From the experience of an Austinite comes an easy guide to the best variety of hotel options in Austin.
The city of Austin draws tourists to its downtown core for its legendary wealth of live music and unique events. Beyond downtown are even more options for hotel and resort accommodations both for vacationers and for business travelers planning an enjoyable work trip. Local knowledge helps clarify the options that travelers face when choosing a hotel in an unfamiliar city.
Downtown Austin Hotels
The Downtown area is the key destination for many business and leisure travelers. Six to ten miles from the Austin Bergstrom International Airport, downtown hotels are convenient and close to the Convention Center, the State Capitol, the 10-mile hike and bike trail that circles Town Lake (also called Lake Lady Bird), the Bob Bullock State History Museum, The Blanton Museum, Austin City Hall, hundreds of businesses and a broad variety of dining options.
The University of Texas campus is north of downtown and a quick cab ride can bring college sport fans to UT stadiums for games and concerts. The downtown grid is an ideal place to stay for Austin festivals like SXSW and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. South of Town Lake from downtown is a fascinating collection of hip neighborhoods that are worth seeing.
Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons Hotel is a 4 ½ star hotel in the middle of downtown and on the edge of Town Lake. Similar hotels nearby that share this ideal area include the Embassy Suites Hotel Town Lake, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, and the Radisson Hotel, which is situated at the corner of Congress Avenue and Cesar Chavez on the banks of Town Lake. Here, the Ann Richards Bridge houses the world’s largest urban bat colony, a popular attraction. Nightly prices start from $169-$335.
Four Seasons Hotel Austin
98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 478-4500
Other noteworthy options for the downtown area include the Driskell Hotel and the Stephen F Austin Hotel. Both have excellent locations in the city center and both are historic buildings with cultural significance. The Driskell is a 4-star hotel built in 1886, located on the corner of 6th and Brazos streets and it is the source of many interesting stories and legends. Prices range from $275-$750 per night.
The Driskill – In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 439-1234
Stephen F Austin Hotel
The Stephen F Austin Hotel is located on the 7th and Congress Ave. From $200-$350 per night, it boasts an incredible location a few blocks from the state capitol. With the Roaring Fork American Bistro downstairs and an elegant and comfortable terrace bar upstairs that overlooks downtown and Congress Avenue, it is also a solid choice.
InterContinental Stephen F. Austin
701 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 457-8800
The neighborhoods of South Austin are unique, eclectic, comfortable, and artistic. The SoCo and SoLa areas are thriving with local art, music, and lots of good food. In the midst of one of the hippest areas rests the Hotel San Jose. It was built in 1939 in bungalow style and from $95 a night visitors can indulge in local culture along South Congress Ave. A cab ride downtown will run around $12.
Boutique Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts
In the lovely Clarksville neighborhood just west of downtown lies the Brava House Bed and Breakfast. With great downtown access and parks nearby, rates start at $89. The Mansion at Judges Hill is a boutique hotel in another old neighborhood with historic character. It is a 4-star hotel that is located near UT and Pease Park, with downtown cab fare running around $5. The Woodburn House is in the coveted Hyde Park area, near the Triangle for shopping and dining, but a little more distant from downtown than other choices.
The Arboretum and The Domain
There is a large selection of hotels and extended stay establishments in the northwest area of Austin. The Arboretum and the Domain both have a commute to downtown that is significant if travelers are planning on depending on taxis, however, these hotels can be less expensive and offer a large selection of nearby cuisine with a variety of price ranges and styles. For business travelers who aren’t planning on spending time downtown, the Domain and Arboretum areas can provide for an enjoyable trip all by themselves.
Austin Airport Hotels
Hotels advertised as near the airport are often located about 5 miles away, along the northbound Interstate 35 frontage road south of Highway 71. A decent variety of hotels are available there with downtown access about 3 to 4 miles away. It is not a pedestrian-friendly area but is convenient for those wishing to stay near the city center and spend a little less on a hotel. Those lucky enough to miss a rush hour can expect a $10 taxi ride to downtown.
Austin Area Resorts
For those who want to really get away from it all, Dolce Resort in Lakeway brings you to lakefront peace and tranquility. With a golf course, marina, and sailing academy, Dolce is far from the busy streets. Lakeway lies to the west of Austin and the commute to downtown is roughly 30 minutes. Prices start between $215-$485.
Lake Austin Spa & Resort
The Lake Austin Spa and Resort is an upscale, secluded package-style resort for people who don’t care how far away downtown is. It’s located near the lake and with a large selection of activities, pampering and gourmet food. Three to seven-day packages start at $1635-$7125.
Lake Austin Spa Resort
1705 S Quinlan Park Rd, Austin, TX 78732
Phone: (512) 372-7300
Barton Creek Resort & Spa
The Barton Creek Resort and Spa start at $215 nightly and although it is a 20-minute drive to the downtown area, there are many nice places to eat and sight-see in this part of southwest Austin. The golf course is well known as the #1 course in Texas.
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa
8212 Barton Club Dr, Austin, TX 78735
Phone: (512) 329-4000
Still, most business and public events take place near the central core of Austin’s downtown districts, where a variety of hotel options exist to meet tourist needs. Whatever the purpose of the trip to Austin, visitors can find extensive choices in hotels, food, and activities.