Best luxury hotels
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're in need of 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 which 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.
The more upscale cousin of Hotel San Jose, Hotel Saint Cecilia offers a luxurious take on Austin’s signature style of effortless cool. Named after the patron saint of music and poetry, Saint Cecilia aims to be the type of place that a modern-day version of the Stones might record Exile on Main Street at. In fact, the Foo Fighters did just that and named their 2015 EP after the hotel. The 14 rooms are all equipped with organic beds from legacy Swedish manufacturer Hastens, kimono bathrobes, and body care products from revered NYC perfumery Le Labo. Check out a record from a library of vintage vinyl for listening on their Rega turntables, but make sure to bring your swimsuit: the 24hr, 50 ft heated lap pool, illuminated by a neon sign reading “Soul” makes for a great lifeguard.
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 newcomer offers much more than just slumber. Between the three restaurants (classic American at Central Standard, light kale salads at Café No Sé, and pricey omakase from Otoko), coffee shop (Mañana), lobby bar with live DJs, and retail from vintage gearheads Revival Cycles, it’s worth blocking off a weekend just to explore the grounds.
The Four Seasons is nestled up against the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trails, which makes it a perfect gateway to one of the city’s most iconic natural amenities. The hotel's 294 rooms and suites recently went through multi-million dollar renovations, which included upgrades to the decor along with the addition of Snooz white noise machines and Bluetooth-enabled Soundlink Minis in each guest room. Evening in-house car service and twice-daily housekeeping are the type of practical amenities that make this a more boutique option, not to mention the heated saltwater pool, spa, lawn hammocks and chimineas with complementary s’mores kits. The hotel restaurant, TRIO, focuses on local produce direct from East Austin's Springdale Farm and pork from Richardson Farms in Rockdale, Texas.
One of the city’s newer boutique options, Kimpton’s 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 seven nights a week, it’s an undeniably hip place to be seen, but an even hipper place to stay. Its 319 rooms means there’ll likely be availability, dark woods and patinated bronze fixtures add intrigue, and soaker tubs overlooking the cityscape make your stay that much more special.
A stunning rootop pool, a state-of-the-art fitness studio (plus guided group runs), deluxe rooms with views of downtown Austin—the Westin is a luxurious option for any stay you're planning in the heart of the city. Hang at the Azul, the tallest rooftop bar and lounge in Austin, or dine at the elegant Stella San Jac before heading out on the town. The Westin is a pet-friendly hotel, too, with options to request a dog bed and treats from a local dog bakery. Because your four-legged friend deserves a staycation just as much as you do.
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 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.
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.
Austin’s status as the festival capital of the world has sprung up an array of boutique lodgings, but the Driskill was around long before the boom of badgeholders. 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 in touch with 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.
Longtime Austinites are still getting used to the 34 story, 1,012 room JW Marriot that was erected in the heart of downtown, but given the city’s floods of conference attendees and festival-goers, the massive footprint is well-warranted. 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 in the lobby), but still plenty of amenities for unwinding, like a rooftop pool adorned with an outline of Texas on the bottom. While you’re taking a dip, don’t miss one of the poolside bar’s signature frozen cocktails or the poblano hummus.
Looking for something more affordable?
Check out these stellar picks for staying in a hotel without breaking the bank.