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In a city known for being hip, fun and eccentric, it’s no surprise that Austin has several creative, boutique hotel options for travelers seeking something a little different. While many hotels are gathered in the trendy SoCo (South Congress) neighborhood, the Domain shopping district is rapidly gaining popularity and seeing some new, designer hotels, too. Whether you're in town to take in Austin’s famous music scene, go hiking and biking or explore some of the city's museums and parks, we've got you covered when it comes to accommodations. Here are our picks for the top 10 boutique hotels in Austin.
Best Overall: Kimber Modern
Located in the hip SoCo district, the Kimber Modern is a peaceful escape with convenient touches that make for an excellent stay. Key-code access allows guests to check in without having to wait at a reception desk. Snacks and beverages are available in the common area, which also features comfortable egg-chairs and sliding doors that lead to the patio. There's also a kitchen area with breakfast items, as well as a printer and computer for guests to use. The beautiful second-floor courtyard is set among the treetops with a glass water fountain, hammocks and lounge chairs for unwinding. The seven rooms and suites have trendy, fresh décor, floor-to-ceiling windows, plush robes, massive soaking tubs and private patios.
Best Location: South Congress Hotel
Steps away from restaurants, bars and shops of the vibrant SoCo area, and just 10 minutes away (by car or bike) from downtown, the South Congress Hotel puts guests in the heart of action. The 71 rooms have hardwood floors, Bluetooth alarm clock radios, Apple TV, mini bars, custom furniture and industrial-chic design elements. The lobby bar serves up crafted cocktails, or guests can grab a bite to eat at the on-site café for American fare, at the Japanese restaurant or at the bake shop. Take in the views of downtown Austin from the rooftop pool or get a workout in at the 24-hour fitness center. The hotel also hosts a number of events such as yoga and live music performances. To easily get around town, there are BMW vehicles with personal drivers to bring guests anywhere within three miles.
Best Design: Lone Star Court
The 123-room, Lone Star Court offers a rustic, outdoor atmosphere without having to leave the city. The retro-style hotel is located in the trendy Domain district and embodies a classic, motor court hotel complete with an Airstream trailer, neon signs and modern food trucks for tasty burgers, fries and popular local cupcakes. The Water Trough serves Texas-style favorites, libations and live music. Breakfast is included and rooms have a playful combination of pastels and earth tones, vintage furnishing, and style elements of a Texas ranch (think sliding barn doors, deer-horned lamps and cowhide chairs). The outdoor pool and fire pit are perfect for relaxing and meeting other guests.
Best Historic: Hotel Ella
Built in 1900, the 47-room Hotel Ella is located in a Greek revival-style mansion that sports Corinthian columns, hardwood floors and high ceilings. As a favorite place for weddings, the architecture and grounds of the hotel are stunning, and the atmosphere exudes Southern charm. Dine on Texan-American favorites at Goodall’s Kitchen (try classic fried chicken on Fridays) or have traditional afternoon tea and cocktails in the parlor bar. Rooms have a minimum of 335 square feet of space, elegant furnishings and plush bedding. TripAdvisor members appreciated the car service that takes guests within three miles of the hotel.
Best Resort: Lake Austin Spa Resort
The Lake Austin Spa Resort has all the amenities that sprawling resorts offer, but at just 40 rooms, it's a much more intimate hideaway. Located about 23 miles outside of Austin, the beautiful waterfront property has an array of outdoor activities such as paddleboarding, hiking, meditation, yoga and sunset lake cruises. There’s also a lavish spa, guest speakers and artists, as well as cooking classes. Guests can work on their tan at one of three pools (complete with poolside cabanas) or enjoy a soak in the whirlpool. Luxurious accommodations have stunning lake views, spa-style bathrooms and private gardens or patios. Two on-site restaurants serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with fresh ingredients and French influences.
Best Theme Hotel: Hotel Saint Cecilia
Inspired by the poets of the “Beat” generation and rock 'n' roll of the 50s and 60s, the 14-room Hotel Saint Cecilia is a unique stay that takes Austin’s music theme to a new level. Each room has Rega turntables and Geneva sound systems, and the lending library offers an array of favorite records and anthologies. Have a restful night’s sleep on handmade organic beds created by Sweden’s legendary bedding company, Hästens. The 50-foot heated lap pool is open 24 hours, a retail shop in the lobby sells local artisan crafts and courtyard yoga is offered on Fridays. The hotel is located in the South Congress neighborhood.
Best in East Austin: Heywood Hotel
For a comfortable stay in trendy East Austin, look no further than the seven-room Heywood Hotel. TripAdvisor members loved that many restaurants, bars, shops and hiking and biking trails were at their fingertips – without the chaos of downtown Austin. Rooms feel like you’re staying in someone’s home rather than a cookie-cutter hotel, and each room has a different layout and décor. Some rooms overlook the courtyard and others have private balconies, skylights and high ceilings. Accommodations feature locally roasted coffee, an Internet jukebox for streaming music, premium bath amenities, a parking spot and free bicycle rentals that make it easy to zip around the city.
Best for Solos: Hotel San Jose
Built in 1936 as a roadside motor court, the Hotel San Jose is a 40-room bungalow hotel that is a gathering place for the local community and an ideal choice for solo travelers. Minimalist designs with concrete floors and basic décor aren’t for everyone, but the courtyard bar and lounge is a lovely place for locals and travelers to gather together over happy hour specials and homemade chicken wings. The lowest-priced rooms are perfect for solo travelers and have shared baths, but TripAdvisor members noted that they are very small (just 150 square feet of space) and light on amenities. Guests can also lounge by the pool or take a spin around the South Congress neighborhood on one of the rental bikes.
Best Budget: Austin Motel
If you’re traveling on a budget, the Austin Motel is a step above your typical motel and is now being operated by the Bunkhouse Group (which operates other boutique hotels in the Southwest). Rooms have quirky designs, colorful walls, vintage décor and no-frills amenities. There is no breakfast, but just next door is the cherished Jo’s Coffee for breakfast tacos. Guests can take a dip in the pool or relax at the outdoor seating areas. TripAdvisor members loved the SoCo location and the free parking right in front of their hotel room.
Best for Health and Fitness: Travaasa
If you’re looking for a wellness retreat to jump start a lifestyle change, the 72-room Travaasa is an active experience that is often described by TripAdvisor members as a “summer camp for adults.” Take on a challenging ropes course, try some bull riding, practice archery and hatchet throwing or go hiking on miles of trails. In between the active adventures, guests can learn culinary and wellness skills through cooking and juicing classes or just relax in the fabulous organic spa. Set outside of Austin and surrounded by nature, the rooms at Travaasa have balconies with gorgeous canyon views, cotton robes and soft, eco-friendly bed linens. An on-site restaurant and bar serve tasty dishes using fresh, local ingredients.