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colton house austin
Photograph: Courtesy Colton House Hotel

The 12 best Austin hotels

Whether you’re here for work or leisure, the best Austin hotels make it their business to suit every style

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Contributor
Dan Gentile
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A record number of visitors arrive in Bat City year after year, and the best Austin hotels give them every reason to stick around. Whether you’re here for one of the city’s big events (like SXSW, ACL, and F1) or simply in Austin to soak up the laid-back vibes (you’re spoilt for choice with things to do), you’ll find a dizzying number of accommodations that suit every style.

Certainly, the buzzing city has more boutique hotels than ever before. You’ll find a convivial hostel in a historic firehouse just steps from Dirty Sixth (the perfect place to meet new friends for a night on the town) and a batch of Hill Country destination spa resorts that’ll whisk you off the main drag into nature. Naturally, you’ll find plenty of swanky city bookings, too, that command enviable addresses near Austin’s best restaurants and bars.

Wondering where you should hang your hat while in town? From ultra-luxe hotels to all-casual boutiques, the best Austin hotels are here for every type of traveler.

RECOMMENDED: the best things to do in Austin

Recommended: The best boutique hotels in Austin

Best Austin hotels, ranked

Fairmont Austin
Photograph: Courtesy Fairmont Austin

1. Fairmont Austin

For big sports games and festivals, Fairmont Austin is the place to be (the hotel is often an official sponsor for events, which means there’s usually an activation to experience without leaving the property). The 37-story hotel is home to Garrison, a restaurant that's famous for steak, while a rooftop lounge, Rules & Regs, hosts legendary drag brunches during Pride. Fairmont Spa Austin is one of downtown's largest, making it a stellar choice for a post-celebration detox with nine treatment rooms, solariums, a saline soaking pool, eucalyptus steam grottos, and dry heat saunas.

  • Hotels
  • Town Lake
  • price 3 of 4

Kimpton’s Hotel Van Zandt is located in the heart of Rainey Street, formerly a strip of sleepy bungalows that morphed into the city’s premier bar-hopping district. With one of the most impressive lobbies around (the light fixtures alone, made from trombone bells, are a sight to behold), it’s also home to a popular restaurant and bar, Geraldine's, which offers incredible views of Lady Bird Lake. It’s an undeniably hip place to be seen, but an even hipper place to stay; Van Zandt's 319 rooms’ dark woods and patinated bronze fixtures are a touch swanky, and soaking tubs overlooking the cityscape take it over the top.

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  • Hotels
  • Congress Ave District
  • price 3 of 4

For a step back in time, look no further than The Driskill. Built in 1886, the influence of its original developer (a cattle baron, naturally) isn’t lost in the current interiors, replete with hide-upholstered couches and longhorn busts that hang in the bar. You may have heard ghost stories about this place, but fear not: rooms exude an old-school southern elegance that’s anything but spooky (think vintage crown molding, calming desert gold, tan linens, and pearly white accents). The hotel’s afternoon tea experience is often sold out months in advance, so be sure to book ahead for the fanciest finger sandwiches downtown.

This 1960s jazz club turned hotshot boutique hotel is one of Downtown’s greatest stays for a number of reasons. The location by Lady Bird Lake (literally, steps to) makes it one of the most scenic hotels, not least if you have a lakeside room or suite. Even better, it’s next to Congress Avenue Bridge so you can see the bats fly without waiting out in the heat. Its historic heritage can be felt throughout, making it a particular romantic stay with modern members’ house touches. Think crescent sofas, bulb chandeliers, and bathrooms with Cowshed amenities. And finally, it’s got some of the most exciting amenities along the river, including Veracruz tacos, Arlo Grey (Kristen Kish’s beautiful restaurant), and P6 (an open-air rooftop bar perfect for sunsets). 

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This new addition to South Congress is a Texas-sized, boutique-accented hotel that feels more home away from home than anywhere else in town. The fact that it only features suites (80 to be exact) says it all—you’ll have plenty of space within its Patrice Rios-designed interiors. Each accommodation has all the residential comforts you and your crew could want, like kitchens, dining spaces, living rooms, and even washers and dryers in select units. The hotel perks are plentiful, including a breezy 5,000 square feet hangout that’s peppered with oak trees and complete with a heated outdoor swimming pool. Head to the on-site coffee and cocktail bar Simona’s, where cool cats and tech wizards "WFH" on the lower-key end of SoCo.

  • Hotels
  • East Cesar Chavez
  • price 3 of 4

When Heywood Hotel opened in 2012, Cesar Chavez St. was beginning its transformation into one of the city’s most happening neighborhoods. Now that it’s a hotbed of retail and upscale restaurants, Heywood serves as a meeting point between the past and present—the 1925 bungalow, outfitted with seven suites, are marked by timeless interior touches like longleaf pine floors and cathedral ceilings that mingle with modern, locally-made furnishings (think handcrafted bed-frames and throw pillows designed by Austin artists). The famed taco truck, Veracruz All Natural, is just down the street—make a pitstop on one of Heywood’s complimentary bicycles.

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  • Hotels
  • South River City
  • price 4 of 4

For travelers with a soft spot for the Eames aesthetic, the Kimber is spot-on. Built in 2008 from the ground up by local architect Burton Baldridge, the seven-room hotel sits quietly behind South Congress Ave like one of the city’s best-kept secrets. The illusion of seclusion comes thanks to the hillside design with an unassuming front façade that shields a stunning water feature shaded by a one-hundred-year-old live oak tree. Rooms are adorned with paintings from nationally lauded local artists (one lives just two blocks away) and the aforementioned Eames chairs, while a full line of Malin and Goetz bath products are on-hand for freshening up.

Austin Proper Hotel
Photograph: Austin Proper Hotel

8. Austin Proper Hotel

Austin Proper channels Cali vibes straight into downtown’s Second Street District with an on-point ground floor patio restaurant (The Peacock) and an equally turned up rooftop lounge (La Piscina). This sleek hotel has 244 rooms and suites detailed by interior designer Kelly Wearstler. Though compact, they make the most of their limited downtown space; interiors feature distressed hardwoods, floor-to-ceiling windows, and mirrored bathrooms. You’re reminded of your fashionable choice each time you lather up with Aesop amenities, slip on a custom robe (a collab from Wearstler and Parachute Home), or simply strut down the stunning lobby runway. Look out for new-age wellness events, DJ nights, and holiday dinners.

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There are so many Hilton-branded hotels in Austin, that you have to be really careful not to get it wrong. This one on W 17th Street is by far the best. Opened in 2021, it’s more boutique than you’d expect from an inn. Rooms are chic and cleverly designed in dark woods and noir frames, with particularly close attention to lighting whether sensory or beverage overhead. Behind a mirrored barn door, a bathroom with copious amounts of counter and shelf space makes laying out your toiletries a neat possibility. They’ll join Neutrogena amenities. Smart TV, fridge, Keurig and a microwave are also included (you can heat up meals from their on-site mini grocery store). That’s if you have not already opted to dine at Analog Bar, or had a delicious breakfast buffet on floor two—starting at just $10. The downtown slash UT location means the hotel is perfectly situated not only to explore the capitol and Moody Center, but also for viewing them from the 17th-floor Apex Rooftop.

Hotel ZaZa Austin
Photograph: Courtesy Hotel ZaZa

10. Hotel ZaZa Austin

Austin’s ZaZa is a theatrical boutique in the Warehouse District. There are 159 guestrooms, but the most sought-after bookings are certainly one of the hotel’s Magnificient Seven Suites; set on an exclusive floor, each suite is individually designed and inspired by different themes like Hill Country, the Seaside, and the Orient Express. Even if you aren’t staying in the suites, the experience oozes with art and design while the amenities take it up a notch. Head to the restaurant and bar, Group Therapy, where Texas-sized pours can be enjoyed overlooking Republic Square, or take a seat at Perfect Strangers for breakfast and coffee service—then sit back and relax at the ground-floor ZaSpa.

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Lone Star Court
Photograph: Courtesy Lone Star Court

11. Lone Star Court

Lone Star Court is a retro-inspired stay that gives guests a taste of classic camp Americana (without the dirt). It’s the place to kick off your boots and flip flops, let your hair down, and soak in the great outdoors. Situated on four blissful acres along the quiet side of the Domain, the hotel has 123 vibrant guest rooms. The feel is rustic-ranch with a modern twist; think wrap-around porches and rocking chairs, a crate of snacks, soft Egyptian cottons, and sliding barn doors. Amenities take a spin on the classic social club with courtyard fire pits, a lounge-circled swimming pool, and live music. Nosh on brisket and grilled cheese at the Water Trough, a casual all-day joint, or sample a few of the food trucks parked outside.

  • Hotels
  • Lounges
  • Congress Ave District
  • price 1 of 4

Visiting Austin on the cheap these days is a challenge, but one way to significantly decrease the damage of a weekend trip is to score one of the few rooms at the Firehouse Hostel. It isn’t the Four Seasons, but the oldest-standing fire station in Austin has been transformed into a cozy respite for budget travelers just steps from the fray of Dirty 6th Street. Standard and deluxe dorm offerings are great for large groups, but for those who’ve outgrown the charms of sleeping in bunk beds, they also offer a pair of more conventional suites with private baths. The hotel gets bonus points for its speakeasy cocktail lounge, one of the best bars in Austin, that you enter through a secret sliding false bookshelf.

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