If you’re a successful entrepreneur, small business owner, or freelancer in Austin, there’s no denying that life is sweet. Grotesquely exorbitant real estate prices aside (which, we’re working to change!), the living here tends to be pretty easy and fun, especially if you’re into the whole film/art/endless happy hours/live music/progressive politics/tacos for every meal-type thing. And yet there are times when even the most grounded, stable, well-adjusted, organized adults (surely that’s a thing, right?) -- people who work on projects they love by day, go to shows at Hotel Vegas by night, and generally keep up a really good work-life balance -- just need a vacation.
Enter the Austin Staycation, which, in addition to being a great way to just chill out already, is also a fantastic excuse to be a tourist in your city. These are our five favorite hotels in town to get your staycation on. (And don’t you dare check your email on vacay! We mean it. Close out of your Gmail. Right. Now.)
The stately, and quite likely haunted, Driskill Hotel is a local institution, but when was the last time you sipped a blackberry-and-bourbon cocktail in the elegant hotel bar and pretended you come from Texan old money? Splurge on a room for the night and don’t bother going out on Sixth Street; instead, explore the hotel, look for ghosts, and drink as many of the aforementioned cocktails as your hard-working heart desires.
Hotel Saint Cecilia.
Try not to fangirl too hard if you spot Fiona Apple in the lobby, Annie Clark of St. Vincent playing a private acoustic set on the porch, or Dave Grohl doing cannonballs into the 50-foot heated lap pool here -- Hotel Saint Cecilia is a very popular choice when the A-list comes to town, thanks to cooler-than-cool hotelier Liz Lambert’s influence. (That’s not why it’s on this list, though let’s be real, it’s a solid perk.) The Saint Cecilia, with its prime location just off the SoCo strip and understated yet tres chic decor, is simply the loveliest hotel in Austin. It’s not cheap, but hey: Treat yo self.
This one’s for the foodies. Staying at the stylish, intimate Heywood Hotel puts you within walking distance of several awesome East Side restaurants. Rent one of the hotel’s (free!) bikes or walk over to Launderette for a truly decadent dinner. And don’t worry, we won’t tell if you smoke one or two American Spirits from that crumpled light blue packet hidden in your pocket -- it is a French restaurant, after all.
South Congress Hotel.
The chic South Congress Hotel isn’t trying to hide the fact that it’s ridiculously hip. The guestrooms are great and all, but it’s the fancy-pants common spaces (there are three restaurants here) and the sleek rooftop pool area that really makes this hotel stand out. Whether you want to drink coffee at cutesy Cafe No Se, snag a dinner reservation at Otoko, or just hang out poolside, you’ll love every minute of your time at the South Congress Hotel.
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Justine Harrington is a freelance journalist, essayist, and copywriter for travel and lifestyle brands based in Austin. Her work has appeared in Fodor's, Backpacker, USA Today, the Austin-American Statesman, Austin Monthly, Austin Woman, Misadventures Magazine, and elsewhere.