Downtown Austin Boutique Hotels

by Mary Freeman

Frommer's claims that Austin is a city that welcomes a variety of personalities. The diversity of their boutique hotel community does nothing but support this claim. From historic residences to modern simplicity to kitschy fun, this community is definitely varied. Because of this, many of the hotel's don't necessarily fit the boutique hotel definition in every way; but they do set themselves apart from traditional chain hotels.

Mansion at Judges' Hill

As its name suggests, this hotel is a restored mansion originally built in 1900. Each of the Mansion's 10 rooms, including their bathrooms, has a unique design and layout. The rooms range in size from 144 square feet to 340 square feet. The aesthetic of the hotel is old-fashioned, evidenced by antique décor and furnishings. The Mansion was named one the Best of Austin Awards from Austin Citysearch. The Judges' Hill Restaurant and Bar -- part wine bar and part fine dining -- features seasonal American cuisine, like braised short ribs.

Kimber Modern Hotel

Owners Kimber Cavendish and Vicki Faust, in collaboration with architect Burton Baldridge, designed the Kimber Modern with an urban chic aesthetic in mind. The white, lime green and electric blue palette, glass bathrooms and simplistic furnishings add to the hotel's minimalist style. Rooms come with i-Pod docking stations, 500-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, and Malin and Goetz bath products. The hotel serves a breakfast of quiche, crumpets and fresh-squeezed juices each morning in the hotel's common area, which also has a small business center.

Casulo Hotel

Guests find a bit of the East at the Zen-themed Casulo Hotel. The boutique offers a 350-square-foot deluxe guest room and four types of suites: petite, superior, Jacuzzi and balcony. The bathrooms include rain showerheads and 6-foot-long soaking tubs. The hotel café features Asian cuisine and childhood classics.

Hotel San Jose

Built in 1939, Hotel San Jose is now an urban, bungalow-style boutique hotel. Three of the hotel's rooms, which are located above the lobby, share a bathroom at the end of the hallway. For a quiet night's sleep, the standard rooms are at the back of the hotel, furthest away from the street. The hotel serves its six different breakfast options in custom bento boxes, delivered to your room. For guests, Hotel San Jose provides music and video libraries, bike rental, and use of the hotel's camera and Remington Premier typewriter. A sandwich and coffee shop is located in the hotel's parking lot.

The Driskill

Named by Gayot as one of Austin's Top 10 Boutique Hotels, The Driskill is an elegant and sophisticated historic hotel, built in 1886. The 189 rooms have custom beds and furniture, as well as English-imported bathroom amenities. The child-and-pet-friendly hotel issues visiting youngsters a sheriff's badge, coloring book and crayons, and milk and cookies from the hotel's café.

Austin Motel

The Austin Motel's self-proclaimed "random use of colors, murals and antiques" give the hotel's 41 rooms a kitschy feel. The 1950s-style pool only adds the funky ambiance. Guests choose from one and two bedrooms, poolside or luxury rooms. The boutique's landscaped courtyard features unusual statues and artwork.

Inn at Pearl Street

Each of the inn's rooms has a different regional or period theme, and all are housed within either the Victoria House or Burton House. Guests relax on the boutique's 1600-square-foot deck, which overlooks a fountain in a stone grotto. If you mention the hotel's website when booking, you receive a discount. In addition, the hotel offers many packages and weekly and monthly rates.

About the Author

Mary Freeman is a freelance writer. She has held several editorial positions at the print publication, "The Otter Realm." She traveled throughout Europe, which ultimately resulted in an impromptu move to London, where she stayed for eight months. This life experience inspired her to pursue travel writing. Freeman received a degree in human communication from California State University.