We’ve got nothing against the standard hotel. There is comfort in continuity and sometimes knowing what to expect when you show up is a good thing. However, should you find yourself in Austin, we highly encourage you to keep with the weird spirit of the city and stay at one of these charming yet undeniably different Austin hotels. Here are some fabulous hotels that are keeping Austin weird, plus the weird activities you should probably partake in while staying at said hotels.
If you’re looking to find the spirit and style of Austin inside, no need to look any further than Lonestar Court. The unique mid-century modern decor has vintage industrial lighting, barn-style doors, full sized retro fridges and the nicest cotton linens. Park yourself outside at the fire pit and enjoy the swimming pool and an ever-changing selection of food trucks parked right outside will deliver on delicious food. Some nights there is even live music right beside the fire pit. Will you ever bother to make it past the parking lot to see the rest of Austin?
Keep it weird by “glamping” out hardcore at the Lonestar Court Hotel — no tent needed. Leave it to this quirky hotel in Austin to offer glamorous camping (glamping) without actually having to head into the woods. The outdoor fire pit, rustic surroundings, oversized porches, wooden rocking chairs and signature cocktail “The Chill Cowboy” will make all of your glamping dreams come true.
The Driskill is the local staple for opulence and Texas elegance — think leather and marble, a columned lobby and a stained glass dome, as well as numerous celebrity guests and ghosts. The building was built in 1886 and many of Austin’s finest music establishments are a short walk away. If you feel like splurging, check out the Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson Presidential Suite–that is, when its not being occupied by A-list celebrities visiting the live music capital.
Keep it weird at the Driskill hotel by exploring concoctions whipped up by some of the most impressive mixologists as you listen to live Hill Country musicians as part of the ‘Live @ The Driskill’ entertainment series.
Hotel Ella is just far away enough from downtown Austin that you’ll have to enjoy the free shuttle service in the hotel Cadillacs! The spirit of the hotel has helped “Keep Austin Weird” with its take on everything from food and drinks, to the art that decorates its walls and gardens. The collection of eclectic Charles Umlauf sculptures in the garden will keep you company while you enjoy that hand poured local micro-brew beer. Formerly known as the Mansion on Judge’s Hill, the hotel has undergone modern renovations but retained the loveliest wraparound veranda and many classic features. See here to get to know Hotel Ella.
Keep it weird at Hotel Ella by asking one of the hotel staff for a history lesson on the place. Hotel Ella was decorated according to the Ella’s impeccable taste, borrowing the same stone carver that worked on the infamous Vanderbilt mansion in Asheville. After that, the building was used as student housing for the University of Texas and then as a rehabilitation center before returning to it’s original grandeur and coined Hotel Ella.
Find your little piece of Austin Zen right off the I-35 a the Casulo Hotel. This quiet but sexy hotel has an airy and modern Asian-inspired design and free shuttles to take you to downtown Austin for a night out. Some rooms feature Japanese bathtubs which are three feet deep and have room for two, perfect for a night of decadent soaking.
Keep it weird by getting all zen. The hotel explores modern French and Japanese decor, an eclectic mixture of calming tones and simple lines — sometimes leading to a giant bathtub/Jacuzzi in the middle of the room.
Love the idea of having your very own private in room jacuzzi? See our list of the best hotels with jacuzzi in room and make it a reality!
Inn at Pearl Street
Photos courtesy of the Inn on Pearl Street Facebook page.
Step back in time at Austin’s Inn on Pearl Street, a Victorian gem in Judge’s Hill, just minutes from Austin’s busy live music scene. This quaint little retreat is decked out in period furnishings, elaborate rugs, four poster beds and a cozy ambiance you’ll have a hard time finding elsewhere. Originally a private home in the early 20th century, the Inn is now one of the most unique boutique hotels in Austin with an impeccable antiques and collectables. Some of the guest rooms come with a private balcony and a Jacuzzi, so be sure to request it when booking.
Keep it weird at the Inn on Pearl Street by walking short distance to the Bullock History Museum. Explore the special exhibitions like the current ‘La Belle‘ which describes the famous story of the French sunken ship that sought out the Mississippi river in the 1600s, a quest that, had it been successful, would have drastically changed Texas’s history. Spend the day lost in historical feature films at the museum or take a history tour explained only by artifacts. Between the Inn on Pearl Street and a day at the history museum, you’ll fulfill all of your nerd fantasies!
The Heywood Hotel emulates what Austin is all about, art, food, design and music. This uber hip boutique hotel features seven unique rooms, each with a unique design featuring artwork and furniture by local artisans. The bath amenities feature yummy shampoo and conditioner by Kevin Murphy (paraben- and sulfate-free!) The common patios and decks are perfect to meet other Austin-goers and exchange tips on hunting down the best spots in the city, and if that fails, the concierge would be happy to give you some free of charge advice!
Keep it weird by hopping on one of the hotel’s complimentary bikes and cruise one mile down to Congress Avenue Bridge to see millions of bats emerge from under its shadows! The Mexican free-tailed bats come out in the summer — and it is a weird but very cool tourist attraction you won’t want to miss.
Hotel San Jose
Hotel San Jose boasts an urban, eclectic, Southwestern vibe that is unparalleled by any other hotel in Austin. The hotel used to be a motor court in the 1930s but was transformed into a traveler’s oasis consisting of 40 guest rooms laid out in a private, bungalow-style floor plan. Surrounded by stucco walls, green cacti and open spaces, the minimalist decor of each room boasts a sense of serene mystery. The dedication to music, travel and adventure are present in the decor and ambiance of the whole property. Kick back in a custom kimono and sip a hot cup of Jo from ‘Jo’s’ — located in the hotel parking lot.
Keep it weird by watching the documentary Last Days of the San Jose, filmed by San Jose Hotel owner Liz Lambert while she was cleaning up the hotel in it’s earlier days, when both the property and the neighborhood were seedy. The documentary explores human relationships and complexities during gentrification and urban renewal. Guests can also rent vintage typewriters or Polaroid cameras to document their stay in Austin.
The Habitat Suites in the central north of Austin is a green hotel dedicated to sustainability and clean eating. The hotel is surrounded by greenery and organic fruits, which matches the decor of the suites — a spectrum of green and peach hues. Suites feature hypoallergenic linens and cleaning services plus organic cotton sheets and organic, locally brewed coffee. Take a dip in the pool or layout in the sun, with views of lush gardens and shiny solar panels.
Keep it weird by partaking in the complimentary hospitality tour where you can learn about the hotel’s permaculture efforts and indulge in homemade salsa, chips and local beers and wines. Try the hotel’s vegan menu, even if you’re a meat lover, it’s oh-so-tasty.
Tell us how or where you like to keep it weird in Austin in the comments — we love travel tips!