Since watching Gossip Girl when I was 18, I’ve been obsessed with the remote Prada store in Marfa, Texas (remember the art sign in Lily VanderWoodsen’s Upper East Side apartment?). Now that we live in Texas, of course we had to make the – still 8 hour drive – to West Texas and see it in real life! We decided to stay 2 nights in Marfa itself, and then 2 nights at the luxury Cibolo Creek ranch to catch some sun and rest. Here’s what we saw & did:
The way there
The drive from Dallas to Marfa is about 500-something miles, so with enough stops for Bentley (and our own coffee-fixes) it took us about 9 hours. When you drive out of the DFW metroplex, you slowly start seeing nature become less green and more yellow and dry-looking. After a couple hours, the whole way is flat and becomes one big oil-harvesting field. I mean: industrial and dirty looking areas for hours on end.
When you arrive in the Marfa area, nature becomes more beautiful again: still dry, dusty and yellow, but also beautiful mountains and lots of cacti. I would say the road goes from green and curvy, to flat and oily, to real Texan dusty mountains. It was quite a scenery. Of course, we also saw a lot of remote homes and Cowboy churches (which I previously didn’t even know existed haha).
We stopped at the Monahan Sandhills State Park for some quick pictures. The sandhills are quite surprising in the middle of the West-Texas prairie, because somehow there’s a big area of sand only, where literally nothing grows at all.
So if you want a cute sahara-like picture, definitely stop here. We saw some people with kids camping there too, but since I’m not a huge fan of having sand everywhere, all day every day, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend staying the night.
We found Marfa itself pretty quiet and boring, to be honest. If you’re in the area, it’s a neat little town to experience some existential vibes and a lot of art. Overall, we liked to see how a Texas desert town in the middle of nowhere could exist at all, and we did find some cute places to stay and drink/eat.
The first night we stayed at Hotel Paisano (where the whole cast of The Giant, including James Dean stayed while filming), and the next in El Cosmico (a colorful nomad-like camping site). Our favorite place was Planet Marfa, a lowkey but very eclectic bar with kind locals, and the Waterstop – really good food and a real old bar vibe. I wouldn’t recommend staying in Marfa more than 2 nights.
THE Prada Marfa store
The main reason we wanted to visit Marfa was for the Prada store. For people who are unfamiliar with the concept: The Prada store is in a remote area and is NOT a real store. It is an art piece in corporation with, so not by Prada. You can’t enter the store, and the main thing it is used for is the famous Prada Marfa picture. And it is quite a sight: seeing a Prada store at the sight of a very quiet desert road! And such a bucket list thing for me.
I learned about this store when I was very young and watched Gossip Girl. Lily VanderWoodsen has an art piece on her wall saying: Prada Marfa, with an arrow and 1837 mi. It is the distance from the Prada store in New York to the Prada ‘store’ in Marfa. Now that we’ve visited the store, I’d say we’re allowed to hang it on our wall as well. 😉
The first night in Marfa we stayed in Hotel Paisano. Like I said, this hotel is famous for hosting the whole cast of the movie The Giant. We’ve never seen this movie before, but definitely will go watch it now! The staff and service in the hotel wasn’t impressive, but the old decor and look of the building were pretty iconic. Compared to the rest of Marfa, it did feel like the place to be (hotel-wise). And real fans can book the James Dean room!
The second night we stayed in the rainbow airstream at El Cosmico. This quiet, bohemian camping site is the place to be for glamping in Marfa (though I’m not sure there are others haha). We enjoyed the quietness and hippy-like features of this place. The airstream had both heating and airconditioning (and yes, we needed both) but with an outdoor shower and a train that toots its horn a couple times a night, that’s about all the luxury you get. I’d still recommend going here because the place is iconic for Marfa standards and the complimentary coffee and glitter cake pops were great!
We found a winery!
After our Prada photoshoot, we took a detour back to Marfa to see some different middle of nowhere-views. We accidentally found Chateau Wright and decided to do their wine tasting and had a couple bites with them. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Texas wine (so far), we did decide to bring home a few of their best bottles.
The place was really cute with a great overlook on the vineyard and wildlife, and the staff were very kind and knowledgable. If you’re in the Marfa area, don’t skip this place! It was one of the highlights of our trip and we even spent enough hours there to get sunburned haha.
Cibolo Creek Ranch
The highlight of our roadtrip was definitely Cibolo Creek Ranch – and yes, we loved it even more than seeing the Prada store in real life. We found this ranch as one of the only luxury stays in the area, and truly enjoyed every single part of our stay here. Cibolo Creek is a private ranch used as a five star hotel. Since you can’t really go anywhere to go eat or have fun (apart from driving back to Marfa), we had all our meals and activities right there on the ranch. The horseback riding was amazing, with stunning views and a lot of stories about the owner, livestock and history.
A lot of ‘wild’ animals live on the ranch and it’s one of the only places that sometimes even looks lush, thanks to the creek and fresh water sources in the area – which is rare for the West Texas prairie. The pool, cocktail hours and interacting with fellow travellers is something we still actually miss! And if it wasn’t as secluded and far away as it is, we would definitely come back. If you’re looking for a nice Cowboy-style yet luxury getaway, this is the place to go.
Some last words and recs
Marfa is a great place to visit, IF YOU’RE IN THE AREA. I wouldn’t recommend driving 8,5 hours like we did, just to see what Marfa is about or to visit Cibolo Creek Ranch. Since the Prada store was on my bucket list, it was worth the drive for us. But if you’re not obsessed with any of the elements Marfa has to offer, I’d recommend skipping the Marfa area altogether, amazing as it was – because West Texas is just So. Much. Of Nothing.
The villages and sightseeing things are quite far apart, so take in consideration long dusty drives and a lot of ‘middle of nowhere’-feelings. Yes – even in the center of Marfa itself. If you’re looking to visit Big Bend, I’d say book your stay closer to the Big Bend area than Marfa or Cibolo Creek Ranch – we didn’t visit the Big Bend at all because it was still too far away, and we heard the same from other travellers. Other than that, we had a great time!
Feel free to also watch the vlogs: