In association with our Local Love series, we collaborated with travel blogger, Robert Schrader from Leave Your Daily Hell to pick out the best boutique Austin hotels for every taste and budget. From Hotel San José, which epitomizes Austin’s creative scene, to the glamorous and refined Driskill Hotel — there’s something here for everyone!
Robert’s pick | Hotel San José
“Minimalist, serene and uniquely Austin”
Liz Lambert, a former attorney turned hotelier and designer, first purchased a seedy motel on South Congress Avenue 15 years ago, and transformed it into Hotel San José, which has become known as the quintessential “Austin” hotel. Transformed from a 1930’s ultra-modern motor court, Hotel San José is a 40 room urban bungalow-style hotel situated behind stucco walls amidst lush garden courtyards. The success of San José, which sparked a revitalization in the city’s now thriving South Congress district, led her to launch Bunkhouse, a hospitality company founded on the pillars of design, music and community-driven experiences, bringing beloved new hotels and design to the state of Texas.
San José offers rooms, amenities and common areas that are designed to set a backdrop for a life of adventure and inspiration, without the clutter of everyday existence. The hotel also serves as a gathering place and community activity hub with unique event programming, such as South x San Jose and an annual Pet Parade nearby Jo’s Coffee — Lambert’s local coffee purveyor and coveted people-watching spot. The latter is home to the famous “I love you so much” graffiti, which has turned into a favorite Instagram backdrop for visitors and locals alike.
trivago’s splurge pick | The Driskill
“Classic Southern elegance“
Completed in 1886 by Col. Jesse Driskill, a wealthy cattle baron who set out to build the “finest hotel south of St. Louis,” the Driskill is an Austin institution, its Romanesque-style rooms playing host to countless celebrity guests over the years. President Lyndon Johnson famously watched the results of the 1964 Presidential election at the Driskill, in the comfort of the Presidential suite which now bears his name. Its restaurant was even used as a backdrop in Miss Congeniality. Opulent, refined and oozing with history and anecdotes, The Driskill is a beacon of classic Southern elegance set in the hustle and bustle of Austin’s burgeoning downtown core.
With many of Austin’s famous live music venues within walking distance, as well as countless restaurants and bars, it’s the perfect home-away-from-home for anyone looking for a glamorous city vacation. The hotel’s onsite bakery offers fresh pastries and bread daily, perfect for a quick breakfast before heading out to explore the city. The Driskill Bar offers a warm and luxurious atmosphere, with wood-pannelled walls and cushy leather seats as well as quality cocktails from some of the best bartenders in town. Don’t feel like making the trek outside to grab a bite? No problem! The Driskill Grill serves up classic southern cuisine made with high-quality ingredients. Look for their signature Driskill Beef Jerky for a mouth-watering taste of Texas beef, you won’t regret it.
trivago’s family pick | Lone Star Court
“Quirky, retro and laid back“
Located in Austin’s newest residential and commercial district, The Domain, Lone Star Court is central to Austin’s most vibrant new community. Decorated in the mid-century style, it’s a throwback to the golden age of car travel yet fitted with the best of modern amenities. The rooms face onto an inner courtyard, motel-style, with a dipping pool reminiscent of country swimming holes, multiple lounge areas with fire pits to kick back and enjoy live music. The adjacent dining room is decked out in rustic wood which includes picnic table style seating adding to the casual, laid-back atmosphere of the place.
The hotel’s 123 rooms, with 80 king beds, 40 doubles and 3 suites, feature retro furniture, full-size 50’s fridges by SMEG and luxurious Egyptian cotton linens will make you feel like you’re at grandma’s cottage, but with the comfort of a boutique hotel. The hotel is much like Austin itself: quirky, fun and laid-back. The hotel bar and restaurant, The Water Trough, takes you back to a simpler time and place. Signature favorites such as smoked brisket tacos and the soon-to-be famous chili served with “absolutely no beans” – are a modern take on classic Texas cuisine. One can also grab a quick bite from the on-site food truck, The Feed Store, bringing the best of Austin’s forward-thinking street food scene right to your door. Sit back and take in the beauty of the landscape while enjoying the hotel’s signature cocktail – “The Chill Cowboy,” served up in a mason jar and made with vodka-infused nectar sun tea, hibiscus liqueur, peach puree, lemon juice and honey syrup.
trivago’s budget pick | Habitat Suites
“Inexpensive yet tasteful.“
The Habitat Suites are a great alternative to the pricier boutique and luxury hotels in Austin, without having to spare on amenities or service. Complimentary hot breakfast, a salt-water pool and suites with a full kitchen are just some of the many features this great establishment has to offer. They also have an onsite garden, where guests are encouraged to harvest some of the homegrown and organic vegetables, fruits and herbs. Flowering plants and mature trees surround the front entrance. If you are looking for a locally-owned, sustainable hotel, centered around spacious hypo-allergenic suites, solar power, water conservation, and an unrelenting dedication to guest comfort, all at a price that won’t break the bank, then Habitat Suites is your best bet!