Round Top’s Stylish Hospitality: Glamp Inn
Owners Sterling and Kaci VanCoutren say the Glamp Inn, America's only indoor trailer park located in Warrenton, can be described in one word: fun (with two exclamation points).
Glamp Inn, America’s only indoor trailer park, features nine vintage campers and eight 16-foot yurts each designed with a bright, bold, over-the-top themes in climate-controlled comfort. Designed for outdoorsy adventurers who love indoorsy comfort, Glamp Inn is outfitted with a kitchenette, a big screen TV, common areas perfect for gathering, and outdoor spaces for sitting and grilling. The Lone Star Gallery, which is next door, is available as an event center to accommodate wedding receptions, family reunions, retreats, seminars or workshops. The event center can be rented as a standalone as well.
Insider’s Info: During the Round Top Antiques Show, the trailers and yurts are rented individually. The rest of the year Glamp Inn can be rented for small or large group events. For small groups there is a four-unit/two-night minimum. Larger groups can rent half the building or the entire building.
Road to Round Top: Sterling VanCoutren has been a regular in Round Top since his childhood when his family would visit his uncle Sterling McCall at his area ranch. Soon after his marriage to Kaci, life took the young couple to South Carolina, but the pull of Round Top remained strong. In 2004, the couple renewed their vows in the tiny town.
A few years later Sterling and Kaci returned to Texas. About the same time, McCall, an avid car collector, decided to dismantle his auto museum housed in Warrenton. He began looking for someone to buy the property that included 33,000 square feet of display space. McCall and the VanCoutrens struck a deal. In 2013, the VanCoutrens acquired the Lone Star Gallery right in the heart of Warrenton’s famed fields rich with antiques, vintage rarities and junker’s junk.
“We found ourselves with a whole lot of space, a major financial commitment and a strong need to make it pay for itself,” Sterling said. “Desperation spurs prayers—and creativity.”
Rolling out the Welcome Mat: The VanCoutrens started with the most obvious solution, which was hosting antiques dealers during the bi-annual show. They soon discovered just how big 33,000 square feet is.
“It takes a lot of dealers to fill 33,000 square feet, so we began brainstorming about what else we could offer,” Kaci said. “We thought lodging was in short supply.”
From the outset the couple avoided run-of-the-mill. They had kicked around a number of options with friends and were on their way to building a series of tiny houses in their space. Then inspiration struck in the midst of an antiques show.
“Let’s be clear here, ‘Vintage campers’ were all my idea,” Sterling said, laughing.
According to Kaci that may or may not be true. One of their dealers, Debra Dunham, remembered a conversation they’d had with her about Airstream trailers. The dealer sold a watering can to a shopper from Louisiana who specialized in Airstream trailers and had colleagues who were outfitting the vintage trailers for “glamping.”
“Debra found me and said, ‘You have to talk to this man,’” Kaci said.
It was a fateful conversation. Not only did he have access to vintage trailers in quantity, he introduced the Van Coutrens to the folks at Glitzy Glamper, a design firm specializing in one-of-a-kind vintage trailers.
“Once the lightbulb went off, everything just fell into place,” Sterling said.
Because they needed so many campers so quickly, the VanCoutrens turned to Skip and Angela Leachman of Glitzy Glamper for the Glamp Inn’s signature trailer park style. Because they too are regulars at the Round Top Antiques Week, they knew exactly the style the VanCoutrens were going for. Glitzy Glamper completed five of the nine campers, and later Mike and Michele Amoroso from California designed two more, and two others were purchased from Punkie’s Place, a Warrenton dealer known for a signature style.
“We did one ourselves. It is now our sign on top of the building,” Sterling deadpanned. “Refurbishing and outfitting the trailers took more time than Kaci and I had.”
The couple was busy building the infrastructure necessary to bring outdoor trailers inside.
When they added yurts to the mix, the VanCoutrens designed all of those spaces with items they sourced from area antiques and vintage shows.
In a word: “Fun—with two exclamation points!!”
Unique-ness: “Most of the time when people travel they are excited about what they’re going to do, not necessarily where they’re going to stay because a hotel is a hotel. At the Glamp Inn, the lodging is often the event. There’s a cool and funky factor to staying at the nation’s only indoor trailer park that makes a great story—and great pictures—all by itself.” – Sterling Van Coutren
Red Carpet Treatment:
1) Glamp Inn is a family-business, so our guests get our heart and soul as part of their stay.
2) Our guests are VIPs from the moment they arrive. A family member greets them at the gate and directs them to parking. Then we meet them inside, give them a VIP bracelet and get the fun rolling.
3) We make it a point to know what’s going on in the area, so we can help them find fun if they don’t already have plans.
The Roundtopolis™ “Don’t Miss”:
“The local small business-driven culture of entertainment, eating and shopping. There’s nothing cookie cutter about this place. The people who live and work here love what they do, and it shows, so we love for guests to experience that for themselves.” – Kaci Van Coutren