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Right now, there’s hardly a city in the United States that’s trendier than Austin. Dubbed the 'Live Music Capital of the World,' there’s obviously a stellar music scene here, but multiple industries are blossoming, including tech, film, and art. Thousands of visitors come to Austin each year to enjoy its sights, sounds, and special live events like SXSW. Luckily, Austin excels at all types of lodging, from the all-out luxury properties that offer views of Lady Bird Lake to super hip hostels that are all about forming a sense of community with locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re traveling with a romantic partner, a group of friends on a budget, or with colleagues, we've got plenty of downtown recommendations — just off booming (Dirty) Sixth Street — for you.
Best Overall: Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
Austin bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Kimpton named its first boutique property in the city after a famous musician: country crooner Townes Van Zandt. The property's 319 guestrooms feature cool blue and gray hues mixed with woods that add a touch of Texas country to the otherwise sleek spaces. You’ll also see nods to the musical heritage of the city via framed vintage concert posters. Book a spa room if you’re a fan of bathtubs — you’ll get a huge soaking one with great views of the city. There’s a pool on the fourth-floor deck that’s surrounded by cabanas and a fire pit, a 24-hour fitness center, restaurant and performance venue Geraldine’s, a poolside eatery, and a casual café. While there’s no formal spa, the hotel offers in-room treatments for guests. And, like all Kimpton properties, this stay is pet-friendly.
Best Budget: Native Hostel
High-design hostels are having a moment in the United States, and Native Hostel is Austin’s finest showing. Push aside all notions of a cramped, dirty dorm room with rowdy and rude guests — Native Hostel presents itself as a boutique property, and it draws a different kind of crowd. While most of the 12 accommodations are shared (there are two private king suites available), they’re thoughtfully designed with sultry Art Deco flair. Most guests who choose Native Hostel are the ones who would love to stay at a high-end boutique but just don’t have the means to drop hundreds of dollars on a few nights' stay. There’s a definite sense of community here, with a bustling lobby-lounge area that doubles as a coffee shop, plus the adjacent bar and kitchen. The Native also hosts a variety of events that range from art exhibitions and movie nights to DJ sets. You’ll even find the local Austin crowd coming in for a bite, a drink, or a night out.
Best for Luxury: Four Seasons Hotel Austin
The Four Seasons name is synonymous with luxury, and that certainly holds true at the brand's Austin outpost. Its 294 sophisticated guest rooms — all of which offer city or unobstructed Lady Bird Lake views — are decorated in neutral colors, modern but comfortable furnishings, and technological touches like white noise machines and Bluetooth-linked Bose speakers. At such a scale, the property isn’t overwhelming, and staff can provide guests with great attention to detail, like an on-demand margarita cart that roams the halls each afternoon (you’ll need to press the dedicated margarita button on the phone to call it to your room). Guests are a big fan of the Four Seasons’ heated saltwater pool, not to mention the opulent spa with steam rooms and a Himalayan salt wall in the relaxation lounge. Dining options include the Texas-inspired Ciclo and the Guadalajara-inspired Live Oak—don’t miss the Saturday brunch for a special treat.
Best for Families: Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
The Omni Austin Hotel Downtown might not have as much personality as some of Austin’s more boutique accommodations, but it certainly delivers in terms of amenities and service — especially when it comes to families. The hotel offers the Omni Kids Crew program, which gives a backpack full of gifts and activities like a coloring book and card games to each child, plus milk and cookies on their first night. Families can book standard adjoining rooms or go for the suites—the two-bedroom suite, for instance, can sleep up to six. Both children and adults can enjoy the heated rooftop pool all year long, and you can even order meals to your lounge chair during the summer. There are also three formal restaurants and bars at the Omni: Ancho’s, the Atrium Lounge, and Morsel’s. Adults can make use of the hotel’s 24-hour gym when they need a moment away from the kids.
Best Boutique: The LINE
While dozens of properties have been sprouting up in Austin of late, 2018 saw the opening of The LINE, arguably the most anticipated new hotel in the city. It’s housed in a landmark 1965 building that used to be The Crest Inn (then a Radisson hotel for decades) before it underwent the massive renovation that gave birth to The LINE. The pet-friendly boutique property, which is the third in the brand’s portfolio, isn’t small—there are 428 rooms—but it’s the details that have us won over. Decor features details that range from exposed concrete walls to pastel linens to sandblasted wooden headboards, with a touch of mid-century modernism thrown in for good fun. Plus, the majority of the artwork in the hotel is by local creators. Amenities include an infinity-edge pool, Kristen Kish’s Arlo Grey restaurant, eatery/bar Dean’s One Trick Pony, the Alfred café, and fitness classes for both guests and locals.
Best for Romance: Heywood Hotel
With just seven guest rooms, the Heywood Hotel, located five blocks outside Downtown Austin in East Austin (for a romantic getaway, you’ll probably want to be slightly removed from the hustle and bustle anyway) is a delightful, intimate stay. If you want to feel like a local, this is the place to be. The property is actually a 1920s Craftsman-style bungalow with a modern addition, meaning it feels more like a home than a hotel. Each of the rooms is individually decorated in eclectic Texan style—you might find gold statues of dogs in one room, a mod geometric carpet in another, and brightly hued wallpaper in another. Given the small size of the property, there aren’t many on-site amenities, but guests have access to free loaner bikes (and helmets and locks) that you can use to get around town. There’s free parking, too, if you’ve brought your car.
Best for Nightlife: W Austin
When you book a stay at a W, you know you’re in for a good time. And when you combine a stay at W with a party-hard city like Austin? You’re in for a great time. Between its legendary summertime pool parties at the Wet Bar, the Secret Bar (also known as the Red Room), and the Tequila Bar, this downtown hotel has a party scene all its own. While each of these venues makes for a great night out, you’re also only a few blocks away from Austin’s famous Sixth Street if you want to take the party outside. Need some chill time? Listen to a vinyl from the hotel’s collection of 8,000 in the Records Room, catch a game in the Screened Porch, get a massage at the AWAY Spa, or hit the massive FIT gym. There are also the 251 guest rooms which sport minimalist vibes and are a great sanctuary from the liveliness that is Austin.
Best for Business: JW Marriott Austin
There’s no better business hotel in Austin than the JW Marriott — the city's largest property with more than 1,000 rooms and an extensive conference center (extensive = a whopping 125,000 square feet of event space, including a ballroom that can fit 3,000 people). The hotel is also only a few blocks from the Austin Convention Center, which has an additional 370,000 square feet of room if the JW Marriott’s space isn’t big enough for you. Being that this hotel is a luxury property, it also makes for a great stay outside of work. Rooms are typical of a big chain hotel, but they feature Texas accents like leather headboards and decorative southwestern prints. Restaurants include the Italian Osteria Pronto, the casual Texas-inspired Corner, and Burger Bar, while bar options include the Lobby Bar, OP Wine Bar, and EDGE Rooftop Pool Bar. There’s also a spa, fitness center, and rooftop pool for relaxation and wellness.
Best Historic: The Driskill
The grande dame of Austin, pet-friendly Driskill is a historic property that was opened by cattle baron Colonel Jesse Driskill in 1886. At the time, it offered just 60 rooms (only corner rooms had en-suite bathrooms), but today, the hotel has expanded to offer 189 modern rooms that still honor the history of the building with antique-style patterned wallpaper and elegant drapery. The lobby still features many original details as well, like a stained-glass ceiling, marble columns and floors, and museum-quality artwork. For on-site dining options, there's the Driskill Grill, the Driskill Bar (which has live music daily), and the 1886 Café and Bakery, plus private room service. Other amenities are pretty much limited to the gym and the business center, but the hotel staff can arrange massage services by appointment. Plus, with a location just off Sixth Street, there’s plenty of entertainment to be found outside.
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular hotels in downtown Austin hotels. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different hotels and read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.