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That small, black appliance inside a handful of suites at the Doubletree Hotel Austin isn’t the mini-fridge – but it is just as much of a lifesaver, especially on a muggy summer’s day: a PURE electronic air purifier. A must for travelers with seasonal allergies, this powerful contraption improves the air quality from roughly 10 million particles per cubic foot outdoors to 500,000 inside. It’s also quiet enough that you can run it all night — or all day, as you explore Austin — and leave the dust bunnies at the door. Request upon booking.
6505 IH-35 North
Tucked away behind an old oak tree in the South Congress neighborhood, the Hotel Saint Cecilia offers one hidden pleasure after another. None is more comfortable than the imported Swedish beds, handcrafted all the way down to the spring coils, and to be found in each of the cottage hotel’s suites, studios, and bungalows. The luxury beds, and its sense of seclusion, make St. Cecilia a favorite for celebrities and musicians alike (including Jessica Alba, Eddie Vedder, and Green Day, to name but a few). Not that you have to be a rock star to appreciate the vinyl music library in the hotel office. Plop down in bed, pop a record in the record player, and treat your back and your ears to an unforgettable experience.
112 Academy Dr.
Imagine a relaxing oasis mere steps from the frenzied verve of downtown’s Convention Center and entertainment district. The Four Seasons Austin may seem something of a contradiction, neatly rising from the shore of Lake Lady Bird with an understated exterior. However, lingering inside is a cocoon of warmth and elegance, a welcoming sort of lodge that invites you to settle in for the duration. Positively posh, this member of the prestigious Four Seasons family offers breathtaking water views providing a tranquil escape in the city. The grounds also include a hammock-filled garden, a seductive spa offering Hill Country-inspired treatments, a Lobby Bar with signature cocktails, and the unforgettable restaurant, Trio, serving locally derived cuisine and more than 60 glasses of wine by the glass. The Sunday brunch also attracts a crowd from miles around.
98 San Jacinto Blvd.
The only question to ask before booking into the Hotel San Jose is: Am I cool enough to stay here? Once a rundown, Mission Revival style motor inn, this fun getaway was transformed into urbane bungalows by local Liz Lambert. This visionary’s refurbishment relied on her west Texas interpretation of cool and her love of music, both of which manifest themselves in such hip ranch touches as beds of knotty pine. cowhide throw rugs, stucco walls, an expansive music library, and romantic poems left randomly on mirrors to inspire and renew guests. Because this retreat is beloved by visiting musicians and others in the artistic community, the hotel’s pool is the perfect place for very promising star sightings.
1316 South Congress Ave.
When these heavy hitters hit town, Hollywood producers call the historic Driskill Hotel home, while members of Congress often take lunch here. Alas, if not for the efforts of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, all of this high-profile business would never have transpired. Built in 1896, the rarified retreat was nearly demolished until local residents pleaded with LBJ to restore the Driskill to its former splendor. To be honest, he had his own reason for saving the Driskill, because LBJ’s very first date with Lady Bird took place on these very premises. When you arrive, be sure to stop by the 1886 Café & Bakery, if only to pick up a tasty Texas pecan pie.
604 Brazos St.
Arne Jacobson Egg Chairs and Eames Surfboard tables unite at KimberModern, an edgy hotel that should make mid-century modern aficionados swoon. The wholly contemporary bed-and-breakfast, built new from the ground up. infuses new life into this hotel niche in SOCO — the town’s trendiest neighborhood — with many unforgettable flourishes, such as streamlined beds outfitted with 500-thread count sheets. Designed by lawyer-turned-architect Burton Baldridge, this intimate ode to everything modern never compromises on quality. Crumpets for breakfast, a common area with virtual concierge, and 24-hour espresso machine seal the deal.
110 The Circle
Hankering to sample some super Southern hospitality? Seek out the InterContinental Stephen F Austin hotel. From the valet to the front desk staff and concierge, everyone working at this no-nonsense hostelry has a no-problem attitude. But that’s not the only reason to stay. The location is ideal (four blocks from the State Capitol), the in-house restaurant serves homemade favorites (try the peach pie), the Stephen F Bar on the second floor has great views down Congress Street and a wrap-around terrace from which to witness all the Capitol action, the rooms are super spacious, and the desks are equipped with such comfortable chairs that even business travelers won’t mind having to work.
701 Congress Ave.
By Paula Conway
My last-minute trip to Louisville was also my very first — guaranteeing one delightful surprise after another.
As a neophyte, I was urged by a friend to try a Hot Brown (an open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in cheese, with bacon), to sample a Derby Pie (a cookie stuffed with chocolate chips, walnuts, hot fudge, [...]
RUMBAR, inside The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, lays claims to being Miami’s only live Latin music venue. On weekends, a four-piece band in white dinner jackets will take you back to Old Havana with rhythms of vintage Cuba. Order a rum flight for a vertical tasting of Miami’s largest selection of rums from Trinidad, Barbados, [...]Read More