For the first time since 2019, South by Southwest is finally returning to Austin with a series of in-person events. The tech, film, music and arts festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was held in virtual form last year. For 2022, SXSW is back with a hybrid format, with IRL activities and exhibitions that will also be accessible virtually.
If you’re heading to Austin, Texas for SXSW from March 11 to March 20 (or if you’re just planning on traveling to the increasingly popular city at some point in the near future), but you’re not quite sure where to stay, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking for one of the classic Austin institutions or a trendy new spot, there are plenty of luxe hotels to consider for your upcoming jaunt to the Texas city. Below, see the very best hotels to book for your next trip to Austin.
Four Seasons Austin
You can’t go wrong with the luxurious Four Seasons, which is located in downtown Austin with picture perfect view of Lady Bird Lake. The interior decor is inspired by Hill Country and the youthful, trendy vibe of Austin; think lots of leather, walnut and earthy materials, plus a few modern details like metallic bronze accents. The aesthetic extends through the hotel’s 294 total accommodations, including 261 rooms and 33 suites. For dining, make a reservation at the Four Seasons Austin’s main restaurant, Ciclo, or head to the Live Oak lounge to try a Texas-inspired menu and cocktails. If you have the time, make sure to book an appointment at the spa, get in a workout in the fitness center or take a dive in the outdoor saltwater pool.
98 San Jacinto Boulevard, Four Seasons Austin.
The historic Driskill was originally built in 1886 for a cattle baron (is there anything more quintessentially Texan?), and is now comprised of 175 rooms as well as 14 freshly renovated suites. Inside the limestone-and-brick facade leads, there’s a sleek marble lobby with a stained glass dome. All of the rooms and interior spaces are outfitted with classic (though thoroughly modernized) decor, such as wood-accented tables, trunk-inspired nightstands and bed frames and headboards emblazoned with the “D” monogram logo. Make sure to stop for a treat at the 1886 Café & Bakery (it’s usually open until 2 pm each day), and of course, a trip wouldn’t be complete without spending some time at the wood-paneled Driskill Bar, with its cowhide bar stools, upholstered leather couches and cattle-branded custom carpet, where you can enjoy a drink while listening to live music pretty much every single night.
604 Brazos Street, The Driskill.
Commodore Perry Estate, an Auberge Resort
If you want to splurge on a luxe retreat just outside the city, you must consider the Commodore Perry Estate. The 10-acre resort is located in Hyde Park, a mere 10 minutes from downtown Austin, but has the ambiance of a plush European getaway. The historic estate was initially built as a private home in the 1920s, before eventually transferring ownership and reopening as a luxe hotel in 2020, revealing a new design courtesy of Ken Fulk. The 52 rooms and suites are found in either the original landmarked 10,800-square-foot Mansion or the newly built Inn; all of the rooms are uniquely decorated with custom furnishings and vintage decor, and they’re all outfitted with an “Estate Sale” composed of curated items from local artisans, which guests can opt to purchase. The restaurant, Lutie’s, is named after the former estate matriarch, Lutie Perry, with a menu that includes craft cocktails, snacks and larger plates, all in a dreamy garden setting.
4100 Red River Street, Commodore Perry Estate.
The sleek 37-story Fairmont Austin truly towers over the city, with a staggering 1,048 rooms and suites. This luxury hotel is all about full-service, with amenities like a heated pool on the seventh-floor roof terrace, a salon and spa and a fitness center. There are six different dining options, including Garrison, a grill house, and Rules and Regs, a cocktail bar on the seventh floor, where you can make the most of the impressive views of Lady Bird Lake. The Fairmont Austin is also one of the best and most convenient options for SXSW since it’s where the XR Experience is held.
101 Red River Street, Fairmont Austin.
The Thompson, which just opened its doors in January 2022, is one of the newest additions to the Austin hotel landscape. The modern hotel in the downtown entertainment district is comprised of 229 rooms, with all the amenities you’ve come to expect from the hospitality brand, including an infinity pool and private cabanas on a lounge deck on the fourth floor. While two of the Thompson’s dining options aren’t available just yet, Wax Myrtle’s Club and Pool on the aforementioned fourth floor lounging area is open, with a menu full of snacks and drinks.
506 San Jacinto Boulevard, Thompson Austin.