If endless live music, mouthwatering tacos, natural pools and beautiful parks are your idea of a perfect trip, it might just be time to visit Austin, the bohemian capital of the Lone Star State.
Home to events like South by Southwest, Austin City Limits festival and bachelorette parties galore (not to mention barbecue and the University of Texas at Austin), ATX truly has something for everyone.
There’s also a place to stay for every type of traveler, from historic motor lodges converted into chic motels to luxury names we all know. There’s even a lakeside spa resort designed to help guests recharge and relax in the stunning beauty of Central Texas.
Whether you’re a city slicker in town for business, a foodie lookin’ to taste the best Texas has to offer, or you are embarking on a western road trip, here are some of Austin’s best hotels (including some excellent points options), where you can settle in and make a temporary home.
Just don’t forget: Keep it weird.
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This Line Austin is one of this hotel reporter’s favorite hotels in the world — and I’ve stayed at some pretty incredible places.
For starters, the location in Downtown Austin, butting up to the Colorado River, is perfect for exploring the eclectic shops and restaurants of South Congress and the lively (though touristy) bars and nightlife on 6th Street. It also sits right along Lady Bird Lake and the Congress Avenue bridge, so you can watch the largest colony of bats in North America put on their natural show as you take a dip in the hotel’s heated pool. (Sounds scary, but it’s one of Austin’s main attractions!)
Inside the hotel, rooms are simple but chic, with a modern, industrial aesthetic made comfortable with Bellino linens, a curated assortment of local snacks and drinks, and floor-to-ceiling windows that fill the space with light radiating from that big Texas sky. Request a lake view room so you can spend a lazy morning watching locals and tourists take advantage of the water.
At Arlo Grey, “Top Chef” winner Kristen Kish serves up an inspired menu rooted in local fare (think: crispy rice with saffron aioli and cilantro and a Texas-raised Wagyu ribeye with spring onion fritter) alongside cocktails and an international wine list. Wet your whistle at P6, a lovely lounge atop the parking garage serving creative cocktails, elevated bar food and dramatic sunset views over Lady Bird Lake.
Rates at Line Austin start at $225 per night.
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In a place as trendy as Austin, it’s only right to stay in a hotel with just as much texture and style as the city itself. That’s why Austin Proper (part of Marriott’s Design Hotels), located Downtown on 2nd Street, should be a top contender.
Designed by the influential creative Kelly Wearstler, the hotel exudes a sort of unbridled confidence that will have you posing in plush armchairs and planning outfits to match all that over-the-top wallpaper just to make your followers jealous.
Rooms at this Proper outpost (the others are in California with more East Coast properties coming soon) are grounded in natural hues and elements, such as local stones and woods, and complemented by giant windows with motorized shades, Simmons Providence mattresses and comfortable robes from Parachute. Even better are two amenities every single hotel in the world should include: Apple TV and a fabric steamer.
If you don’t fill up on local art, stop by The Peacock for Mediterranean food, followed by a nightcap at Quill Room, a clubby lounge with live music. During the day, beat the Texas heat with a spicy marg from the rooftop pool restaurant, La Piscina, or borrow a bike and cruise along the river. To really relax, hit up the Verbena Spa for an agave- and tequila-infused treatment ($338 for 90 minutes).
Rates at Austin Proper Hotel start at $350 or 42,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
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One of the crowning brands in Hyatt’s robust portfolio, Miraval Resorts offers tranquil retreats that help guests center themselves in the day-to-day hustle we call life, as well as give them a chance to disconnect from technology thanks to its mostly unplugged cellphone policy.
The adults-only Miraval Austin is tucked away in a sprawling complex in the hills. Guests have plenty of wellness-focused activities to choose from, including sound healing sessions, yoga and meditation classes. There are also experiences with horses, farming activities like chicken keeping, and even more physical activities like a ropes course challenge and climbing walls (note that some activities are not included in the mostly all-inclusive pricing structure of Miraval Austin.)
Food is served at The Hilltop Crossings Kitchen, which is designed to be as calming, healthy and nourishing as the rest of any stay. Beyond the standard three meals daily, a rotating menu of food-focused activities, like “Conscious Mixology” and lessons on gut health, are on offer.
Then, of course, there’s the Life in Balance Spa. Experiences here range from a deep tissue massage ($235 for 50 min) to Eastern-inspired experiences like the “Crystal Energy Balancing” session ($195 for 50 min) that uses Reiki and crystals to help cleanse the soul.
Rates at Miraval Austin start around $1,200 or 57,500 or 72,000 World of Hyatt points per night, both based on double occupancy. Note that every award booking includes a $175 resort credit per person.
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For those looking for a more refined stay in Austin, high above the boozy bars of Downtown, the Fairmont is a top-notch choice with an array of superb amenities that make it difficult to decide how to spend your time.
You could reserve a cabana for privacy or snag a pool lounger to soak up the sun beside the Texas-size, resort-style rooftop pool. Or, pamper yourself at the Fairmont Austin Spa for a Himalayan Hot Salt Stones Massage ($195 for 50 minutes) or take a soothing dip in the indoor, infinity-like soaking pool.
Rooms at this Fairmont radiate classic luxury, with plush beds, floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortable lounge chairs and a neutral colorway with pops of blue and green. In the bathroom, who could ask for anything better than Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries?
While Austin boasts some of the best dining in the state, the Fairmont has plenty of its own restaurants to wade through. There’s the Texas-style, open-flame steakhouse Garrison; the Room 725 Champaign and Caviar Bar; seasonal bites and drinks at Fulton; and more.
Rates at Fairmont Austin start around $207 per night.
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Though Austin’s skyline is full of glitzy new highrises, the city also has a handful of hotels loaded with history — none more than the Driskill, part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, which dates back over 100 years to 1886. Here you’ll find a mix of old and new glamour, but all with a Texas twist. Rooms feature wrought-iron beds with cowhide benches at the foot, trunk-style nightstands, wooden writing desks and large drapes with valances depicting the exterior of the hotel.
Right near the action of 6th Street (which, be warned, can get rowdy) and not too far from the state Capitol, this hotel is a great place to steep yourself in Texas traditions — especially when it comes to food. Stop by the leather- and cowhide-clad Driskill Bar, and you might find yourself sippin’ on a local draft beer with a helping of pimento cheese. Next, head to dinner at The Grill, where former President and Lady Bird Johnson had their first date, for a biscuit board (it’s exactly what it sounds like!) and filet mignon.
Rates at The Driskill start at $204 or 21,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
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The Four Seasons is known for giving its guests the most in unbridled luxury — and in Austin, that comes in the shape of an on-demand margarita cart because what’s more luxe than a Clase Azul Añejo marg at just a phone call away?
Actually, there are plenty of things equally as luxe at the Four Seasons Austin, like rooms featuring the Canadian brand’s signature beds, views of Lady Bird Lake, Byredo bath products in a travertine shower and twice-daily housekeeping. For a little more, opt for a Lake View Balcony Room so you can take that aforementioned margarita (say that five times fast!) right out into the fresh air.
If you’d rather enjoy your drink at the bar, stop at Live Oak, where you can sample a chili-infused mezcal cocktail served in a glass boot by an oversized fire pit. At Cicilo, Texas and Latin flavors merge to create a menu featuring fare like enchiladas rojas, sea scallops and pork belly, grilled steaks and smoked Texas quail.
However, there’s more to do than eat and drink. Relax by the pool or grab a hiking trail guide and explore the paths right outside the hotel, which is along the river in downtown Austin. Head to the fitness center for a yoga class, or book a treatment of your choice at the luxurious spa.
Rates at the Four Seasons Austin start at $640 per night.
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One of the most exciting new hotels in town (included in TPG’s list of most anticipated hotel openings of 2022), the Thompson Austin is a sleek, moody new World of Hyatt property right at the heart of all the action.
Here, guests can expect stylish rooms designed by Chicago-based Simeone Deary Design Group, with terrazzo floors, green leather headboards, big TVs to catch up on Netflix, rainfall showers with D.S. & Durga bath amenities and fabric steamers to easily work out the wrinkles in your garments without wrestling with an iron and ironing board.
The real star of this property is The Diner Bar, where James Beard Award-winning chef Mashama Bailey and restaurant partner John O. Marisano (the forces behind Savannah’s hit restaurant, The Gray) serve seasonal southern food with a Texas flare. (There’s also a grab-and-go counter from the duo if you’re short on time.)
On the fourth floor, a pool deck offers lounge chairs and cabanas to relax in while grazing on snacks from Wax Myrtles, a Texas-meets-California Mexican restaurant serving bites like fish tacos and shrimp tostadas alongside heat-beating frozen drinks, fun cocktails and local beer on tap.
Rates at Thompson Austin start around $300 or 21,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
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The all-inclusive Lake Austin Spa Resort is the place to leave the “weird” of Austin behind, set your intentions on rest and relaxation and enjoy the better parts of life on 19 acres of lakefront property.
Half an hour from downtown Austin, this dreamy resort is accessible by car — but the more fun way to get there is by water taxi. As the water taxi is less crowded than the highway, so is the resort itself, with just 40 sun-filled rooms with porches, relaxing soaking tubs, tall ceilings and even cottages that have their own hot tubs.
The pricing structure here gets guests three hearty meals a day (room service counts), plus healthy smoothies, juices and snacks. Also included is a 24-hour fitness area, lake activities like kayaks and paddleboards, a lakeside beach, outdoor pools, swings and hammocks (to finally read that book you’ve been carrying around), a heated indoor pool and tons of activities ranging from belly dancing classes to hiking in the hills.
Just don’t forget, it is a spa resort — and this one has a whopping 25,000-square-foot facility that offers whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and more. Treatments range from the ultra-luxe (we’re talking a caviar-infused facial that’s a little north of $1,000) to more standard options (like a deep-tissue massage, starting at $225).
Rates at Austin Spa Resort start at $1,550 per night, based on double occupancy.
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Formerly a Kimpton hotel, the now-independent Hotel Van Zandt towers over the Rainey Street District, a strip of houses-turned-bars, parking lots filled with food trucks and a generally younger crowd looking to live it up on one of Austin’s main party drags.
Though Rainey Street might seem a little college-like, the hotel feels all grown up, with rooms featuring a color palette of deep blues and airy beiges, large wooden desks, plush linens and a table with leather chairs. Non-standard rooms include a spa suite with a soaking tub; 900-square-foot Presidential Suites, complete with kitchenettes and vinyl record players; and pool view rooms.
Speaking of the pool, the rooftop pool deck has plush cabanas and a poolside bar serving snacks and drinks, and there’s a massive fireplace where guests gather on crisp evenings. If you’re hungry, stop by Geraldine’s, offering Texas-inspired brunch and dinner, plus daily live music. You might think Texas is all country, but make a reservation for Jazz Brunch, and you’ll leave realizing why Austin is called the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
Rates at the Hotel Van Zandt start at $206 per night.
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At W Austin, located downtown, Marriott loyalists can find a funky slice of home that’s fitting for a trip to one of America’s funkiest cities.
Rooms that would otherwise be considered bland or stale are brightened with whimsical pops of color. Also, staying true to the W brand aesthetic, there are fun red couches and armless chairs to lounge in. Other elements include images from local photographer Scott Newton, Bricor Venturi shower heads and 300-thread-count bedding because every visitor to Austin knows a good day requires a good night’s sleep.
Know, though, that Austin isn’t the kind of place you spend too much time in your room. Instead, the home base at this hotel is the immaculate lobby, split into various sections. They include the Tequila Bar, with a vast assortment of spirits and games to play; the Record Room, where guests can pursue over 8,000 different vinyl records; and the Living Room, which offers a club-like atmosphere with a live DJ some nights.
The hotel also has a restaurant, Trace, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner with a menu of locally sourced foods ranging from pasta dishes to brisket sandwiches. There’s also a fourth-floor pool deck with lounge chairs and cabanas, a spa and a 3,600-square-foot gym.
Rates at W Austin start at $257 or 44,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
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Auberge Resorts knows luxury well — and that’s exemplified at its Austin property, Commodore Perry Estate, which is set in a European-meets-Texan walled estate sprawling over 10 acres. An iconic landmark given a new life, this retreat offers stunning, Renaissance-inspired suites in the historic mansion and a series of rooms and suites in the Inn, all filled with various accents like four-poster beds, leather couches, ornately-framed artworks and local goods to take home from the room in an area cleverly called “The Estate Sell.”
Guests can relax by the cooling pool waters but don’t miss out on the many events scheduled throughout a stay, including tequila tastings, custom boot experiences, hiking and live music. For the wellness-minded, there are HITT and yoga classes, meditation sessions and personal training instructors. Across the street, a nine-hole public golf course invites folks to practice their swing.
Meals are savored at Lutie’s Garden Restaurant, named after the estate’s original matriarch and designed by the eclectic visionary Ken Fulk. Meals consist of fresh, seasonal produce with an underlying focus on incorporating ingredients and meats from local farmers and ranchers. Guests can also eat poolside from a menu of select pool snacks.
Rates at Commodore Perry Estate start at $520 per night.
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If you’re a fan of retro vibes, ’70s decor and Wes Anderson films, you’ll be right at home at the Austin Motel, a staple of South Congress and the Austin hotel scene.
At this vintage motel, guests sleep in rooms with quirky wallpaper, brightly colored headboards, Sferra sheets — and peace of mind from knowing that you’re in one of the coolest places in town.
Spicy margaritas are best had beside the kidney-shaped pool, where red-and-white plastic fold-up pool chairs invite guests to relax in the sun (or pose for a very likable photo). Next door, in a space shared with the hotel, Joann’s Fine Foods serves tacos throughout the day (breakfast tacos are life in Austin) alongside enchiladas, sizzling fajitas and lots and lots of queso.
Just don’t forget to stop at the hotel’s bodega, or general store, for some Austin-centric goods to take home, like fun T-shirts, funky swim trunks and other goods worthy of a splurge.
Rates at the Austin Motel start at $149 per night.
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Found in South Austin, Hotel Saint Cecilia (named after the patron saint of music and poetry) is an intimate abode that oozes charm and Austin’s fresh sense of cool. Rooms include minimalist studios, ornate suites and poolside bungalows with record players, king-size Hästens beds and outdoor seating where you can sit back and relax.
At the 50-foot heated lap pool, children are allowed until 2 p.m. Then, the area turns into an adults-only space where drinks, like a chili-infused reposado tequila, and snacks (try the charcuterie board) are on offer from the Lounge. Guests can also enjoy a full bar and food menu away from the pool in a charming seating and bar area that’s generally not open to the public.
Rates at Hotel Saint Cecilia start at $449 per night.
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Another hotel new on the scene, the Loren at Lady Bird Lake, has all the character you’d expect from such a vibrant city but is slightly removed, geographically speaking, from the true hustle and bustle of downtown.
The public areas are industrial chic, with concrete walls adorned with beautiful plants everywhere you look, soft wood tones and cozy couches on which to relax. Throughout the hotel, an impressive collection of art themed around science and architecture also commands attention.
In the rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows provide views of the best parts of Austin, vibrant green carpet brings the outdoors inside, and a charming mix of leather furniture, patterned headboards and sleek white Sferra linens effortlessly ties it all together. Bathrooms feature beautiful stone countertops, walk-in showers (some rooms have free-standing tubs) and Malin+Goetz products to wash away the day.
Inside the hotel, the rooftop restaurant Nido features a menu of seasonal offerings throughout the day, from a blue crab omelet for breakfast to pasta dishes, meat and seafood dishes for dinner. Room service is also available, and a coffee shop in the lobby can help jumpstart your day with a caffeine fix.
There’s also a gorgeous 8th-floor pool deck with lounge chairs for catching some sun, a spa and a fitness center. With its waterfront location, you can borrow kayaks and hit the lake for a true taste of what Austin’s all about.
Rates at The Loren at Lady Bird Lake start at $380 per night.
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Hotel ZaZa is a Texas-based boutique chain with four eclectic properties in Dallas, Houston and Austin. In the state’s capital city, ZaZa offers a little something for everyone, from a great 7th-floor pool deck to the ZaSpa, which offers massages, facials and couple’s experiences.
Throughout the hotel, the design offers a little of this and a little of that — in the best way, with bold patterns, vibrant textiles and a philosophy contradicting the age-old saying “less is more.”
In standard guest rooms, expect refined style, plush couches, leather armchairs, a stocked mini-bar and robes. But, for a quirky upgrade, book one of the “Magnificent Seven Suites.” Rooms include the campy Bungalow 6, which feels like a set from “Golden Girls,” and the 880-square-foot “Orient Express,” which serves Agatha Christie novel vibes.
With two great on-site restaurants, it’s easy to eat well at Hotel ZaZa. Meals at Group Therapy start with dishes like crispy calamari and jalapenos or a trio of deviled eggs (hello, caviar) before moving into a sprawling selection of mains like a chicken-fried Wagyu steak po’boy with poblano gravy dip, slow-braised short ribs or pork belly tacos. At Cabana Bar, the poolside bar and eatery, seared ahi tuna tostadas pair perfectly with a frozen pina colada.
Rates at Hotel ZaZa start at $240 per night.
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Bunkhouse really does have a hold on Austin, and Hotel Magdalena is another of the company’s great hotels to consider. At this particular hotel, right off South Congress, guests can enjoy an intimate experience that’s full of fun and culture but without too many other guests considering there are only 89 rooms.
Though the rooms are few, they’re certainly big on character and feature monochromatic bathrooms with bright blue, green or yellow tiles; vintage music photography from Austin’s own Scott Newton; Sferra linens; Sangre de Fruta bath products; and a laid-back but homey aesthetic.
This hotel has many of the staple Bunkhouse amenities, including a killer pool and a fun gift shop with curated products to take home. It’s also pet friendly. There’s a full-service, all-day restaurant, Summer House on Music Lane, plus the Magdalena Bar for drinks and poolside cocktails. But the real star is Equipment Room, a tech-savvy, speak-easy-like basement bar with a focus on good sound, craft cocktails and elevated bar food and a world-class record collection.
Rates at Hotel Magdalena start at $237 per night.
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For Marriott Bonvoy loyalists, business travelers or people who want a classy, resort-like property in the heart of downtown, the JW Marriott Austin checks all the boxes. The hotel is the perfect mix of work and play, with well-appointed rooms that feature plush beds, padded armchairs, a desk space to get some work done and then a smart TV to unwind with your favorite shows after.
That’s not all, though. There’s a spa offering curated treatments, massages or facials; an upscale fitness center with tons of workout equipment; and a big pool with chairs and cabanas to lounge on.
If you get hungry, head to one of the hotel’s many bars or restaurants to quell your appetite. There’s the upscale Dean’s Italian Steakhouse, serving Wagyu from Texas and Japan; a popular walk-up burger spot called Burger Bar; a casual Texas-themed restaurant named Corner Restaurant; and a rooftop restaurant.
Rates at JW Marriott Austin start at $237 or 41,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.