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Texas Hotels

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Adolphus Hotel
1321 Commerce Street
Dallas , Texas
75202
Tel: 800 221 9083 (toll-free)
Tel: 214 742 8200
reservations@adolphus.com
www.hoteladolphus.com

A less muscular but hardly less grand take on Renaissance revival than the Mansion on Turtle Creek, the 428-room Adolphus has been in continuous operation at its downtown location since beer baron Adolphus Busch built it back in 1912 (it was the city's tallest building at the time). The public spaces offer an elegant old-world atmosphere, replete with crystal chandeliers and Flemish tapestries; the charming afternoon tea served in the wood-paneled lobby living room features live piano and scones with Devonshire cream. Some of the suites are totally out of (1980s Wall Street–;style) control, with zebra rugs and pool tables. The hotel bar is old and cozy, so if you can stomach the forced formality of the place as a whole, it's a well-located downtown choice. The French Room restaurant, with Italianate murals covering its 18-foot vaults, is the most formally elegant of the city's top restaurants; it will please the grandparent set.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Ashton Hotel
610 Main Street
Fort Worth , Texas
76102
Tel: 866 327 4866 (toll-free)
Tel: 817 332 0100
kbinion@theashtonhotel.com
www.theashtonhotel.com

Occupying two venerable, impeccably restored Italianate buildings, one built in 1890 and the other in 1915, this 39-room boutique hotel has a prime site just a block from Sundance Square, the vibrant, nightlife-friendly centerpiece of Fort Worth's downtown revitalization. The recently renovated rooms are luxurious—Italian linens, down duvets, two-person claw-foot whirlpool baths—with an unfussy 1930s style, a good fit with the Ashton's fine collection of paintings by pioneering Fort Worth modernists of the 1930s through 1950s. The Café Ashton is an inviting space that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as offering late-afternoon teatime (which must be arranged for a day in advance).

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Austin Motel
1220 S. Congress Avenue
Austin , Texas
78704
Tel: 512 441 1157
reservations@austinmotel.com
www.austinmotel.com

The motto of this family-owned, 1950s-style motel says it all: "So close, yet so far out." Long favored by cost-conscious artists and musicians, it's charming and hip without feeling pretentious. Each of the rooms mixes colorful murals and funky antiques, but be forewarned that the shabby-chic look leans more toward the shabby. And true to its retro vibe, the motel lacks highfalutin amenities like televisions and internet access (thankfully you can get free Wi-Fi in much of the city to make up for it). Still, with room rates hovering at $100, it's one of the best values in the city. It's also located at a crossroads of hipster hangouts: across the river from downtown, down the block from the eclectic South Congress shopping district, and kitty-corner from the legendary Continental Club, where favorite son Stevie Ray Vaughan frequently played.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Barton Creek Resort & Spa
8212 Barton Club Drive
Austin , Texas
78735
Tel: 866 572 7369 (toll-free)
Tel: 512 329 4000
stay@bartoncreek.com
www.bartoncreek.com

Visitors who'd prefer nocturnal solitude over the late-night rowdiness of downtown Austin should consider this tranquil resort on 4,000 acres of gorgeous Texas Hill Country about 20 minutes from downtown Austin. It's a golfer's paradise, where renowned coach Chuck Cook can fix your swing in the morning and let you test out the results in the afternoon on one of the four top-flight courses, including two Tom Fazio designs. In June 2010 the resort opened the Three Springs Spa, where guests can relax with treaments like a Mexican chocolate cayenne scrub. The property also includes 11 lighted tennis courts plus separate indoor and outdoor pools. Most of the 303 rooms are spacious, if unremarkable-looking, with views of the surrounding rolling hills; the 18 Texas-size suites are worth the upgrade for the plush leather armchairs and private balconies overlooking one of the courses. The Ben Crenshaw suite, at 1,800 square feet, including a dining room, 42-inch plasma TV, and whirlpool tub, is the granddaddy of the bunch. Skip the overpriced, overrated restaurant, however.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Belmont Hotel
901 Fort Worth Avenue
Dallas , Texas
75208
Tel: 877 476 3378 (toll-free)
Tel: 214 393 2300
belmont@belmontdallas.com
www.belmontdallas.com

The Belmont Motor Hotel was restored—or, better put, given an ultrachic riff—in 2005, and the 84 rooms afford views of the dramatic skyline that's grown up around the hotel since its 1940s founding. Its location in the still-gentrifying Oak Cliff neighborhood isn't the most charming, but this hip spot—Dallas's answer to Austin's subculture—is a much-needed break from the garish glitz of the hotels uptown and the stuffiness of those downtown. The rooms feel lived in, like the apartment of a 30-something urbanite with a penchant for travel. Clean-lined modern pieces sit amid geometric daybeds piled with exotic textiles. Original photography and tribal masks hang above custom furniture made by local artisans. The crowd follows suit, with alterna-locals packing the hotel's bar.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Driskill Hotel
604 Brazos Street
Austin , Texas
78701
Tel: 800 252 9367 (toll-free)
Tel: 512 474 5911
Fax: 512 474 2214
www.driskillhotel.com

Named for the cattle baron who built it in 1886, this grand four-story mansion is an old-world sanctuary set smack in the heart of boisterous Sixth Street. The historic ambience—LBJ once holed up here awaiting election results—is established by the soaring stained-glass dome in the lobby. A 2008 renovation combined the new with the old in the 189 guest rooms: a Victorian-style settee is upholstered with modern graphic fabric, nailhead-trimmed leather furniture is a nod to Texas ranches. The bar is decked out in comfy leather chairs, low lighting, warm wood, and—of course—cowhide; and you're likely to see quite a few locals rubbing elbows with out-of-towners. Other modern touches include high-speed Internet, a fitness center, and a spa, making it a civilized base for sampling the vitality of the surrounding neighborhood. From one of the balconies overlooking Sixth, you'll spot several restaurants, but you won't find one in the neighborhood better than the Driskill Grill.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Austin
98 San Jacinto Boulevard
Austin , Texas
78701
Tel: 512 478 4500
Fax: 512 478 3117
www.fourseasons.com/austin

Think cowhide can't be classed up? Try camping out in the Southwestern-themed Four Seasons for a few days. The primo downtown location on the banks of Lady Bird Lake puts you near both the trendy Warehouse District and the convention center, but many guests stick close, descending from their rooms for an afternoon by the fireplace on the hide-covered sofas or ordering drinks from the VIP-heavy bar ("Was that Matthew McConaughey toting a bongo?"). The 291 rooms have goose-down pillows, full-size desks, and oversize armchairs. (The Congressional Suite has a wraparound terrace.) From March through October, ask for a terrace room overlooking the Congress Avenue bridge, so you can watch the bat colony fill the sky at sunset. But any time of the year is ideal for savoring a wine flight at the bar-restaurant's lovely outdoor patio by the lake.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
4150 N. MacArthur Boulevard
Irving , Texas
75038
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free)
Tel: 972 717 0700
Fax: 972 717 2550
www.fourseasons.com/dallas

This lavish place seems worlds away from Dallas. Technically it's in Irving, but it's just minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, amid the rolling green hills of a vast planned development called Las Colinas. Surrounded by azure pools and verdant semitropical vegetation, the 397-room, 400-acre Four Seasons complex has been decorated throughout with a tastefully (and thankfully understated) Asian influence; the Asian-American fusion is handled equally well at the Café on the Green restaurant. The best rooms overlook the golf course, which hosts the PGA's annual Byron Nelson Classic (in early May). All rooms have access to a wide assortment of fitness facilities, including 12 tennis courts, four pools, and indoor and outdoor jogging tracks. You must pay a fee to play golf, but Pilates, yoga, and spinning classes are complimentary.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Palomar
5300 E. Mockingbird Lane
Dallas , Texas
75206
Tel: 214 520 7969
Fax: 214 520 8025
www.hotelpalomar-dallas.com

Its Holiday Inn–ish exterior aside, this new boutique hotel represents the cutting edge in spa technology, with everything from deep-flow massage to laser therapy (though the Ritz-Carlton has it beat) and a dramatic lobby with 26-foot windows. Inside you'll find everything's tastefully modern, with thoughtful quirky touches such as in-room Nintendos, zebra-print bathrobes, and an honor bar with art supplies and gourmet snacks. Solo travelers can have pet goldfish to keep them company, and animal lovers can rest assured that Fido will be pampered with treats, bottled water, designer food bowls, and treats. Human guests are pampered with daily wine tastings and free in-room yoga and Pilates equipment. Decor is tasteful and modern, and includes a few quirky touches like cowhide-upholstered ottomans as well as some artful ones such as pillows and rugs with hypnotic geometric patterns. Palomar is located in Mockingbird Station, a trendy shopping and eating area a bit north of the action happening downtown. It's a good bet for business travelers with meetings north of the city or avid shoppers, who will have NorthPark only a few minutes away.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Saint Cecilia
112 Academy Drive
Austin , Texas
78704
Tel: 512 852 2400
www.hotelsaintcecilia.com

Liz Lambert, the hotelier behind Austin's iconic Hotel San José (on South Congress Avenue, just three blocks away), handpicked every detail of her new 14-room gem, an inspired union of old-world decadence and rock 'n' roll cool. In the revamped Victorian mansion, silky drapes and giant chandeliers contrast with Verner Panton lamps and Gaetano Pesce UP5 chairs; in the modern poolside bungalows, retro Spanish film posters and sky-blue tile create a Mediterranean vibe. Pleasingly fussy elements such as monogrammed bed linens and a breakfast tray that arrives with crêpes and a silver tea set are tempered with photos of The Beatles and Hunter S. Thompson and a turntable in every room. In the library, guests can flip through vintage vinyl, DVDs, poetry, and biographies—almost all related to the music and literature of the '60s and '70s. The lounge serves a charcuterie plate and cocktails and stays open until midnight, something that could be a problem if you're trying to sleep in a nearby room—it can get loud on weekend nights.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel San José
1316 S. Congress Avenue
Austin , Texas
78704
Tel: 800 574 8897
Tel: 512 444 7322
info@sanjosehotel.com
www.sanjosehotel.com

An eternal favorite among tourists and locals alike, the Hotel San José epitomizes Austin cool from the vintage music posters on the walls to the typewriters and Polaroid cameras on hand to help you capture the experience. Room decor is some of the most tasteful around—simple, modern, and tastefully retro with Bertoia side chairs and platform beds. You won't be as pampered as you would at one of the city's froufier hotels, but that's not the point here. Instead you'll get a true taste of local color. Pull up a chair in the courtyard, and join the neighborhood types for nightly happy hours. The location, on the hippest block of South Congress Avenue, puts you within easy stumbling distance of the legendary Continental Club, where you can party all night to live music, and the equally legendary Jo's Coffee, where you can rejuvenate the next morning.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Sorella
800 West Sam Houston Parkway N.
Houston
Texas
Tel: 713 973 1600
houreservations@valenciagroup.com
www.hotelsorella-citycentre.com

In the mixed-use Citycentre development, this "modern and borderline hip hotel" opened a little over a year ago. "Very comfortable rooms" in European decor have dark hardwood floors, black glass table lamps, upholstered headboards, and chaise sofas and ottomans in deep aubergine velvet. Dine on rainbow trout pecandine or pomegranate molasses lacquered duck at Bistro Alex. Monnalisa Bar has a central fireplace and starlit ceiling. The rooftop infinity pool comes with loungers, custom lanterns, and draped cabanas. "Staff are definitely helpful and friendly."

(244 rooms)

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Zaza
2332 Leonard Street
Dallas , Texas
75201
Tel: 800 597 8399 (toll-free)
Tel: 214 468 8399
theconcierge@hotelzaza.com
www.hotelzaza.com

Whimsical postmodern style and a lively party atmosphere combine with fastidious service and high-end attention to detail to make this 152-room boutique hotel in the heart of trendy Uptown Dallas's hippest place to stay. The who-says-irony-is-dead decor includes concept suites ranging from the beanbag chairs and purple shag carpet in the Shag-a-delic Suite to the Venetian-style Dangerous Beauty. Frisky guests will be happy to find a "Shag Bag" (condoms, lube, and other shagging needs) in all rooms. The Dragonfly restaurant and lounge offer high-concept Asian-Mediterranean dining and a see-and-be-seen bar scene that spills into the Urban Oasis pool area during the warm months. (Hotel guests get to jump the velvet-rope line into the Dragonfly, which is quite the score on weekends.) Rooms are outfitted with Euro-contemporary desks and high-speed Internet for business travelers; however, early risers can be kept awake by the late-night frivolity. Book well in advance.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa
575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road
Cedar Creek , Texas
Tel: 512 308 1234
lostpines.hyatt.com

Enclosed by forested hills in McKinney Roughs Nature Park, this 492-room newcomer is a refreshingly remote adventure getaway 20 minutes from downtown Austin. The hotel's exterior is reminiscent of a nineteenth-century Texas farmhouse, with deep front porches and balconies, but the interior departs from this idiom, with a glass-walled lobby and dual fireplaces framing the view of a tidied-up Colorado River. While the service is excellent and the spacious rooms are tastefully done, the focus here is on the exhaustive array of activities: three pools (one with a kids' water slide and crooked river), 16 miles of hiking trails, on-site horseback riding, kayaking, tennis, and a golf course just steps from the lobby. The Spa Django integrates music into its body treatments, and off the lobby there's a faux country store from which you can buy snacks to stock your in-room fridge.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Kimber Modern
110 The Circle
Austin , Texas
78704
Tel: 512 912 1046
info@kimbermodern.com
www.kimbermodern.com

Tucked away behind Amy's, Austin's famous ice cream parlor, is the Kimber Modern, a four-room, one-suite bed-and-breakfast that could pass for the love child of Philippe Starck and MoMA architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Owners Kimber Cavendish and Vicki Faust have created a quiet, modernist oasis just off Austin's main drag, where a stay is as relaxing as a day at a spa. The minimalist guest rooms in white and light wood have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto a spacious patio with brightly colored lounge chairs and hammocks made of recycled seat belts. This leafy veranda is where a lot of communing happens, including the afternoon "happy hour" (with wine and beer on offer from 3 to 8 pm). The soundproof rooms have thoughtfully selected details, like eccentric Austin guidebooks; toiletries (La Fresh Travel Wipes, Malin+Goetz bath products) that you wish you had at home; and vibrant paintings by local artists Martha Gannon and Valerie Fowler, which add a splash of color to the neutral decor. Don't miss the delicious breakfast in the Kimber Modern's common open-kitchen area, including a banana bread made from a family recipe.—Carolina Santos-Neves

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lake Austin Spa Resort
1705 S. Quinlan Park Road
Austin , Texas
78732
Tel: 800 847 5637 (toll-free)
Tel: 512 372 7300
www.lakeaustin.com

The lakefront, limestone "Hill Country rustic retreat in a tranquil, green, hilly area" used to be a training camp for rodeo cowboys and clowns. Meals at the Dining Room and Aster Café in the spa include a "watermelon gazpacho and key lime pie I still dream about. A wizard was at work in the kitchen!" Others laud the casual atmosphere: "It was nice eating in the cafe without worrying about being in our spa robes and having no makeup on." "Warm and inviting" rooms overlook the lake and have deep-soaking tubs, and "sheets so soft, they were like butter." "Spa employees are very welcoming."

(40 rooms)

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mansion at Judges' Hill
1900 Rio Grande
Austin , Texas
Tel: 512 495 1800
Tel: 800 311 1619
Fax: 512 495 1869
www.mansionatjudgeshill.com

This historic revival mansion was a wedding present from an Austin physician to his son in 1900; in 2002 it was renovated and opened as a boutique hotel. The 48 individually decorated rooms marry old-world charm—oil paintings, intricate woodwork, antique armoires—with less-visible modern comforts like high-thread-count sheets and Wi-Fi. Some rooms come with nonfunctioning fireplaces (hey, they look nice), which works well with the romantic atmosphere. After all, the clientele is largely couples doing a one-on-one getaway or visiting their kids at the University of Texas, which is a short stroll away. The restaurant, also called Judges' Hill, serves modern dishes such as duck confit quesadilla and cider-glazed quail in a sumptuous setting that lends itself to lengthy multicourse meals and over-the-table hand-holding.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mokara Hotel & Spa
212 West Crockett
San Antonio , Texas
Tel: 210 396 5800
Tel: 866 605 1212
www.mokarahotels.com

Just a minute's walk from the Alamo, this hotel re-created the facade of the nineteenth-century building which originally occupied the site. Spacious guest rooms are decorated with minimalist shades of white, beige, and green, and have high ceilings, four-poster beds swathed in Egyptian cotton sheets, and oversized marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. Ostra provides River Walk views, seafood flown in daily from around the world (Australian barramundi, Alaskan cod, for example), and "a ridiculously large tequila menu." "My husband is a real foodie, and he still raves about the meals."

(98 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
2121 McKinney Avenue
Dallas , Texas
75201
Tel: 800 542 8680 (toll-free)
Tel: 214 922 0200
Fax: 214 720 7575
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/properties/dallas/default.htm

The 2007 opening of this Dallas hotel marked the first new Ritz-Carlton to be built in the U.S. in three years, and this time, they're clearly aiming for something beyond the wealthy-gramps set. The hip restaurant and the sleek Rattlesnake Bar have a tech-boom feel but, this being the Ritz, still seem to attract mostly ladies who lunch. The lobby embodies yet another aesthetic: Marble floors support wooden sculptures, and a delicate chandelier hangs over curving bronze vases. Futuristic amenities (think television screens in bathroom mirrors) adorn the 218 rooms, but the decor still tends toward the classic with muted brocades and dark wood furniture. A note of caution: Suites aren't that much nicer than regular rooms—it's a lot of money for a little extra space. In addition, you won't get much in the way of views: Most rooms look out on cranes working on hotels and luxury high-rises hoping to be Dallas's new hot spot. The cutting-edge spa with everything from Ayurvedic treatments to a "Hill Country Aromatic Manicure" is worth the trip, even if you're not staying in the hotel.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rosewood Crescent Hotel
400 Crescent Court
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 800 654 6541 (toll-free)
Tel: 214 871 3200
crescentcourt@rosewoodhotels.com
www.crescentcourt.com

This Uptown district hotel is the main building in a mixed-use limestone development that also includes office towers and shops. Encounter English slate roofing and marble flooring from Italy and Spain, "the design is very traditional." All guest rooms have sitting areas, palettes of gray, silver, and ivory, and French doors overlooking the property's courtyard. Four restaurants include Nobu and are "all so elegant." "Valet staff always addressed me by name upon arriving and departing."

(220 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard
Dallas , Texas
75219
Tel: 888 767 3966 (toll-free)
Tel: 214 559 2100
themansion@rosewoodhotels.com
www.mansiononturtlecreek.com

Very Important Persons seem to love the Mansion: The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia reserved almost all of the 143 rooms on his last visit. The outrageousness of the decor suits the over-the-top personalities. The Renaissance revival-style mansion was built in the 1920s for local cotton magnate Shepperd King. Wandering among the copious antiques and fresh floral displays, imported marble underfoot, and massive, carved ceiling coffers overhead, you can enjoy robber-baron magnificence with a sprawling Texan inflection. But the domestic origins—however grand—make the Mansion's ambience more welcoming than overpowering. Like many Texas grand dames, the Mansion restaurant got a face-lift in 2007 and has reopened with a full new menu.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Stockyards Hotel
109 E. Exchange Avenue
Fort Worth , Texas
76106
Tel: 800 423 8471 (toll-free)
Tel: 817 625 6427
www.stockyardshotel.com

Yee-haw! This is a rare Western-themed lodging in the thoroughly urbanized DFW area. The recently renovated Stockyards is the 52-room successor to the original 1907 hotel at the corner of Main and Exchange in the heart of the historic Stockyards District. The four nominally Western room styles—Victorian, Western, Native American, and Mountain Man—differ only in a bit of superficial decor (there's no shortage of cowhide and cow skulls here). For more authenticity, you have to go to the bargain-priced suites: The Celebrity has hosted a long list of country-western stars, from Tanya Tucker to Willie Nelson. The Clyde Barrow Suite is reputed to be the actual room where the folk-hero bank robber stayed in 1932—and you get to share it with his girlfriend Bonnie Parker's framed .38 revolver.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Stoneleigh Hotel and Spa
2927 Maple Avenue
Dallas , Texas
75201
Tel: 214 871 7111
Tel: 800 921 8498 (toll-free)
www.stoneleighhotel.com

This historic celebrity hideaway, fresh from a $36 million renovation that restored its Art Deco splendor, offers a respite from Dallas's typical obsession with the new and brassy. The management team behind the transformation of the Mansion on Turtle Creek wisely decided to keep the residential floor plan for the 170 guest rooms. The accommodations (at an average size of 500 square feet) feel grand in scale, are decorated in a palette of either coral red with charcoal or teal with cinnamon, and feature high ceilings, commissioned Texas artwork, and full-body tubs with Baronessa Cali Oliva bath products—perfect for soaking after a day of shopping in the hip Uptown area. In the 1930s, Dorothy Draper designed the original owner's twelfth-floor Penthouse residence, which was transformed by the current head of her eponymous firm into a dramatic Presidential Suite; the assemblage of rooms retain many of original details, including the secret passageways and balconies. Before dinner at Bolla restaurant, join the glitterati in the lounge, which is lit by close to 30,000 crystals in numerous chandeliers and Swarovski crystals embedded in the lush drapery.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Thunderbird Motel
Marfa , Texas
Tel: 432 729 1984
www.thunderbirdmarfa.com

Unlike most Marfa establishments, the Thunderbird has no movie posters on the walls from Giant, the western saga famously filmed in this small West Texas town in 1955. Instead, walls are hung with works by artists in residence at the Chinati Foundation, a modern-art museum established by the innovative installation artist Donald Judd, who called Marfa home. Liz Lambert, who turned an old motor court named the San Jose into Austin's must-stay hotel, has brought her quirky minimalism west, transforming the 46-year-old Thunderbird into a 24-room oasis. Interiors are sparse but striking, with low platform beds covered in vivid Peruvian blankets. The oblong pool is encircled by a curtain of spindly ocotillo cactuses, jasmine climbs screens made from drill pipe used in Texas oil fields, and a massive slab of mesquite serves as a tabletop in front of the outdoor fire pit. Later this year, a restaurant and bar will open, as well as another 16 rooms.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 397 4100
whotels.com

The W may be a chain, but this Dallas hotel is less cookie-cutter and more cookie-cutting-edge, with gleaming glass, flowing water, and soaring ceilings. Dimmed purple and pink neon lights and innumerable candles make the lobby a flashy welcome, and they are just a hint of things to come. The excessive mirroring of the tricked-out rooms and sleekness of Ghostbar and Tom Colicchio's Craft will give you that rap-star feel—and who knows, you just might encounter one among the hotel's guests. Bathrooms in the rooms offer shockingly little privacy (doors are glass and face the bedroom), so be prepared to get to know your travel companion a little better. The rest of the room, however, is thoughtfully laid out; some have sitting areas next to windows overlooking the lights of downtown. The location in Victory Park puts nightlife and shopping within arm's reach, and Ghostbar is one of the hottest clubs in town. And don't forget all the creature comforts that the W provides: rain forest showers, down pillows and comforters, Bliss toiletries (they also have a spa on site), and "Whenever, Whatever" service that runs the gamut from satisfying a 4 am burrito craving to scoring box seats to a basketball game.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W Hotel Austin
200 Lavaca Street
Austin , Texas
78701
Tel: 512 542 3600
Fax: 512 542 3625
www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3224

Instead of embracing Lone Star iconography like so many other local institutions (either ironically or otherwise), the aggressively urban W lives by an anything-but-Western imperative. Apparently that also means anything goes. Various design elements feel Asian (scarlet floral wallpaper), classic (deeply coffered ceilings), and retro (the lobby bar's shelves of LP albums and a McIntosh stereo system with turntable and reel-to-reel player). Though occasionally jarring, this mashup adds a giddy freshness. The 251 guest rooms provide more coherent comfort, with shades of gray setting off bold strokes of color such as an arrangement of turquoise glasses under a spotlight or a red serpentine banquette beside the picture window. In addition to the good looks there are some brains—there's a recycling sorting system, and on the bedside, a box of chargers for most any device. The hospitality is authentically Texan, with staff oozing attentiveness. The restaurant, Trace, has a "cuisine with a conscience" menu that emphasizes locally produced ingredients. Along with cauliflower foam and a crispy bone marrow salad are good meat selections (this being cattle country), including red-wine-braised short ribs and rib-eye with wild mushrooms.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.