Four Seasons Austin
98 San Jacinto Blvd., Rainey
The Four Seasons outpost in downtown Austin combines both the luxury of a high-end hotel chain with the charm of one of the coolest cities in the U.S. The lush grounds, for example, are a great place to grab a craft cocktail or stretch out in a hammock. The sprawling guestrooms, all done in soothing earth tones and complete with the most comfortable beds around, look out onto Lady Bird Lake (ask the concierge to set up a quickie boating trip) or downtown.
1609 E. Cesar Chavez St., East Cesar Chavez
This boutique hotel is set in a 1925 Craftsman bungalow (with two levels, and just seven rooms, each uniquely furnished), but don’t let the old-school edifice fool you: The interiors of this historic house have been totally refurbished and renovated for a polished, modern look. Married partners George Reynolds and Kathy Setzer opened up shop in East Austin in 2012—the up-and-coming area has since grown into a happening, but not unruly destination. You can borrow bicycles for free to explore the area—bars, galleries, food trucks, and some excellent taquerias are all within striking distance.
1900 Rio Grande, Central Austin
This historic mansion-turned-boutique hotel is all about Texas charm, from the grand wraparound porch, to the meticulously manicured grounds in the pool area, to the plush upholstery in the well-appointed rooms. The best part: it’s all newly renovated and totally up to modern luxury standards. The outdoor pool is lined with cabanas where you can enjoy complimentary 24-hour guest services (the fitness center is also open round-the-clock), making it the perfect place to rest and recuperate while on a business trip. Their on-site bistro, Goodall’s Kitchen, covers brunch, dinner, and dessert. The juicy burger, Tavern Steak with roasted bone marrow, or simply a few snacks to share, mean Goodall’s is worth a visit even if you're not checking in.
Hotel Saint Cecilia
112 Academy Dr., South Congress
In the hospitality world, hotelier Liz Lambert is known for her Midas touch. Case in point: She hand-picked every item—from the silky drapes to the giant chandeliers—in this fourteen-room Victorian mansion with visiting musicians and creatives in mind. (The South Congress Hotel also happens to be named after the patron saint of music and poetry.) There are five suites, six poolside bungalows, and three studios—all outfitted with turntables, monogrammed bed linens, and Le Labo products, although each one has its own distinct character. Guests can borrow LPs from the library too. The hotel bar (for guests only) has a gorgeous view of the grounds—go at sunset and order a margarita. (Lambert's other hotel in South Congress, Hotel San Jose, also has great cocktails, and is a good option if you're looking for a busier atmosphere.) Bonus: The Hotel Saint Cecilia's fifty-foot pool is heated and open around the clock.
Hotel San Jose
1316 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Smack dab on South Congress Avenue and originally built in 1939 as an old motor lodge, the 40-room property was revamped by hotelier Liz Lambert in the late 90s and has since developed something of a cult following along the way. Here, her minimalist aesthetic translates to a cool gray stucco façade, terra cotta roofs, a bamboo-lined lap pool, and Eames arm-shell chairs. The concrete-floored rooms are sparsely appointed (Sferra linens, Malin + Goetz products), but thoughtful. Slip on one of the custom striped kimono robes—conveniently also for sale at the hotel’s gift shop—and you’ll be hard pressed to take it off. An added perk: Jo’s Coffee next door will deliver your daily Iced Turbo or a breakfast taco right to your room.
Hotel Van Zandt
605 Davis St., Rainey
Part of the appeal of Hotel Van Zandt is its location in Rainey Street Historic District, and close proximity to the Austin-specific, easy-going, bungalow-turned-bars there. The Kimpton hotel has 300-plus guest rooms, decorated in the brand's signature smart style, and a handful of fabulous suites, which have views of downtown, Rainey Street, or Lady Bird Lake. Van Zandt's chic pool and deck also overlook Lady Bird.
110 The Circle, South Congress
While it’s billed as a design-centric boutique hotel, Kimber’s seven mid-century modern guestrooms, minimalist courtyard, and common area, complete with kitchen, office, and fancy coffee station, strike us more as the trappings of a really well-appointed guesthouse. Its central location and not-too-big size not only makes it the ideal home base from which to explore the city, but a great option for hosting birthdays, family reunions, even weddings—reach out well ahead of time to book the entire space.
Lone Star Court
10901 Domain Dr., North Burnet
This boutique hotel is a modernized revamp of a retro motor court motel—its live music, bonfire parties, and dipping pool reminiscent of a classic Texas swimming hole have made it a destination for the young and hip. This is the place to stay for quirky Americana touches without skimping on quality, cleanliness, or luxe amenities (including a supply of bath-and-body products made in California by modern apothecary, Lather). Located in North Austin, the vibe here is definitely social—all the outdoors activities make great opportunities to meet fellow travelers (and locals), have a drink, and hang out. The on-site food truck court, in true Austin fashion, is a big bonus.
South Congress Hotel
1603 S. Congress, South Congress
Fittingly located on South Congress, the street’s namesake hotel is as much a destination for locals as tourists, thanks to a comprehensive collection of restaurants (Cafe No Se, Otoko, and Central Standard) a low-key coffee shop (Mañana), and some of the city’s best stores (Sunroom and Revival Cycle), all under one roof. Design-wise, the rooms and lobby have a warm-but-modern Texas vibe, comfortably decorated with felt headboards, midcentury furniture, and leather poufs. Make time for a drink at the rooftop pool and bar, and a pedicure at tenoverten.
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