The state capital of Texas, USA, is also its capital of studied cool. Swap your cowboy hat for a fedora in the hipster hub of the American South – and check into one of the best hotels in Austin, bookable with Culture Trip.
Ditch any preconceptions you might have about Texas. Austin has a culture – and counterculture – all of its own, driven in part by the student population from the University of Texas. In Downtown, the strong live-music and arts scene nurtures local creatives and designer-makers, all of which cross-pollinate beautifully with a lively indie bar scene. The prevailing hotel culture is that of individual, memorable accommodation, which showcases local talent and materials. Here are Culture Trip’s top picks.
This grand, country house-style estate was built in the 1920s by a colorful local businessman, nicknamed Commodore – in the style of an Italian Renaissance Revival mansion. It is set in 10 acres (4ha) of grounds, with cascading gardens of manicured lawns dotted with topiary and fountains. The generously sized rooms and suites display remarkable period detail, of the kind you rarely find outside of a film set – and the overall effect is certainly cinematic, and as glamorous as Austin hotels get.
If you want to stay in Austin like a local, you stay at The Carpenter Hotel. Each room has a private terrace at this deceptively modest and pleasantly retro hotel, whose pared-back interiors recall the elegance and optimism of the 1960s and 70s. Entertainment events are cheekily referred to as Happenings, and include guests being invited to spin their own records at the monthly vinyl night. Enjoy a hearty cheeseburger or Tex-Mex at the in-house restaurant, Carpenters Hall, or simply reserve a cabana and make good use of the poolside beer delivery service.
No stranger to the top spot on a variety of “best hotel in Austin” lists, this lively, contemporary boutique is located in the fashion store-heavy Domain Northside neighborhood and the nightlife of the Rock Rose ’hood is within easy reach from here, too. Eye-catching, luxe interiors have helped to make this a local destination, with a bar and a farm-to-table restaurant (Second Bar + Kitchen). It’s all crowned by a distinctive pool, with tiles emblazoned with Texas Lone Star.
Just 14 rooms comprise this much-awarded boutique hotel, which is no stranger to the pages of major travel magazines and websites. Despite the French name, there’s a northern Italian-style, all-day cafe on site, while the twinkling cityscape view from the roof terrace bar in the evenings is quintessentially Austin. The handful of rooms, some of which have balconies, are differentiated by names such as Crash Pad and Signature. Happily, there really is a resident black cat: Louie.
This Austin landmark has been a part of Congress Avenue for more than a century, with an art decor facade and a concert-hall-like grandeur to the interior. The double staircase in the lobby is fit for a movie heroine – or Texan debutante – to descend. An on-site gym and choice of restaurants cater to business travelers, while tourist packages include a tour of Austin’s most haunted spots. Kudos to whoever wasn’t afraid to paint some of the communal spaces pillar-box red.
Looking to treat yourself? Check into one of the top luxury hotels in Austin, and book your stay now on Culture Trip.
This is an updated version of an article originally by William Morris.