room throughout the second floor has a variety of antiques, stained glass, and artwork for guests to look at. Downstairs, a shop called The Vault can provide visitors with items like soap, mugs, makeup towels, sheets, and other gifts. Finally, private parking is offered to visitors at the inn.

Ant Street Inn is close to several attractions that guests frequently visit. These include live music venues, places to shop, restaurants and coffee shops, and the Unity Theater. All these are within walking distance. Additionally, Suzy recommends her guests visit The Tilted Windmill, Brossa's Cibo e Vino, and Las Americas when considering dining options outside Ant Street Inn. Brossa's Cibo e Vino serves Italian food such as pasta and sandwiches. Visitors may also try various Latin American dishes in Las Americas or pastries and sandwiches at The Tilted Windmill.

Seating times for the complimentary restaurant-style breakfast are available for guests from 7:00 to 8:45 PM on weekdays and 8:00 to 10:15 AM on Saturdays and Sundays. Breakfast is served at the Brenham Grill, which can seat about 38 people, and a voucher is used on weekends to determine which restaurant visitors are guests of the inn or people from outside. Inn patrons must show restaurant staff their room keys on other days. Menu items may include cereal, omelets, waffles, and bacon, with a wider variety on the weekends, such as eggs benedict or huevos rancheros. Coffee, juice, and milk are also served. Dietary restrictions and food allergies are considered as long as the owners or restaurant staff are told in advance. Additionally, a "cold plate" may be provided for guests who are unavailable during regular breakfast hours. Visitors are asked to warn the Ant Street Inn staff no later than the night before, and this option may come with cereal or baked goods in the Refreshment Room.

Culture

Suzy, one of the owners of Ant Street Inn, says she wants her guests to be "comfortable and welcome" and "feel like they're at a place of rest" while visiting. She gives them free bluebell ice cream and brandy freezes during National Ice Cream Month to make them feel this way, and she says she likes to put them in a place where guests "do not feel like they are sneaking." They can also be provided with items such as toothbrushes, deodorants, and other personal care items which people might have thought they had but forgot on their trip.

Ant Street Inn hosts a few activities in which guests may participate. Suzy comments that they have often held Thanksgiving or mystery dinners on-site. They have also hosted New Year's Eve parties, wine sampling events with local partners, and the Jingle Bell Market, which is a crafters' market and part of the Brenham holiday kickoff. Over the years, Ant Street Inn has hosted multiple weddings, business meetings, and other celebrations for their guests and community in the garden and ballroom.

When guests leave reviews for Ant Street Inn, Suzy observes that the most prominent thing they comment on is the free bluebell ice cream, which she says is the most unique and well-known thing about the property. She also notes they comment on the "thoughtful extras" that are provided, such as cookies. Finally, Suzy notes that Ant Street Inn's reviews tend to comment on the property's cleanliness; it is AAA inspected and has received the "Inspected Clean" award. Guest satisfaction has been generally positive; one visitor said, "Everything we needed [was] at our fingertips as if we had placed it there ourselves. Linen was soft and comfy, ac was nice and cold, shower was one of those great modern conveniences. Bathrobes were soft, lemon-scented soap was divine and little touches made us feel like we were at home (instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bluebell ice cream, ice in individual bags in freezer)." According to Suzy, a large portion of guests are in their 50s and 60s, although she remarks that recent years have seen visitors "shifting to a younger traveler." Many guests return to Ant Street Inn, and she notices how recurring guests often rent out a different room than the one they first stayed in to see its style and d├ęcor.

A few policies are in place at Ant Street Inn. No pets or children under the age of 12 are allowed. Indoor smoking is also prohibited. While check-in is at 3:00 PM, a self-check-in option is available for guests who arrive late because of inconveniences on their trip. The inn is open year-round, although Suzy says the best seasons of operation are from March to May and September to Thanksgiving due to more temperate weather. 

History

The Ant Street Inn historic building was originally built in 1899. The downstairs portion served as a retail store, and the upstairs portion was used as a warehouse with a series of offices. The building was closed in the 1970s, then it began renovation in 1990 and was reopened as Ant Street Inn in 1995 by an antique dealer and auctioneer named Tommy Traylor. He was the first person to invest in Brenham's revitalization and bought Ant Street Inn as part of his investment. Upon renovating the property, he opened it as a bed and breakfast and would host his auctions in the ballroom. After running the inn for 17 years, he sold the property to Keith Suzy Hankins in 2011, and they took over the staff in 2012.

Keith and Suzy, the current owners, wanted to own a hospitality business together, and they loved bed and breakfasts. However, they had to wait until all their children graduated high school and moved away before taking on the venture. When their children left, Keith and Suzy traveled to Texas and found that Ant Street Inn could sustain them and allow them to work full time instead of needing to find a second job, as they were in their early 40s when they bought the inn. Suzy says they have loved the experience, and she remarks that "If we're going to work 50 hours a week, it might as well be for ourselves and not for someone else."

No significant changes have been made to Ant Street Inn since Keith and Suzy took over, other than cosmetic changes, maintenance, and adding a few more amenities. Suzy explains that they wanted to preserve what the property felt like, and they currently do not have any future plans for the inn as they feel "locked in" where they would like to be. Suzy also comments that their partnerships with other local businesses in Brenham have allowed them to provide their guests with things that Ant Street Inn has no direct access to, and she feels that has greatly helped their business.

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Established
1995
Location

107 West Commerce Street
Brenham, Texas 77833
United States

Style

Classic Southern

Owners

Keith and Suzy Hankins

Owned Since
2011
Previous Owners

Tommy and Pam Traylor

Phone
979-836-7393
Reviews
4.9 (554 Reviews)
4.8/5 197 Reviews
Google.com
5/5 357 Reviews
TripAdvisor.com
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