Heading to Austin? You’re probably going for a festival. This year’s South by Southwest may be over, but Texas’ capital always seems to be celebrating something. Music, film, food and wine, books, boats, flowers, and even chocolate. This quirky–hey, they use the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”–enclave along the Colorado River is liberal, laid back, and welcoming. So the last thing you’ll want to do is stay in a generic chain hotel. Luckily, there are three hotels that perfectly capture Austin’s independent spirit.
The city’s newest boutique hotel is the Heywood Hotel, located in up-and-coming East Austin. And it’s next door to a funeral home. But don’t let that stop you. The hotel’s seven rooms have pine floors, internet radio, and local beer in the mini bar. French press coffee, freshly baked cookies, and bikes are available. Zelda, the community hen, may wander through the property. Borrow beach towels and head to Barton Springs. Grab breakfast tacos at the food truck down the street. Sip a rattlesnake or a suffering bastard at Weather Up. Plus you’re within walking distance of 6th Street.
In the hip SoCo neighborhood, Hotel San Jose is a funky hangout a few blocks from Lady Bird Lake. The dog-friendly bungalows have concrete floors, kimono bathrobes, and bottled rainwater. A DJ spins old records in the lounge, where you can enjoy a Shiner Bock or a glass of Rioja with a cheese and salami plate. Across the parking lot, Jo’s offers Cuvee Coffee and pulled pork sandwiches. And the shops, restaurants, and clubs on South Congress Ave are just steps away. Botticelli’s for rustic Italian food. Amy’s Ice Cream for hot fudge sundaes. The legendary Continental Club for live music.
Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the smaller, quieter Kimber Modern. The design hotel’s minimal rooms have platform beds and lots of natural light. Local artwork, Eames furniture, and egg chairs fill the common room. Bagels and freshly squeezed juice are offered here in the morning, and later, you’ll find wine, beer, and snacks. Look for hidden treasures at Uncommon Objects. Try on cowboy boots at Allens Boots. Eat a bison burger and truffle fries at Hopdoddy Burger Bar. And then grab a chilled glass of white wine at the hotel and head out to the courtyard, a treehouse-like deck surrounded by Texas live oaks.
You’ll feel right at home at whichever hotel you select. Just don’t forget to make an appearance at that festival that lured you here in the first place.