Tucked near Shoal Creek in Austin's cozy Allandale neighborhood, Jay and Jayne Crawford's Chicken Coop Tiny Cottage is more than just a sleepy vacation rental, it's the number one Airbnb in Texas.
According to Airbnb's "number one most hospitable Host" list that came out this month, the Crawfords run the most welcoming stay the Lone Star State has to offer. It was a surprise to the Crawfords, who have been running the Airbnb since October 2014.
"I knew we've been doing well but I just never would have dreamed," Jayne said. "I didn't ever imagine we would be number one, so that was a great surprise."
Jayne and Jay Crawford have been renting on Airbnb for the last six years. (Jayne Crawford)
Though there are no chickens to be seen, the rental sits in the couple's backyard. Before they had ever imagined entering the hospitality business Jay, who owned an insurance business, used it as an office before retiring. Jayne, a retired elementary school teacher, came up with the idea to rethink the space while on a beach trip with some friends.
With a love of travel herself, Jayne said she and her husband transformed the space into a rental she would be happy to stay in when far away from home. Growing up in a family of neat freaks, Jayne prides herself on her tidy nature.
"My husband will tell you that I'm very particular, especially out there, because when I travel I don't like surprises," Jayne said. "That's the way I grew up, you clean things and leave it nicer than you found it."
In order to be named "most hospitable" in Texas, the couple had to meet certain criteria: achieve 100 five-star ratings in cleanliness, check-in and communication; gain at least 100 reviews and gain the greatest number of reviews in Texas.
The chicken-themed stay has more than 360 reviews, which is among the most in the nation and maintains a perfect five-star review in five of the six categories, the remaining rating four-point-nine.
The house is only 160-square feet but the garden gives you plenty of room to roost. (Airbnb)
So what makes this Airbnb so cozy?
Jayne says it's the little things like spare toothbrushes, contact solution, chocolates on pillows, snacks on deck and that famous Southern hospitality that keeps people coming back. Before COVID, Jayne said she used to leave homemade brownies for guests.
"I've kind of found over the years that the more you offer people, the more grateful and the better they treat your place," Jayne said. "We pretty much try and think of anything that you would ever forget or I have forgotten on a trip."
The small, farmhouse-style property will let you live the Austin lifestyle with the neighborhood walkability and proximity to downtown for around $70 per night. Jayne said they have renters come and stay year after year like clockwork, so if you want to stay it would be best to book a few months in advance.
The couple asks everyone who stays to sign their mural before leaving. (Airbnb)
The garden is the pride and joy of Jayne Crawford. (Airbnb)
In addition to the money they get from listing their extended home, which covers the "ridiculous" Austin taxes, Jayne greets every group that stays and said the people who stay with her are a delight.
"I try and pop out and meet everybody when they first come just so that they know who's here and if they need anything, we're always available," Jayne said. "The people that rent from us, they're phenomenal, they're just wonderful."
Make sure when you stay to admire the garden personally attended by Jayne herself and sign the chicken mural so you can permanently commemorate your stay in the capital city.
- Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff talks week two of preseason ... ›
- What billionaires like Elon Musk look for in Austin real estate - austonia ›
- Top summer travel destinations and where Austin ranks - austonia ›
- 11 Austin Airbnb Plus listings for a staycation in town - austonia ›
- Geometric Leander Airbnb named one of the 'coolest' in the U.S. - austonia ›
- More than the party ban: Airbnb could be adding to Austin's housing shortage - austonia ›
Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”
We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.
This restaurant claims to have the most authentic South Indian food, and from what I've heard, the claims might be true! Their menu features the traditional South Indian dishes of Idlis, Vadas, a variety of Dosas, and more.
If you're looking for an Indian and Tex-Mex fusion cozy restaurant, then look no further! Nasha on East 7th Street prides itself on its specialty margaritas, Tikka con Queso, Biryani, and more creative dishes!