The Lone Star Glamp Inn is Round Top’s take on roughing it. It’s tents and camper trailers done up just so. It’s a wilderness getaway without all the bustle and bugs. It’s a lodging experience you won’t soon forget — and it came about sort of by chance.
Kaci and Sterling VanCoutren opened the business in March of 2013, originally as an antiques venue. The Lone Star Gallery rented out booth space to vendors who made their way to town for Round Top’s famous antiquing extravaganzas. After about two years, however, the couple decided to change their business model.
“With our location, right here in the middle of the action, we thought lodging might be kind of perfect,” Kaci said.
So, the husband/wife duo, who met during their time at Texas Tech University, got to work. A regular hotel just didn’t seem right, and Airstream trailers, although cute, were too big and pricey for the project. That’s when it hit them to go with “canned hams,” or smaller versions of those iconic metal campers.
As luck would have it, Sterling and Kaci had met an artist at the antiques show who painted and restored campers. They made some purchases, acquired some campers and were excited to book their first guest stay. With a few buckets of paint, some well-planned accessories and creativity for days, the Lone Star Glamp Inn saw the first glimmer of what it would become.
“The restroom was the biggest challenge,” Kaci explained. “But we gutted one of the bigger campers and turned it into a powder room. And it’s actually worked out really well.”
Today, the unique location sleeps 56 people. Its 12 campers (two of which serve as restrooms) and 18 tents are each painted or otherwise decorated in their own unique way. While they leave the camper designs to three different artists, Kaci and Sterling did all but two of the tents themselves. The other two tents were sponsored by friends at Punkie’s Place.
The experience has been gratifying, Kaci said, especially considering the building once served as a car museum owned by her husband’s uncle, Sterling McCall.
“He passed away before he could see this, but he built this whole compound for his family,” she explained. “He loved getting everyone together, and he would have loved this.”
The opportunity to work with guests has also been a lot of fun, as first-timers tend not to know exactly what they’re getting into when they come in for the Round Top Antiques Show. The couple regularly answers questions regarding whether folks need tickets to shop — and what exactly the Glamp Inn really is.
“I love showing them what it’s all about,” Kaci noted. “And they’re so happy. You can’t mess up because they’re on vacation. They’re happy glampers.”
The VanCoutrens might not have known exactly what would come of the space they purchased, but it’s turned out pretty well.
“We never in a million years thought we were going to be innkeepers, but we love offering something a little different,” Kaci said. “If you’re going to do something like this in Round Top or Warrenton, it needs to be something fun, unique and creative. We’re the first and only indoor campground, I think.”
The Lone Star Glamp Inn is open year-round, but individual units are only available for rent during the Round Top Antiques Show and Wine Fest. Otherwise, guests must book entire areas. For more information, visit the Lone Star Glamp Inn website or their Facebook and Instagram pages.