An October 2004 trip
to Austin by jim
Quote: I hadn’t been back since I graduated from the University of Texas. I wanted to see my old haunts and see how Austin had changed.
For food, some of my favorites include Guero’s, Despio, Lambert’s Café, the Roaring Fork, Chevy’s (for margaritas), and Shady Grove (Mexican). For nightlife, try the Continental Club (great live music), the Broken Spoke (country dancing), the SoCo area (for something a little edgier), the Warehouse District (for the slightly older scene - 30-40 years old), and Sixth Street (for the hardcore college scene).
Take the time to walk around the Texas campus and go out to Lake Travis on a warm summer afternoon (to either hang out by the water or grab some drinks at the Oasis). The Texas State History Museum is also pretty unique and a fun few hours of laid-back entertainment.
Hotel | "Austin Marriott at the Capitol"
The room was nice. We had plenty of space and the bed was comfortable. We also had a view of downtown from our window. The room had Internet access, a nice bathroom, and everything we needed during our stay.
The rest of the hotel was also quite nice. The fitness center had plenty of equipment (particularly by hotel-fitness-center standards). There is also a very nice pool that has an indoor and outdoor section that are connected. There are a couple of restaurants in the hotel, and we had a nice breakfast one morning.
Over the course of two days, we were well taken care of and provided with excellent service. I would stay at this hotel again and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 6, 2004
Sheraton Austin Hotel
701 EAST 11TH STREET
Austin, Texas 78701
Hotel | "Driskill"
From the second you walk into the Driskill, you know you are staying at a special hotel. The lobby is gorgeous and done on a very grand scale. The centerpiece flower arrangement, the large staircase up to the rooms, the large paintings and everything else create a sense of a place with substance and history. And as you walk through the hotel, you are tastefully reminded that you are in Texas. The longhorns on the wall, the cowboy sculptures, the rawhide couches and everything else are all tastefully put together in a way that lets you know you are in the heart of the Lone Star State.
I also liked the elegance of the rooms. They are a not particularly large, but they are very elegant and comfortable. This is not a trendy place, and there are little quality touches throughout (i.e., the linens, the art, the door handles, etc.).
There is nice restaurant and café if you get hungry. I particularly liked the Sunday breakfast menu. And I appreciated the quality of the fitness center on one of the rainy days when I went and ran on the treadmill.
I give this hotel my unqualified recommendation and would encourage you to splurge on at least one night at the Driskill.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 6, 2004
604 BRAZOS ST
Austin, Texas 78701
There is a great outdoor area for drinks and meals. I highly recommend you have breakfast here (or delivered to your room on funky boxed food trays), because the food is excellent. But the bar area also attracts a really laid-back, hip crowd, so have a couple of drinks before you hit the town.
You can stay in a few different types of rooms. There are bungalow-type units, which are very spacious and next to the pool area. Or you can stay at one of the smaller rooms above the front desk area. I stayed in one of these rooms and thought it was really cool. They are pretty sparse, but the colors, the furniture, and the little touches (i.e., the funky list of music and movies you can get at the front desk) make it a neat place to stay. Interestingly, you share a bathroom if you are in one of these smaller units. But it didn’t feel weird, and I liked the change of pace vs. other hotels I had recently stayed at. Having said that, book early so that you can get a bungalow, because they have their own bathrooms and they are pretty special.
The hotel is in a great area of town. It is located in the SOCO area, which has some funky shops, bars, and clubs. Right across the street is the Continental Club (which is a famous Austin institution that is a great place for live music). Make sure you try Jo’s for coffee in the morning. It is a neat outdoor takeout coffee and snack shop that is owned by the owners of the Hotel San Jose.
All said, I can’t recommend this hotel strongly enough. But plan ahead, because it books up a bit in advance.
Hotel San Jose
1316 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704
Restaurant | "Oasis at Lake Travis"
I don't think there is a much better view in all of Austin. You can see the Texas Hill Country, Lake Travis, and an amazing sunset. There are close to 40 outdoor decks, so you have plenty of good seats to enjoy hanging out.
You have typical bar food or some nicer options inside the restaurant. We sat out on the deck and had guacamole, and some nice Tex-Mex food. It was nothing special, but I thought it was pretty good. I would certainly go back and enjoy the food again.
The Oasis is one of my all-time favorite places to chill out and grab a few drinks. The margaritas are very good, and the beer selection is pretty extensive. Plus, I like the fact that there are so many decks where you can create your own vibe. If you go with friends, you can carve out a space while the waitstaff keeps the drinks flowing.
The Oasis is a 30-minute ride outside of Austin. But on a positive note, the views are nice, and I liked driving on the winding road. Of course, you really need to plan for some type of designated driver, given the distance and the steep ledges beside the road.
6550 Comanche Trail
Austin, Texas 78732
+1 512 266 2442
Charlotte, North Carolina