Giant guitar sculptures and local musicians provide a larger-than-life greeting for visitors touching down in Austin airport, aptly setting the scene for a trip to the most liberal city in Texas. Something of a misnomer in the conservative South, this cowboy capital has all the chaps-wearing charm of American hill country served up with a free-spirited mindset.


Hotel Saint Cecilia

Inspired by the eclectic musical pulse of Austin, Hotel Saint Cecilia was named in honour of the patron saint of music and poetry. Combining luxurious accommodation with vintage style, it pays homage to the swinging Sixties and the groovy Seventies.

Hotel Van Zandt

Named after the cult Texan singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt, this elegant yet hyperactive hotel celebrates Austin’s musical past and present. Hotel Van Zandt presides over Rainey Street, a small web of wood-panelled houses converted into stylish bars and music venues. Antique rocking chairs sway back and forth on the front porches and the interior is sleek and mature – from the glitzy, industrial-style concierge awash with golds, bronzes and grey brick to the simple palettes and clean lines of the 319 rooms. The suites are dotted with record players, and many have sweeping views of the Colorado River. Opened in 2016, the hotel has already become an entertainment destination in its own right. Employees press a cold beer into your hand upon arrival, before pointing you in the direction of the lobby, which is filled with comfy sofas, a roaring fireplace and a sculpture of a flock of birds crafted from old records. Van Zandt has invested millions in lighting and sound systems, which play in every corner, including the hotel restaurant and live music venue Geraldine’s, and the outdoor pool (where the tunes play underwater).

South Congress Hotel

This eye-wateringly beautiful boutique hotel lives slap bang in the middle of South Congress, the treasured drag of cowboy boot stores, vintage shops and iconic taquerias. Somewhere between a Harajuku concept store, a Hollywood mansion and a Tribeca loft, this sumptuous space houses three restaurants: a 12-seat, impossible-to-get-into Japanese multi-course experience, an extremely sexy grill and a California-inspired café. There’s a rooftop pool overlooking downtown Austin, a coffee and a juice bar, a New York nail salon, a huge bar area and a bevy of unique bedrooms, some with adult-sized bunk beds. The entire hotel is decked out with greenery and reclaimed furniture, with eye-catching bronze, glass and brick walls.

Hotel Santa Cecilia

Hotel Van Zandt

South Congress Hotel

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