Five Retro Places to Stay in Austin, Texas

The bold 1950s vibe at Austin Motel
The bold 1950s vibe at Austin Motel | Courtesy of Austin Motel / Expedia
Photo of Culture Trip Travel Team
24 September 2019

Experience Austin like a local at one of these Texan boutique hotels, each with state-of-the-art facilities – and a healthy dose of history at their core.

Once upon a time, Texas was characterized only by Southern charm, cowboys and country music. Modern-day Austin, however, tells a very different story, and the thriving city is a popular destination for all kinds of travelers. Keeping up with demand, the city’s hotel scene has grown, and there are luxury lodgings aplenty. If you’d like a taste of tradition on your trip, look no further than this carefully curated roundup of the best places to rest your head in Austin.

Lone Star Court

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Lone Star Court
Courtesy of Lone Star Court / Expedia | Courtesy of Lone Star Court / Expedia

If you’re on a Texan road trip, this is the perfect place to park up. The hotel is laid out like a vintage 1950s motor court, with welcoming modern additions including food trucks, fire pits and an open-air swimming pool – as well as a pavilion that stages live music. The rooms all come with Smeg fridges packed with local goodies to purchase, including everything you need to whip up sundowners that you can drink in the rocking chairs on your wooden porch. If the ranch aesthetic has you lusting after a pair of cowboy boots, or perhaps a Stetson hat, Austin’s main shopping district, The Domain, is less than a 10-minute walk away.

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Austin Motel

Motel
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Austin Motel has the best swimming pool in town
Austin Motel has the best swimming pool in town | Courtesy of Austin Motel

Styled as a retro motor inn, the Austin Motel hotel on bustling South Congress is far sleeker than the name might suggest. Revamped in 2017 by designer Liz Lambert, candy-colored rooms, old-fashioned leatherette chairs and cherry-red, lip-shaped phones create a bold 1950s vintage vibe. The real star of the show is the kidney-shaped pool, around which the great and the good come to pose in stylish swimwear. Don’t leave without a picture next to the infamous neon sign outside – the suggestive shape has made it an Instagram sensation.

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The Driskill

Luxury, Independent Hotel
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The Driskill
Courtesy of The Driskill / Expedia

From iron beds emblazoned with the Texan star to bedside lamps crafted from re-purposed Civil War-era pistols, The Driskill is rooted in tradition. Located at the busy heart of Austin’s downtown area, the imposing building’s polished marble floors, stained-glass ceilings and elegant styling will transport you back to a decadent bygone era. So too will the signature 1886 chocolate cake served at the onsite café/bakery, which has been a staple on the menu here for more than 130 years. Trust us – the hype is justified.

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Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt / Expedia | Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt / Expedia

The Van Zandt is a relative newcomer to the Austin hotel scene, but has made its mark thanks to its musical offering and slick Southern hospitality. Rooms are polished, and the dark wood headboards on the beds and brassy furnishings give them a cool, ranch feel. Music is the main draw for the it crowd here, though. You’ll find daily live country music in Geraldine’s (the Southern Creole-style bar and restaurant), chandeliers crafted from trombones and curated playlists blasted underwater in the rooftop pool. Sip your morning coffee in Café 605 and take advantage of the free margaritas during the daily happy hour.

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Archer Hotel Austin

Boutique Hotel
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Archer Hotel Austin
Courtesy of Archer Hotel Austin / Expedia | Courtesy of Archer Hotel Austin / Expedia

Situated in north Austin – a tasteful distance from the raucous, rambunctious excesses of “Dirty” Sixth Street – the Archer is all about Southern class and manners with a refined modern aesthetic. Think sweetened iced tea served by the pool, a turndown service that comes with a different local delicacy every night, and an acclaimed restaurant championing tempting Texan fare (think Southern bourbon sours and Texas benedict with pulled pork and jalapeno corn muffins for brunch). In the bedrooms you’ll find retro furnishings including tufted red-leather headboards and photo murals of old Austin. It’s the best of both worlds, with a surfeit of Southern comfort.

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These recommendations were updated on September 24, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.