If you’re seeking a hotel in the heart of Austin’s lively music scene, the Westin Austin Downtown fits the bill, right across the street from one of the city’s best-loved blues music venues (Antone’s) as well as a block away from Sixth Street, filled with bars and pubs to indulge music lovers.
This Westin has all the luxury amenities fans of the hotel chain have come to appreciate – Heavenly Bed®, well-suited workspaces for tech-minded travellers, lovely bath amenities, a top-notch workout room and more.
What sets Austin’s 366-room Westin apart are unique guitar-themed interior design touches, from ceiling and living wall wooden carvings in the lobby reminiscent of Dobro guitar cutouts to stitch-accented wallpaper mimicking a guitar strap.
Meeting room spaces on the second and third floors are named after local music venues and iconic Texan musicians.
Even Stella San Jac, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is named after a type of guitar – as well as the Latin word for star, cleverly fusing dual themes of the Texas Lone Star State with music.
The lobby contains both guest workstations and lounge seating; together with Stella San Jac, it forms the hotel’s hub.
Head up to the 20th floor and you’ll find a 24-hour Westin WORKOUT® Fitness Studio containing state-of-the-art facilities and panoramic views of the city.
The hotel also partners with New Balance®, offering shoes and athletic wear ($5 rental fee; socks are yours to keep) together with access to a complimentary running concierge service.
Right next to the workout studio is Azul, a beautiful rooftop pool and bar area with cabanas and tables for sipping a cocktail or glass of bubbly as you watch the sun set with a panoramic view of downtown Austin.
I had a *very* hard time leaving my chair with THIS view!
It’s often hard to fall asleep in a different time zone, new hotel and bed. Westin’s Heavenly Bed® makes this a whole lot easier with a dreamy sleep from the start. The room’s design is clean and functional, with a cozy chair and end table off to the side, enveloped by a good reading lamp above.
Bathrooms are stocked with the Westin’s own branded White Tea Aloe line. In the roomy closet is where you’ll find the safe, a full-sized ironing board and iron, and bathrobe. The room has a long working desk with ergonomic chair, a series of outlets and dual USB ports (one’s marked as a super-fast charge), a corded phone and reading lamp all within easy reach. Further along the desk is a flatscreen TV and a series of drawers.
High-speed internet is available ($14 plus tax per day; free for SPG members).
The refreshment center’s stocked with Tazo tea, Starbucks coffee and drink ware; underneath is a mini fridge to keep those drinks cool in the Austin heat.
Pet-Friendly Hotel Perks
The Westin takes the stress out of guests travelling with their dogs by offering several great perks: a Heavenly dog bed, a dog bowl, waste bags, doggy “beer” and treats from a local bakery to make your dog’s stay comfortable and relaxing.
There’s even a VIP Pup board in the lobby. Make sure to ask for a wagWestin map when you check in, outlining three doggy routes, doggy parks and nearby dog-friendly destinations.
Starwood Hotels aim to conserve energy and reduce waste via several initiatives, including the use of energy-efficient lighting throughout the hotel, low-flow faucets and shower heads, recycling 28% of overall waste, eliminating styrofoam and donating used bathroom amenities to an organization that distributes them to those in need.
Stella San Jac offers locally-inspired, eclectic dishes (think short ribs, sweet potato mash, Gulf shrimp and lump crab rolls) prepared by Executive Chef Michael Cerrie and his team.
I took note of Stella’s signature burger and beef short ribs on the menu, but spotted a few imaginative vegetarian dishes that also caught my eye: kale and Brussels sprouts with green apple, bacon, cranberries, manchego in a pear vinaigrette; quinoa and zucchini served with roasted artichokes and goat cheese surrounded by a delightful, slightly sweet coriander tomato sauce.
To start, I ordered the fully-loaded, no-filler jumbo lump crab cake with pine nuts and frisée garnish, perfect with a basket of the restaurant’s own #16 biscuits with whipped honey butter. I successfully paired this with locally-brewed Thirsty Goat Amber by Thirsty Planet Brewing.
A well-varied international wine list, fun craft cocktails (including Austin Mule and Flower Power Sour), beers on tap and by the bottle round out the libations menu.
An inventive dessert selection includes blueberry bread French toast (served with creme anglaise and blueberry compote), #16 strawberry shortcake and chocolate s’more cake with roasted marshmallows served in a mason jar accompanied by graham crackers. World-famous, Austin-born Amy’s Ice Creams round out the menu (the Mexican vanilla is a must-try!).
If you’re in town over the weekend, Stella San Jac has a great brunch menu, with lots of meat and vegetarian choices together with signature dishes including short rib grilled cheese served on a Hawaiian roll, fried avocado salad, chicken fried steak and more of those scrumptious #16 biscuits.
In keeping with healthy options, the Westin Austin also offers a variety of healthy food, fresh juices and smoothies, SuperFoodsRx℠ choices for adults and The Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids. Dietary restrictions – whether Paleo, vegan or gluten-free – can be easily accommodated.
If I Could Improve One Thing
I truly enjoyed my stay, but the airco system’s a bit on the loud side. While I appreciate having three settings, even on low I heard the fan going at night (and yes, I wore earplugs). I’ve stayed in many newer hotels with a quiet system in place, so I’m hoping the hotel will take note and update theirs in the near future.
The Westin Austin Downtown is located at 310 East 5th Street in Austin, Texas.
I was a guest of The Westin Austin Downtown for the purposes of touring Austin and of experiencing the hotel for this article. Opinions, as always, are my own. I’d also like to extend a big shout-out to Roam Mobility, whose stress-free talk, text, and data plans help me navigate my way around the roads, keep in touch with family back home, and stay on top of emails when I’m down in the USA. Visit Roam online for details on their plans and products.