78701 Travel Guide

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Four Seasons Austin Has Gone to WhoVille This Holiday Season

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  Site Where: 98 San Jacinto Boulevard [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
December 2, 2013 at 6:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!

The Four Seasons Austin got a jump on the holiday decorations last week, when they unveiled their Dr. Seuss-themed Gingerbread WhoVillage, a gingerbread replica of the town of Whoville from How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Conceived by the hotel's pastry chefs back in August, the WhoVillage features a Mt. Crumpet, Cindy Lou Who's house, a giant Town Center Christmas Tree, a Welcome to Whoville Sign and a train that looks like the Grinch's stolen bag of toys.

All in all, the village features ten houses made entirely out of edible materials (each one also takes the team of pasty chefs about 30 hours to construct.) Additionally, each house is sold to a sponsor and the proceeds are donated to the Seton Shivers Cancer Center. Sorry, we don't think sponsors can eat the house until the display comes down on January 1st.

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Austin's The Driskill Will Now Become A Hyatt Hotel

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  Site Where: 604 Brazos St. [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
March 13, 2013 at 9:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

As many people already know, Austin, TX is currently in the midst of the South By Southwest festival, in which music venues, event spaces, and, yes, hotels, are overrun with artists, musicians, filmmakers, tech start-up hopefuls, and pretty much anyone with a bent towards modern-day media culture.

Which makes this a pretty good time for Hyatt to announce their recent acquisition of the city's historic Driskill Hotel. The Statesman reports that Hyatt bought the iconic hotel (and classic SXSW celeb hangout) for $85 million, and plans to spend another $8 million renovating the place over the next two years.

Comprised of 189 rooms, and originally built in 1886, the Driskill occupies a bustling corner of downtown Austin and remains the city's most beloved historic hotel.

According to hotel lore, the original structure was named after Jesse Driskill, a cattleman who wanted to build the "finest hotel south of St. Louis." Looks like he had the right idea, as 126 years later, the hotel is not only thriving, but also incorporates its colorful past into its current identity (case in point: the Cattle Baron Suite).

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In Texas, Bigger Isn't Necessarily Better At The Omni Austin's New Suites

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  Site Where: 700 San Jacinto [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
July 6, 2012 at 9:16 AM | by | Comments (0)

After a drawn-out renovation process that completely overhauled the top five floors of the building, Omni Austin has reconfigured its suite options, creating twenty-five new one-bedroom suites.

Though the hotel had previously offered suites, it nixed a bunch of the pre-existing two-bedroom suites in order to cut down on space that guests apparently weren't even using. Which sounds a little strange when we put it like that—Texas is generally known for doing everything bigger than the rest of the country. However, if it's a space efficiency issue, then we totally get it. Bigger is better, most of the time. Until, that is, you end up paying for extra beds you're not even sleeping in...

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Ooh-ing and Aah-ing From The Glass Elevators At Omni Austin

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  Site Where: 700 San Jacinto Blvd [map], AUSTIN, TX, United States, 78701
March 22, 2012 at 9:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

You don't really want to look down when you're plunging nineteen stories in a glass elevator. But of course, you do look down. Because the view is awesome. Here's a quick snapshot we took from inside the elevator at Omni Austin, which, we admit, we rode like a five-year-old on a Ferris wheel over and over again.

Interestingly, the hotel is housed under the same roof as an office tower. So when you look down on the lobby from above, you can also look directly across and into the windows of the neighboring offices. Whose occupants didn't look nearly as amused to be inside their glass cages as we were to be inside ours. Then again, theirs weren't motorized.

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This is the Letter the W Austin Gave Out to Guests During Glass Freefall

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  Site Where: 200 Lavaca Street [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
June 30, 2011 at 9:20 AM | by | Comments (0)

While the W Austin is taking the necessary steps to make its hotel safe from falling glass, it has wisely decided to relocate guests to another hotel.

We've got a copy of the letter the hotel gave to its guests on Monday. Indeed the guest who sent us this letter actually witnessed some of the glass carnage on Tuesday (glass fell from the building on Monday and Tuesday) as he was having lunch at Wich Wich across the street. (You can see a larger version after the jump.)

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The W Austin Says Bye-Bye To More Windows...And Its Guests

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  Site Where: 200 Lavaca Street [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
June 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM | by | Comment (1)

For the third time in just two weeks, the W Austin shed more glass panels from its increasingly hazardous steel frame. The 36-story building, which houses both the hotel and condominiums, lost several of its window panes on two separate occasions throughout Monday and Tuesday, and now has evacuated all of its guests to a separate hotel until further notice.

Local reporters were all over the story yesterday and this morning, and we enjoyed a particularly well-angled candid photo from FOX reporter Sara Talbert (@saratalbert, see above), taken this morning—can you spot the missing three panels?

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Can Marriott Win Austin's Heart?

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  Site Where: Congress Avenue [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
June 20, 2011 at 12:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

This week, voters in Austin, Texas get to decide if the Marriott is worthy of a $4.3 million break in building fees for a prospective 1,000-room-hotel they're planning to open on Congress Avenue and East 2nd Street.

The huge scale of the property would make it a Marriott Marquis, putting it on the same level as the giant Times Square tower. The Austin Marquis would have between 27 and 30 floors, and create around 300 new jobs for the city (at a time when unemployment is rearing its ugly head in almost every corner of the country)—maybe this is reason enough to condone the multi-million dollar allowance?

News of the development comes exactly one year after a report showed Austin suffered a six-year low in hotel occupancy. Though those figures still stand, it seems the mayor is counting on Austin strengthening its foothold in the competitive tourism market:

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Ashton Kutcher Leads Fans on a SXSW Scavenger Hunt to Austin's Driskill Hotel

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  Site Where: 604 Brazos Street [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
March 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM | by | Comments (0)

Our brother site Jaunted happens to be down in Austin, Texas this week for the SxSW Festival. Over the next few days, they'll be filling us in on the hotel scene and what celebs are disco napping where.

Yesterday, Ashton Kutcher sent his Twitter followers on a scavenger hunt through downtown Austin. Between 10am and 2pm, he tweeted four clues referencing four different Austin landmarks where you could check into location-based social networking app Foursquare, culminating with a live appearance by @aplusk himself at The Driskill Hotel downtown.

@aplusk: Last stop! Ghostly apparitions of the Colonel make this the most haunted place in Austin http://twitpic.com/48xvjp #SXSWNikon

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SXSW 2011 Just Started and Already It's Time to Start Planning Your Hotel for 2012

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  Site Where: 700 San Jacinto [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
March 10, 2011 at 1:16 PM | by | Comments (0)


The Omni Austin has a massive atrium with a bar that gets majorly packed

Well, it's officially that time of the year when warehouse loft spaces around the country go empty, as bands, film and tech companies make the big pilgrimage to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Of course the biggest hotels closest to the panel action have been sold out for some time, but let us recommend learning from this year to start thinking about next year's SXSW already.

Just as you may find yourself at many of the events at the Hilton Austin, you'll likely sidle up to the atrium lobby bar at the Omni Downtown at some point or another. It's just a hot meeting spot, and those with the foresight to be booked into the hotel have it really good this year. The Omni tells us that they're going out of their way to make SXSW-ers welcome, installing a cyber cafe and having an "Early Riser Bar" with Bloody Marys and free breakfast tacos.

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Stay at The Brand-New W Austin on December 16 for $209 a Night

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  Site Where: 200 Lavaca Street [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
December 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

Update: The W Austin is now open with rooms available at $229 a night on December 10.

Yee-haw! The W Austin is just days away from opening and amazingly, the opening date is still the same as it was when we learned a W was opening in Austin last year--December 9.

Except in usual W trickery, the hotel opens on December 9 but reservations are not being accepted until December 12.And you can't book a room online until December 16. That's when we found a Wonderful nonsmoking room, fully pre-paid for $209 a night. And the spa and the fitness center will not be open then. Those are coming later.

We're sure all systems will be a go for South by Southwest in March but we're a little disheartened to see that W charges $14.95 a day for internet in the guestrooms.

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W Austin to Have Its Own Music Venue

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  Site Where: 200 Lavaca St. [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
September 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM | by | Comment (1)

The soon-to-open W Austin will try to fit in the city nicknamed the Live Music Capital of the World—which boasts more than 200 live music spots and hosts the SXSW music festival—by having its own rocking venue.

The hotel, which will anchor a shopping and cultural center complex, will be attached to Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater, a new venue for music and events. The theater will also be the new home of the famous long-running Austin City Limits concert music show.

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How Courtney Love Acts in Hotel Rooms (Attn: A Certain Hotelier)

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  Site Where: 604 Brazos St [map], Austin, TX, United States, 78701
April 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

We really wouldn't expect any different sort of behavior from the wackness that is Courtney Love but we do think her recent hotel stay at the Driskill Hotel for South by Southwest last month is interesting in light of her recent love interest.

Here's how a Billboard magazine reporter describes meeting with Love to discuss her new album with her band, Hole:

In six hours at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, the day after two excellent, return-to-form performances at South by Southwest (SXSW), she will do the following: show off all her clothes; explain her new style, which she calls “kook”; display financial documents on her battered laptop which, she says, prove she’s a victim of embezzlement; Google her new crush’s ex-girlfriend; learn two Big Star songs; and yell at various people about various things. She will talk. She will smoke.

On two occasions, she will smoke, talk and pee with the door open, all at once.

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