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Photograph: Courtesy The Ingalls

The best luxury hotels in Austin

The best of the best when it comes to Austin’s luxury hotels; from spa resorts to swanky downtown digs

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Contributor
Erin Kuschner
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As one of the most exciting cities in the US, Austin’s hotels provide the very best in luxury. Bat City plays host to the likes of NASCAR and SXSW, a booming tech industry, and attractions galore, so the appetite for five-star experiences is pretty darn insatiable. If luxury is what you’re after, consider it served right here…with sides!

Luxury can mean many things, too. For some, it is the coolest boutique hangout with fine-dining restaurants and an elevated bar; for others, it is a tranquil spa resort tucked away by the hills. It’s fair to say at least that the overall expectation is beautiful interiors, impeccable service, and a chance to indulge. For anyone looking to splurge a couple of nights (or more), take a look at our list of the finest Austin hotels, all of which are an ideal base for exploring the best things to do in Austin.

Best luxury hotels in Austin

With its unique blend of Cali cool, Texas charm, and Manhattan swank, Austin Proper has all the ingredients for a chic downtown stay. You’ll find it sitting tall and pretty in the Second Street District, with an always-happening ground floor patio restaurant called The Peacock, and an equally turned-up poolside rooftop lounge, La Piscina. All 244 rooms and suites (as well as the social spaces) are outfitted by renowned designer Kelly Wearstler, who beautifully layers textures and patterns in earthy tones and adorns vintage furnishings with local art, Round Top antiques, and sumptuous amenities such as Wearstler x Parachute Home custom robes. They’re perfectly lit too, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows which take advantage of Austin’s almost year-round sunshine. For the ultimate in Texan pampering, try Verbena Spa’s Tequila: The Proper Way, a detoxifying massage and meditation using the healing oils of agave and tequila. Want more tequila? Look out for DJ events on La Piscina for added fun times.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • South Congress
  • price 4 of 4

The Four Seasons is nestled up against the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trails, making it a perfect gateway to one of Austin's most iconic natural amenities. The 294 rooms and suites act as peaceful private retreats, with either city or lake views and modern tech additions such as Snooz white noise machines and Bluetooth-enabled Soundlink Minis. Evening in-house car service and twice-daily housekeeping are the types of practical amenities that make this a more boutique option, not to mention the heated saltwater pool, spa, lawn hammocks, and chimineas with complimentary winter s’mores kits. The hotel restaurant, Ciclo, is a Modern Texan kitchen infused with Latin flavors. It is an excellent choice all day, but be sure to book ahead for weekend brunch, widely known as the best brunch in Austin.

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As the official sponsor of many major sports games and festivals, Fairmont Austin is the place to be if you are in town for the biggies. Go down their super luxe route by booking one of the Fairmont Gold guest rooms and suites. This is a hotel within a hotel situation here, as they’re all on four private floors, with separate concierge, check-in desk and upgraded room amenities, and access to special experiences. The best part? Y’all get access to the Gold Lounge, which is as glam as it sounds. The VIP boudoir is where golden guests mingle beneath fine art and plush furnishings, skyline views like an observatory, and tuck into complimentary breakfast, afternoon snacks, evening canapés, and late-night dessert. There’s also a beverage center and honor bar. Warning: you may not want to leave.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • Spa hotels
  • Greater Austin
  • price 4 of 4

With 40 rooms to its name, Lake Austin Spa Resort is an intimate, secluded hotel on the shores of Lake Austin, just 30 minutes from downtown. It's a place to get away from it all when you require some quality self-care (or a couples vacation). Activities like Tai Chi, meditation, yoga, cooking demos, and sundown wine cruises are available, in addition to the hotel's world-class spa that offers spa packages and individual treatments (we're a fan of the Muscle Tension Melt treatment). The hotel regularly books speakers and artists for hotel guests who need a bit of inspiration between their kayak jaunts on the lake.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • Town Lake
  • price 3 of 4

The acclaimed Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt is located in the heart of Rainey Street, formerly a strip of sleep bungalows that has morphed into the city’s premiere bar-hopping district. With one of the most impressive lobbies in town (the light fixtures made from trombone bells are truly stunning), a restaurant with views of Lady Bird Lake, and live music throughout the week, it’s an undeniably hip place to be seen, but an even hipper place to stay. If you’re looking to mingle, make a beeline for the complimentary social hour every day between 5 and 6, or join the vinyl party at Geraldine’s Record Society every Sunday night. Rooms are decked with dark woods, patinated bronze fixtures add intrigue, and soaker tubs overlooking the cityscape make your stay that much more special.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • Downtown
  • price 4 of 4

The JW is Austin’s most business-friendly hotel, with entire floors of meeting rooms equipped with state-of-the-art AV capabilities (and an all-important Starbucks via the lobby), but still plenty of amenities for unwinding, like a rooftop pool adorned with an outline of Texas on the bottom, and spa. Of the 1,012 elegant rooms, choose Executive if you want the best of CEO luxe. Here you’ll gain access to their exclusive Executive Lounge which includes all your business essentials, nooks to catch up in, and of course delicious nibbles that include breakfast, snacks, hors d’oeuvres and an evening honor bar.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • Congress Ave District
  • price 3 of 4

Austin’s status as the festival capital of the world has allowed boutique lodgings to flourish, but the Driskill was around long before the boom of badge holders. The rooms exude old-school Texas elegance; think vintage crown molding, calming desert gold and tan linens, and pearly white accents. The Pampered Pet program makes this one of the most dog-friendly hotels in town unless your canine is particularly sensitive to the spirit world—legend has it that the halls are haunted by two ghostly brides who took their lives on their wedding nights 20 years apart, but in the same room.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • Warehouse District
  • price 2 of 4

Located adjacent to the Moody Theater (home of ACL Live), the W serves as a cornerstone of the posh Second Street District. The Living Room bar is one of the best places in town to make very bad (but oh, so good) decisions, and the summer rooftop pool parties are the stuff of legend, but the rock-star atmosphere doesn’t stop at poolside DJ sets. Twiggy floor lamps, suede sofas, and ultra-high-end McIntosh McAire sound systems mean the “Extreme Wow Suites” live up to their name. Thankfully all the revelrous vibes are tempered with a full-service spa and one of the city’s most notable farm-to-table dining experiences at TRACE.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • South River City
  • price 4 of 4

Helmed by the hospitality group behind downtown interior Mexican standby La Condesa and Thai favorite Sway, South Congress Hotel offers 83 rooms of understated luxury, but a stay at the South Austin hipster hangout offers much more than just slumber. Between the restaurants (light kale salads at Café No Sé, and pricey omakase from Otoko), coffee shop (Mañana), lobby bar with live DJs, and retail from vintage cycling experts Revival Cycles, it’s worth blocking off a weekend just to explore the grounds.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hotels
  • West Austin
  • price 4 of 4

If you can't commit to a trip to Italy, the Hotel Granduca is as close as you're going to get in Austin. The Italian villa in Texas Hill Country is a luxurious option for a weekend getaway, with 194 rooms and suites that include balconies overlooking the hotel's pool, an award-winning Italian restaurant, a bar featuring live jazz music, and more. Gardens decorate the property, and a pool bar allows guests the option to lounge in the sun while sipping on craft cocktails. Sure, it may not be Tuscany—but it comes pretty close.

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