For the first time since 2019, South by Southwest is finally returning to Austin with a series of in-person events. The tech, film, music and arts festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and was held virtually last year. For 2022, SXSW returns with a hybrid format, with IRL activities and exhibits that will also be accessible virtually.
If you’re heading to Austin, TX for SXSW from March 11-20 (or just planning on heading to the increasingly popular city at some point in the near future), but you’re not sure where to go stay, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking for one of Austin’s classic institutions or a hip new spot, there are plenty of luxury hotels to consider for your next Texas city getaway. Below, discover the best hotels to book for your next trip to Austin.
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Four Seasons Austin
You can’t go wrong with the luxurious Four Seasons, which is located in downtown Austin with a perfect view of Lady Bird Lake. The interior design is inspired by Hill Country and the young and trendy atmosphere of Austin. think lots of leather, walnut, and earthy materials, plus a few modern details like metallic bronze accents. The aesthetic extends throughout the hotel’s 294 accommodations, including 261 rooms and 33 suites. For dining, make a reservation at the Four Seasons Austin’s main restaurant, Ciclo, or head to the Live Oak Lounge to try a Texas-inspired menu and cocktails. If you have time, be sure to schedule a spa appointment, work out in the fitness center, or take a dip in the outdoor saltwater pool.
98 San Jacinto Blvd, Four Seasons Austin.
The historic Driskill was originally built in 1886 for a cattle baron (is there anything more quintessentially Texan?), and is now comprised of 175 rooms as well as 14 freshly renovated suites. Inside the limestone and brick facade there is an elegant marble hall with a stained glass dome. All rooms and interior spaces are outfitted in classic (albeit thoroughly modernized) decor, such as wood-accented tables, trunk-inspired bedside tables, and bed frames and headboards emblazoned with the monogram logo. “D”. Be sure to stop for a treat at 1886 Café & Bakery (it’s usually open until 2 p.m. each day), and of course, a trip wouldn’t be complete without spending time at the wood-panelled Driskill Bar, with its skin cowhide bar stools, upholstered leather sofas and custom cattle-brand rugs, where you can enjoy a drink while listening to live music most nights.
604 Brazos Street, The Driskill.
Commodore Perry Estate, a resort inn
If you want to splurge on a luxury retreat just outside of town, you need to consider the Commodore Perry Estate. The 10-acre resort is located in Hyde Park, just 10 minutes from downtown Austin, but has the vibe of a plush European getaway. The historic estate was originally built as a private home in the 1920s, before eventually transferring ownership and reopening as a luxury hotel in 2020, revealing a new design courtesy of Ken Fulk. The 52 rooms and suites are either in the original 10,800-square-foot mansion or the newly built inn; all rooms are uniquely decorated with bespoke furniture and vintage decor, and they all come with an “estate sale” of curated items from local artisans, which guests can choose to purchase. The restaurant, Lutie’s, is named after the estate’s former matriarch, Lutie Perry, with a menu that includes craft cocktails, snacks and larger plates, all set in a dreamy garden setting.
4100, rue Rivière-Rouge, Estate of Commodore Perry.
Fairmont Austin Hotel
The elegant 37-story Fairmont Austin truly towers over the city, with a staggering 1,048 rooms and suites. This luxury hotel offers full service, with amenities like a heated pool on the seventh-floor rooftop terrace, salon and spa, and fitness center. There are six different dining options, including Garrison, a grill, and Rules and Regs, a cocktail bar on the seventh floor, where you can make the most of the impressive views of Lady Bird Lake. The Fairmont Austin is also one of the best and most convenient options for SXSW, as this is where the XR experience takes place.
101 Rouge River Street, Fairmont Austin.
The Thompson, which just opened in January 2022, is one of the newest additions to Austin’s hotel landscape. The modern hotel in the downtown entertainment district has 229 rooms, with all the amenities you’d expect from the hotel brand, including an infinity pool and private cabanas on a fourth-floor terrace. While two of the Thompson’s dining options aren’t yet available, Wax Myrtle’s Club and Pool on the aforementioned fourth-floor relaxation space is open, with a full menu of snacks and drinks.
506 San Jacinto Blvd., Thompson Austin.