WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — Two vacation spots close to home in the Hill Country come with some intricate, unusual lodgings that would normally be found thousands of miles away in Central Asia.
The Yurtopian Hill Country Resort now has two locations in Wimberley and Dripping Springs, where they rent out 19 yurts handmade by a family in Mongolia. Owners Brian and Ann-Tyler Konradi decided to bring some of these traditional dwellings to Central Texas after traveling internationally over the years.
“We thought the vibe of yurts in Central Texas worked well, and we liked the footprint,” Brian said. “Yurts don’t require that we tear down a lot of trees and things like that, so we jumped on that.”
The Konradis put up the first yurt in 2019 on a 26-acre tract of land they bought in Wimberley and have since expanded what they offer there. There’s now a yurt where couples can get a massage as well as another that can serve as a dining room.
Each structure has a colorfully painted door that Ann-Tyler Konradi said guests should enter on their right foot as part of tradition. Inside, the curving wood walls are made of stripped Siberian pine that she said is steamed to bend it into the right position. A layer of sheep’s wool insulates the yurt for guests, and the ceiling rungs are painted with the same patterns found on the front door.
“The painting is all also traditional Mongolian style,” Ann-Tyler explained. “We have different colored yurts. Each one is a little bit different, but roughly the same painting. I can see a yurt in a different location, and I know immediately it’s Mongolian because of this style of decoration. The family, we’re told, sings while they paint, which is kind of cool.”
The sleeping yurts also come with a king-sized bed and a sitting area. Outside, they have a deck with a hot tub, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and an outdoor shower. There’s also a television and Wi-Fi access. Some even have a second-story seating area with views of the Hill Country.
“Our core feature here on most of our yurts — we call them the remote yurts at The Yurtopian — is that we have an area where everyone can feel kind of the privacy of the seclusion here in Central Texas,” Brian said. “None of them are built right next to each other… these remote yurts at The Yurtopian. We focus on privacy and seclusion, where you really feel like you’ve kind of gotten away into the Texas Hill Country.”
The remote location of the property helped buoy the business through the COVID-19 pandemic, the owners said, because people sought out solitude to stay safe.
“I think people were so eager to just go somewhere,” Ann-Tyler said. “They just wanted to get out. They wanted to get into nature. They wanted to look at the stars. They wanted to hear the birds. That’s probably the No. 1 thing that people commented when they come to The Yurtopian is they say, ‘Wow, we forgot what it sounds like to hear nature around us, and we’ve been in the city. We’ve been cooped up in our houses or apartments, and we’re just happy to be outside.'”
Yurts cost anywhere from $200-400 per night depending on the season as well as the day of the week.
This story is part of a KXAN series highlighting Central Texas activities — you can see our full list on our “Central Texas Things to Do” page. Do you have an idea of something we should profile? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.