Expert Tips


Austin's hotel scene is hot, from exciting newcomers to perennial favorites

Austin has been growing by leaps and bounds, and the hotel scene has been hopping to keep up with demand. Our picks for the 10 Best hotels in Austin includes some longtime favorites such as the Four Seasons and Stephen F. Austin; historic beauties like the Driskill Hotel; pampering resorts to get away from it all such as Lake Austin Spa Resort and Omni Barton Creek; and some exciting newcomers including Hotel Van Zandt and the boutique hotels Ella and Heywood.

The hotel and resort scene in Austin these days is an exciting one. Many of the top hotels are a place to see and be seen, with some of the city's best restaurants and hot nightspots where locals and visitors alike gather for craft cocktails or the live music that Austin is famous for. Many of these hotels are also sought after as destinations for weddings and venues for some of the best parties in town. 


Hotel Van Zandt is a refined riff on Austin's world-famous music scene, in the middle of all the action in the Rainey Street District. Hotel Van Zandt is a locally owned boutique Kimpton brand, fully imbued with the Austin vibe. From the local art throughout the hotel, to the specially curated house music from Music Director Lauren Bucherie, Van Zandt exudes the classy, laid-back vibe that defines Austin cool. The 319 guestrooms are tastefully decked in dark woods and bronzes and fully teched with Bluetooth speakers and free high-speed Wi-Fi (this is the first Austin hotel to have Fiber). Onsite amenities include a pool, 24-hour fitness center and 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The onsite restaurant Geraldine's joins the field of downtown Austin restaurants with inspired cuisine that's firmly rooted in the classics but as unique as the city itself - and nightly live music is pure Austin.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This place is hip yet classic, and fully high-tech. Dive into the pool to experience its half-million dollar underwater sound system!

Read more about Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt →

Uptown / Arts District

The historic 1900 Wooten mansion came under new ownership in 2013, undergoing an impressive multi-million dollar update to create a luxurious boutique hotel that retains its historic charm. Named after Ella Wooten, the original mistress of the home, Hotel Ella features 47 guest rooms, inclusive of ten impressive suites. All guest rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi, LED flat-screen television, programmable in-room laptop safe, in-room cordless phone, locally curated mini bar, hair dryer, vanity mirror, same-day valet laundry, luxury bed linens, 100-percent combed and ring-spun cotton terry bath sheets, microfiber bathrobes, custom skin and natural body care products, complimentary local newspaper, twice daily housekeeping and overnight shoe shine service. Onsite is also Goodall's Kitchen & Bar, which we named one of Austin's 10 Best Restaurants this year. Goodall's Kitchen features classic American bistro fare and handcrafted cocktails that can be enjoyed in the restaurant's relaxed bistro-style atmosphere or on the idyllic veranda overlooking the Hotel Ella front lawn.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: With its recent renovation, Hotel Ella is sumptuous, elegant, historic and luxurious.

Read more about Hotel Ella →

The Heywood Hotel embodies the intangible elements that define Austin: Creative. Easy going. Thoughtful. Cool. Located smack dab in the middle of the hip East Austin neighborhood and surrounded by local restaurants, lounges and shops, this modern boutique hotel is an easy walk to downtown, Rainey Street, Sixth Street, the Convention Center, and Lady Bird Lake. The unique, modern bungalow architecture is filled with items from Austin's creative scene, with locally made furniture, art and artisan crafts throughout the property. Many of these items can be arranged for sale, allowing you to take home a truly meaningful souvenir. Each of the Heywood's seven unique guest rooms offers a custom experience. Select the room that fits your style, your budget, or simply fits your mood. Included is a host of free property-wide amenities including coffee and tea service, free wifi, free bicycles, free parking, internet jukebox and good art.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: A gorgeous, comfortable boutique hotel on the happening East Side.

Read more about Heywood Hotel →


Consistently topping the lists nationwide for wellness resorts, Lake Austin Spa Resort is an award-winning destination spa tucked away in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, offering more than 100 treatments alongside luxurious accommodations, gourmet meals, a variety of fitness activities and special programs. Many of the thoughtfully-appointed guest rooms have been completely updated, and dogs are allowed in the cottages. Rates include three gourmet meals daily and a variety of fitness activities and daily events, from yoga and paddleboarding to culinary classes and life skills workshops. The LakeHouse Spa is a one-of-a-kind, 25,000-square-foot facility, a true oasis that offers both overnight and day spa guests a place to escape and relax. Try one of the signature treatments such as Gifts of Our Garden, a scrub and massage that uses therapeutic herbs right from the resort's own garden – also used in much of Chef Stephane's healthy and delicious dishes.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This is one of the most luxurious wellness resorts in the country - the place to go if you are looking for relaxation and pampering.

Read more about Lake Austin Spa Resort →

Also known as the 'Stephen F' by native Austinites, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin has been part of the city scene for more than 60 years. A central location puts you blocks in either direction of all Austin's main attractions. It also hosts Austin's most popular terrace bar that overlooks Congress Avenue. The Stephen F is popular as a wedding venue, and locals and visitors alike can be found on the terrace of the upstairs bar, enjoying a premium view at the corner for Congress Avenue and Sixth Street. The fitness center is much larger than most hotel health clubs; and the onsite Roaring Fork is one of downtown's popular restaurants. 190 guest rooms including Deluxe, Club InterContinental and Suites feature custom furniture in rich, dark woods, complemented by custom carved wood accents with traditional soft furnishings and drapes in warm red tones. In most Deluxe rooms, there is a comfortable seating area with sofa, armchair, coffee table and an oversized desk.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This classic downtown Austin hotel is consistent and enjoys one of the best locations possible.

Read more about InterContinental Stephen F. Austin →

Nestled within 4,000 secluded acres of rolling hills outside Austin, Texas, this luxury resort offers outstanding accommodations, a full spa, four golf courses, pools, conference facilities, and great dining. Whether it's a day at the pool, a hike along a nature trail, a game of miniature golf or hunting for treasure, there's no end to experiences you can share as a family. All of this is just a short drive into the city. The resort sits on 4,000 acres of secluded property, far enough away from the bustle of everyday life yet close enough to enjoy the convenience and world class entertainment found in Austin. Let the day pass by while relaxing under the deft hands of trained masseuses, or pair up with a few friends and swing away on perfectly manicured greens across four onsite golf courses. Finish the day at one of Austin's premier dining destinations and sample delicious Texas cuisine that ranges from perfectly cooked cuts of steak to expertly prepared seafood. From there, retire to the comforts of elegantly appointed guest rooms that provide a romantic backdrop to a weekend getaway or a luxurious escape with the family.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This luxury resort is a premier hotel for golf aficionados and is popular for destination weddings and events.

Read more about Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa →

Congress Avenue

Hotel Saint Cecilia is a secluded hotel in Austin's South Congress District. It is one part Rolling Stone and the other part Andy Warhol. It's walking distance to some of Austin's best restaurants, bars, and shopping. Each of the five suites, six poolside bungalows, and three studios embodies an equal love for the elegance of old world luxury and the irreverence of their muses – The Stones, Bill Burroughs, Anne Sexton, Hunter S. Thompson among them. The secluded property and lush grounds are open only to hotel guests, thereby offering a unique sense of privacy situated steps away from the heart of South Austin. Saint Cecilia's crowning jewel is its 50 foot heated lap pool which is open to guests twenty four hours a day. This hotel has SOUL, as the sign by the pool proudly proclaims. It's the cool rock 'n roll vibe along with the excellent food and bar, and modern, eclectic accommodations. Created in honor of the patron saint of music and poetry, the Saint Cecilia takes inspiration from the great era of the late 1960's and early 1970's when a revolution of rock and beat poetry overran the hallowed halls of established convention. Hotel Saint Cecilia pays tribute to the great creative legacy of our revolutionary idols and to the spirit of the artist that lies within us all.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Hotel Saint Cecilia embodies the rock 'n roll vibe of Austin, and is one of the coolest hotels in town.

Read more about Hotel Saint Cecilia →

On the green banks of Lady Bird Lake, Four Seasons Austin creates a resort with garden tranquility near the Convention Center and the renowned entertainment district. Enjoy legendary Texas hospitality, sophisticated dining, lakeside fitness, spacious quarters and Hill Country style. It's downtown location makes it ideal for visitors as they can jog around the lake or take in the friendly bats at sunset. The Four Seasons offers 291 newly renovated contemporary and spacious guest rooms and luxury suites, each with an impressive view of Lady Bird Lake or the Austin cityscape. Guests can also enjoy relaxing spa treatments, an outdoor saline pool, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. TRIO restaurant pairs Texas grill favorites with delicious wines and a beautiful outdoor terrace. The Lobby Lounge, often referred to as "Austin's living room," features live music and freshly shaken specialty cocktails.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The epitome of luxury, the Four Seasons brand can be counted on to top any Best Hotel list.

Read more about Four Seasons Hotel Austin →


Setting the stage for contemporary luxury, W Austin amplifies the city's electrifying eclecticism, headlining the vibrant 2ND Street District in the "Live Music Capital of the World," and pulsating with its spirit of independence and creativity. It is also home to the Austin City Limits studios which host frequent tapings to the show and other entertainment performances. Wine and dine at TRACE Austin restaurant, relax with a pampering spa treatment at AWAY Spa Austin, take the plunge at WET, or kick back with a handcrafted cocktail in The Living Room while grooving to a live DJ mixing the best music of Austin City Limits. Be sure to check out the cool artwork and Austin music memorabilia throughout the lobby and common areas.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The W is not only a hip, luxury hotel but is also a popular hang-out for locals, at Trace Restaurant and in the lounge.

Read more about W Austin →

The centrally located Driskill Hotel is listed as one of the "Historic Hotels of America" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Built in 1886 as the showplace of a cattle baron, The Driskill remains a landmark of legendary Texas hospitality. Its elegant lobby boasts marble floors, and its luxurious rooms include the Cattle Baron suite. The Driskill Hotel is Austin's only hotel that enjoys a "Leading Hotels of the World" membership. Restored to its original opulence, The Driskill sets the standard for elegance in Austin, Texas. From the magnificent columned lobby with its marble floors and stained-glass dome to the classic décor of the 189 guestrooms and suites, The Driskill ensures that every stay is a memorable one. Its fantastic central downtown location means you can simply walk out the door and onto Sixth Street to hear all the live music Austin has to offer. 2016 marks the 130th anniversary of the Driskill, and in recognition of this major milestone the hotel has completely renovated the guest rooms, and redesigned the menu at The Driskill Grill.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This is one of Austin's most historic and beautiful hotels. Many weddings and events are held here.

Read more about The Driskill - in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt →


Meet Shelley Seale

Shelley Seale is a freelance journalist and author in Austin who has written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian and Texas Monthly, among others. She loves yoga, indie movies,...  More About Shelley