In recent years Austin has transformed itself as one of America’s most desirable cities for work, for play, and for relocation. In fact, A-list names from Sandra Bullock to Elon Musk have flocked over and planted roots by its beautiful vistas.
You may think it’s all nature, hipster bars, and live music festivals, and while it is all those things, Austin also has an indulgent glamorous side to appease even the most discerning of travelers. For those visiting for the first time, Upscale Living handpicks downtown’s most exquisite boudoirs.
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
Austin is home to arguably the best Kimpton in its portfolio. The laid-back-chic Hotel Van Zandt has won countless awards, and quite rightly so – every corner has character dipped in luxury. There’s the forever popular Geraldine’s where you’ll wine and dine over live music, a pool set against the city skyline, and of course fabulous rooms. 319 to be exact – swished with earthly tones and rustic furnishings that feel oh-so-homely. The Presidential Suites are huge at over 900 square feet, elegant yet approachable, and have musical touches over the living and dining spaces such as record player with vinyl library, dressing room style light bulbs, and vintage piano. There’s even a fridge full of complimentary Twisted X Austin Lager, in case you and the roadies are thirsty after a gig.
Bath time is extra inviting thanks to the deep soaking bathtub accompanied by Atelier Bloem amenities, and post-soak grey hooded robes and fluffy towels await. Once the electronic drapes close, you’ll forget you’re a stone’s throw from lively Rainey Street when you collapse in the bedroom’s mid-century canopy king – scrumptious sleep quality and comfort uncompromised.
Austin Proper Hotel
Semi-new kid on the block Austin Proper Hotel is buzzing with the city’s trendy professionals and shows absolutely no signs of stopping. There are 244 guest rooms and suites, each carefully crafted by renowned designer Kelly Wearstler, who masterfully blends together local crafts, textured flooring, and soft sensations to pour hotel magic. We love the top floor corner rooms and suites with the double-sided private balconies, and the Simmons Providence mattresses layered with ultra-soft Fili D’oro fine linens feel like a cloud. Leave the PJs at home, you won’t want to change out of the Kelly Wearstler x Parachute Home robes (if you’ve stayed at another Proper, you’ll know how lush and light these are). Bath products are by the divine smelling Aesop, and snazzy TV had all the Hulu we could binge. If you don’t check-in, at least pop up to the 5th-floor pool deck for La Piscina. They serve small-batch tequilas and Texas Hill Country Wines including William Chris sparkling. Their lobster quesadillas are legendary. It’s Soho House New York-style glam, but with an air of ATX chill.
Hotel ZaZa Austin
Hotel ZaZa Austin gives you the opportunity to go full-Texan (aka, where everything is bigger) among an exclusive selection of Magnificent Seven Suites up on the 12th floor. Go for the locally inspired Hill Country suite; it features a spacious rustic yet modern entertaining area complete with kitchen, lounge, and dining section, a stunning King bedroom with en suite bathroom, and a double balcony to soak up downtown and pool vibes. The F&B offerings have come leaps and bounds so booking a table at Group Therapy is strongly advised. Their standouts include the USDA Prime Filet, which comes with super soft whipped potatoes, and the lamb lollipops with peppered honey drizzle are addictive. Next to Group Therapy is the Cabana Bar by the pool, serving big Texas pours against a classy relaxed vibe, and Perfect Strangers down in the lobby is the hot new stop for hand-crafted espresso drinks and breakfast goodies.
Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Best for that getaway feeling, the Four Seasons Hotel Austin is downtown but located right by Lady Bird Lake. Snagging a south-facing room (or even seat at their Live Oak bar) means scenic views of the famous water, tucked behind a three-acre backyard with hammock, lounge chairs, and Oak trees. Evoking Lake Austin Spa Resort wellness but with signature Four Seasons touches, bedroom views are sublime, and honestly waking up to nature is just what the doctor ordered. Tip: book the Congressional suite if traveling in bigger groups – you can connect rooms and there’s a huge balcony with fire pits and ample private entertainment space.
This Fairmont Austin can’t be missed – not only because of its towering size (there are 1,400 rooms making it the largest hotel in Austin) and suites with dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows but also its superb social spaces. There’s grill house, Garrison, which won the AAA Four Diamond award and cooks up unbeatable ribs. Next to it, you’ll find Fulton, a date-worthy spot under the big oak tree at lobby level. And the pool, our highlight, is summer’s most happening party. Up on the seventh floor, it’s the post-pandemic celebration everyone’s been longing for; with food, cocktails, music, palm trees, and Austin sunshine.
If you’ve come for a good time then look no further than W Austin. It’s a signature W in the heart of all the bars, restaurants, and venues, but also with plenty of its own impressive offerings (Trace and the WET bar are must-dos). The WOW Suites give Vegas suites a run for their money and are probably our favorite of any W worldwide. The 1,307 sq ft two-bedroom option has both of Austin’s beloved views; the city skyline and Lady Bird Lake. The moment you set foot on the sexy walnut floors you’re rain showered with glam – Paper Moooi chandelier over a private dining table, MixBar (and optional mixologist on-duty if you ask the Whatever/Whenever team), and 52” wall-mounted TV opposite and long club-like sofa area with mirrored pieces and funky ottomans. It’s like the furniture was taken straight out of a music video. No wonder they spell so many things in ALL CAPS.
Bedrooms are quieter but that by no means lacking in luxe. Each comes with a signature W king bed, custom Sferra bed throws, 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, goose-down comforter, and pillows, and lots of techs. Beside or behind each are the bathrooms (with showers big enough for two) carrying sustainable Davine’s amenities, though you may want to bring it up like Bella Hadid with a Mimi Luzon 24 Karat Gold Mask! Honestly, the photos online don’t do the WOW Suites justice – you need to see, taste, and sleep it yourself.