There's no shortage of cool new hotels in Austin—but that doesn't mean there's (elbow) room.
Unlocking the cool: Keychains at the new South Congress Hotel. (Book early!)
Every 15 seconds, a hotel opens in Austin. We exaggerate, but not by much. Austin added about 2,000 hotel rooms in 2015 alone, with each hotel trying to out-cool the others, packing so many locals into their restaurants and bars that we have to wonder if anybody ever eats or drinks at home anymore.
At the new Hotel Van Zandt on Rainey Street, lovers of live music cram into Geraldine’s on a nightly basis. Nearby, the 1,000-plus room JW Marriott has made itself at home; its patio bar along Congress is always mobbed with people who seem to be on permanent vacation. Across the river, we’re hard-pressed to find a seat at South Congress Hotel’s expansive bar on First Thursday, and its Café No Sé and Central Standard are already an essential part of the dining scene, not to mention the 12 highly coveted stools in the new Otoko (complete with its own private bar).
And, of course, there will soon be more places to check out (and check into). The brand new Archer Hotel Austin is sure to be a staycation favorite at the hot Domain Northside, with its second location of chef David Bull’s Second Bar + Kitchen. Next year comes the biggest, baddest Fairmont you ever did see: With 37 floors, it will be the second tallest building in Austin. It will also have six restaurants that will—count on it—fill immediately.
You’d think this inn inundation would bring rates down, but don’t be silly. The average downtown rate on a dull day hovers around $250, but how many dull days does Austin have? With all the festivals, car races, runs, bike-a-thons, and conventions, those rooms sometimes levitate to $800 or so.
Happily, we locals already have rooms. Now, if we can just find a barstool.