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W Hotel Austin, Austin 
$$$$

200 Lavaca Street
Austin , Texas
78701
Tel: 512 542 3600
Fax: 512 542 3625
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
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.—2011 Hot List

Which room to book: The mid-priced Fabulous Rooms, with wraparound windows that showcase the pride of Austin—Lady Bird Lake.

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