Location-wise, the La Quinta Inn Austin Capitol (300 E. 11th St., 512/476-1166, www.lq.com, $139 d) is superb. This is one of the few places in town where having a rental car is not necessary, especially since there isn’t any onsite parking. The hotel’s prime location is its biggest asset, offering easy access by foot to most of the city’s major attractions and entertainment options. Other positive aspects of the hotel include a free continental breakfast, fitness center, and pool.
Another notable downtown locale is the Radisson (111 E. Cesar Chavez St., 512/478-9611, www.radisson.com, $149 d), overlooking scenic Lady Bird Lake, and, most importantly, the Congress Avenue bat bridge. Take advantage of the backyard view of the city’s famous summertime bat-watching festivities, or just enjoy the activity on the water and shoreline hike and bike trail. Amenities include a large outdoor pool, a fitness center, and free Wi-Fi service.
You’ll find the best skyline view in the entire city at the Hyatt Regency (208 Barton Springs Rd., 512/477-1234, www.hyatt.com, $189 d). Stunning. Sweeping. Expansive. These are all apt descriptions of the vantage point from each of the riverside rooms—one of the only hotels in town offering this experience from the south banks of Lady Bird Lake. Hyatt guests get an eyeful of the ever-expanding city skyline with bonus views of the Hill Country and the bats’ celebrated evening emergence. The hotel also includes an outdoor pool, whirlpool, sun deck, and health club facility.
The Courtyard Marriott (300 E. Fourth St., 512/236-8008, www.marriott.com, $169 d) is popular with the business crowd since it’s across the street from the convention center. The Marriott is one of the city’s newest hotels, and it’s just blocks away from some of Austin’s premier restaurants and bars. The hotel also features an indoor pool and free wireless Internet access.
Across the street is the similarly new and corporate-minded Hilton Austin (500 E. Fourth St., 512/482-8000, www.hilton.com, $199 d). The hotel is located alongside the Austin Convention Center, so business functions are the norm here, but the location is amazing, as are several of the amenities—a fancy health club and spa with outdoor heated lap pool and hot tub, and alarm clocks with mp3 player hook-ups.
$250 and Above
The spectacular Driskill Hotel (604 Brazos St., 512/474-5911, www.driskillhotel.com, $296 d) exudes history, sophistication, and Texas. Built in 1886 as the showplace of a cattle baron, this historic downtown hotel offers guests a luxurious way to appreciate Austin’s charms and attractions. The lobby alone is stunning, with its massive columns, marble floor, and stained-glass domed ceiling, and the rooms contain intricate woodwork, period furnishings, and sweeping views of downtown. Other highlights include the nationally recognized Driskill Grill and a fitness studio with massage tables and a sauna.
Nearby, the magnificent InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel (701 Congress Ave., 512/457-8800, www.austin.intercontinental.com, $279 d) provides similar historical luxury on a much larger scale. Originally opened in 1924, the Stephen F. offers opulence in an ideal downtown location, and features perhaps the best place in town to enjoy a beverage with a view. The hotel’s terrace bar overlooks the busy epicenter of downtown, offering the only publicly accessible balcony with a tremendous view of the Capitol Building. Room amenities include minibars, elegant furnishings, and soft bathrobes.
A favorite of celebrities and jet-setters, Austin’s Four Seasons (98 San Jacinto Blvd., 512/478-4500, www.fourseasons.com, $320 d) is teeming with luxury and exquisite views of Lady Bird Lake, the Congress Avenue Bridge, and the gently rolling Hill Country. Other exquisite amenities the $300-plus tab covers include a luxurious spa, pool, and fitness center overlooking the shoreline, private minibars, thick terry-cloth bathrobes, rental bikes, a free newspaper with breakfast, and a Texas authors lending library.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition