Texas conjures up images of cowboys roping cattle at a rodeo. Vast cities sprawl out over miles while in the state’s interior, rugged landscapes depict the essence of the American frontier. Those looking for places to visit in the Lone Star State can certainly take their pick. Today we’re focusing on three of the best known and most popular cities: Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. Besides sporting a wealth of scenic and cultural institutions, these three places boast some fantastic hotel stays. If you’re trying to make the most of an upcoming vacation, come along as we profile hotels grand and quaint and everywhere in between. Luxurious accommodations find a place alongside budget-friendly locations. It’s a feast of recommendations around which to plan a Texas-sized adventure. These are our favorite hotels in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Table of Contents
Great Hotel Experiences in Austin
Great Hotel Experiences in Dallas
Four Seasons Resort and Club
Great Hotel Experiences in San Antonio
Arbor House Suites Bed and Breakfast
One thing visitors learn is that there’s Texas…and then there’s Austin. The state capital is something of an anomaly in this otherwise deeply traditional state. Home to the University of Texas’ flagship campus, Austin has a youthful vibrancy that’s more in step with trendy coastal cities. Those who come find Austin refreshing, yet it’s still a great place to uncover some Texas cultural gems. The city has a wealth of attractions well worth a visit. These range from spending time Downtown near UT Austin to venturing outside of town for some scenic landscapes. Here’s a simple, yet fun way to get a feel for what’s going on in Austin.
Start at the University of Texas-Austin campus. Campus is electric when the Longhorns are playing. The Big 12 Conference has, at the time of writing, indicated it plans to go ahead with a modified football schedule for fall, 2020. Chances are you’ll be able to hear the roar of the crowds at Texas Memorial Stadium this year. During your visit, make your way around the South Mall and past various campus buildings before heading towards the Texas State Capitol. The capitol building’s historic architecture is impressive and the surrounding parks and lawns are a great place for a stroll. Further south along Congress Ave, you’ll come to the Mexic-Arte Museum. The museum’s collection features new and upcoming Latino artists. Look for a good café before venturing down by the Colorado River. Riverside green space developments have made this an exceedingly good place for a picnic or just some simple relaxation.
If you enjoy outdoor activities and natural landscapes, you’ll do well to venture west of town to the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This natural swimming hole is a great place for pictures with a stunning natural backdrop. Austin really shines during the annual South by Southwest festival. A hodgepodge of tech, film, music, and art, SXSW brings together the best forward-thinkers from around the country. At this point it’s not clear if we’ll see the same SXSW as we have in the past given ongoing concerns about large gatherings and COVID-19. Whatever happens, keep in mind that it’s especially during such major events when hotels in Austin rapidly fill.
Great Hotel Experiences in Austin
Heywood Hotel is a trendy place to stay located in East Austin along East Cesar Chavez St. Highly rated by guests, the hotel looks more like someone's residence than it does a full-fledged hotel. Don’t let appearances fool you, however, this place features chic rooms with lots of space for you to unfurl. There’s even in-house bicycle rental so you can quickly cover the short distance to Central Austin and back. Those looking for a memorable experience that doesn’t break the bank should consider booking a stay at one of Austin’s hottest accommodations.
The Hotel Van Zandt, part of the Klimpton hotel chain, is popular among travelers to Austin. Tasteful decoration, excellent service, and wide-ride of amenities help ensure you’ll have everything you need to make the most of an Austin adventure. The interior spaces feature lovely use of wood and earthy tones to create a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. This extends to the hotel’s restaurant and bar area, where you can enjoy some upscale dining or a round of drinks. A full service recreation area and an outdoor swimming pool round out the offerings at Hotel Van Zandt.
Since opening in 1999, the Driskill has cultivated a devoted customer base attracted to its central location as well as its stunning exterior architecture and interior décor. Staying here puts you in the heart of the action only a few blocks from the Texas State Capitol and practically around the corner from the Mexic-Arte Museum. The Driskill’s red brick exterior trimmed in white stone accent is gorgeous. Interior dining spaces and common areas are unmistakably luxurious while the guest rooms provide a refined experience. Staying at the Driskill lands you among the movers and shakers in Austin, which is very much a part of the appeal.
Located on the other side of the Colorado River from UT-Austin and the Texas State Capitol, Hotel Saint Cecilia honors the patron saint of music and poetry. Offering something of a Bohemian vibe, this place taps into much of what makes Austin great. This is somewhere you wouldn’t be surprised to find an art troupe rehearsing some poolside avant-garde performance. You might even feel yourself compelled to pick up a pen and jot down a few stanzas. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a creative type, however, as Hotel Saint Cecilia is not just a refuge for artists. The whole idea is to just go with the flow and make the most of the journey. If that sounds like you, go for a stay at Hotel Saint Cecilia.
There’s much more to Dallas than just the Cowboys. This is very much a happening city filled with lots of commercial, enterprise, and artistic activity. From smoked barbecue and authentic Mexican feasts, Dallas is a major cultural center with lots to offer tourists and vacationers. History buffs will want to start their tours Downtown with a visit to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, and the Grassy Knoll. From there make your way around the central streets where you’ll find the Dallas World Aquarium, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, and the Majestic Theater.
The nearby Design District is a modern neighborhood featuring many upscale studios and galleries. The streets there are lined with famous breweries. Art lovers won’t want to miss a stroll around the Design District. If it’s non-stop entertainment you’re after, Uptown is the place to be. Stunning nightlife, sumptuous food, and premier entertainment await you along McKinney Avenue. Go for a walk through Reverchon Park while you’re at it. Uptown is easy to reach from City Center and not far from the Design District. You’ll be right in the thick of it.
The Perot Museum and Dallas Zoo are great places for wholesome family entertainment. You should also visit the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for the beautiful floral displays and fresh air. Pioneer Plaza is another great spot. It features large animal sculptures that are perfect for selfies. Explore Dallas' love for cowboy accessories by getting your very own 10-gallon hat to take back home. All in all, Dallas is an eccentric city with loads of great culture, entertainment, and history. It’s an ideal place for a vacation.
Great Hotel Experiences in Dallas
The AC Marriott will put you a short 10 minute walk from Kennedy Plaza. This place prides itself on offering a new breed of hotel experience. Part of the attraction comes from the AC Marriott’s European sensibility that offers what you need and doesn’t make you pay for what you don’t want. Amenities include an indoor pool, airport shuttle service, a bowling alley, and more. Rooms are standard meaning you get what you expect and various configurations are available. In terms of affordability and convenience, there’s not much to critique at the AC Marriott.
The Omni is very much a popular hotel in Dallas. From its iconic blue night time exterior, to the spacious restaurant and public areas, the Omni feels thoroughly modern. Just two blocks from Union Station, when you stay here you’ll have easy access to all the main attractions in Downtown Dallas including Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum. The large outdoor swimming pool provides stunning views and the hotel bar located just off to the side will happily keep your drinks refilled. As far as hotel stays go in Dallas, it’s hard to do better than the Omni.
If it’s top of the food chain, spare no expense for you, the Four Seasons Resort and Club is the premiere accommodation in the Dallas Metro Area. This is a place well outside the urban atmosphere where you can avoid the hustle and bustle. Conveniently, the Four Seasons Resort is not far from DFW International Airport and Love Field. The resort’s golf courses are PGA-worthy and host to the tour’s Byron Nelson Championship. In addition to golf, there are indoor and outdoor recreation areas plus a full-service spa and treatment center. Guest rooms are bright and tasteful, with ground level rooms providing easy outdoor access. If it’s rest and relaxation you’re after, the Four Seasons Resort and Club is happy to accommodate.
Don’t immediately blanch when you hear the word hostel. Although Deep Ellum does have traditional dorm-style rooms, there are private suites available. Seasoned travelers will tell you, the relaxed atmosphere and constant flow of guests create a lively environment that add a layer of authenticity and excitement to your stay. This is in large part the primary attraction at hostels and one reason why we have no trouble recommending this one for your next visit to Dallas. An onsite bar provides a great place to relax and the hostel’s location in the Deep Ellum neighborhood is convenient for accessing the city center.
If you’re looking to get a true feel for Lone Star culture, there are few better places than San Antonio. This lovely destination won’t break your bank account. Here you’ll find heaps of Texas charm and a vast array of great attractions. San Antonio has a relatively compact city center, which provides ample opportunity for exploration. The city’s famed River Walk is a network of trails lined with restaurants, shops, and green spaces winding alongside the San Antonio River. An integral part of the city, recent efforts to cultivate and promote investment in the River Walk have helped turn the downtown portions into a hugely popular venue for local gatherings. With 15 miles of continuous trail, there are dozens of interesting and worthwhile spots along the way.
San Antonio is easily understood with reference to the River Walk. By number of visitors, it’s the city’s biggest attraction, surpassing even the Alamo. The impetus for developing areas along the San Antonio River date back to 1921, when significant flooding killed more than four dozen people and destroyed much of the city. East Hildebrand Avenue marks the northern extent of the River Walk. Start here with a visit to the San Antonio Zoo. On the west side of Brackenridge Park are the Japanese Tea Gardens with marvelous stone walkways, small pods, and various garden buildings.
Downtown San Antonio features several can’t-miss attractions. Leave the River Walk briefly and head for the Alamo, the historic garrison and pivotal battleground during the 1836 Texas Revolution. Walk to the nearby Buckhorn Saloon & Museum where you can have a drink at an Old West-themed gift shop. Stop at the neighboring Majestic Theatre with its ornate Mediterranean-style interior design. Elsewhere on the river bend you’ll find the Briscoe Western Art Museum with a wide range of art and artifacts commemorating the culture of the American West. Snap a few pictures of Rosita's Bridge and then cross over to explore La Villita Historic Arts Village.
The southern portion of the River Walk is dominated by the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The park encompasses four of the five Spanish colonial missions, which along with the Alamo, comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a consummate Texan city, San Antonio features that rare blend of affordability and attractiveness that make for a truly special vacation destination.
Great Hotel Experiences in San Antonio
First open in 1914, Hotel Havana prides itself on blending new and old world culture. Staying here will put you just five minutes from the River Walk and adjacent to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The hotel’s in-house bar is itself a San Antonio landmark and a great place to unwind after a day spent exploring the city. The hotel restaurant has lots of open windows and natural light. Guest rooms are spacious and minimally adorned. Simplicity is part of the appeal at Hotel Havana. This is one place where you can easily find yourself wanting to spend time.
Mokara is a place for people who want to be pampered. Set right alongside the River Walk, staying here makes you’re basically right in the middle of all the fun stuff. As befits a premium hotel location, the staff at Mokara are attentive and eager to assist you. Guest rooms come in a number of configurations and feature all the expected amenities. You have direct access to the most popular sections of the River Walk and you’ll be within easy reach of the Briscoe Western Art Museum, La Villita, and Hemisfair Park.
Housed in a historic 19th-century former brewery, Hotel Emma is one of those locations managing to blend a boutique hotel experience with historic preservation. Interior spaces are eye-catching with open levels ringed in bookshelves, exposed stone walls, and artful flourishes. Guest rooms likewise opt for the classic design style with interior brick and other elements that provide almost a country estate feel. Eschewing the highly decorative aesthetic found in many luxury establishments, Hotel Emma lets its historic building speak for itself. We think you’ll enjoy a stay here.
Who can resist the appeal of a good B&B? Arbor House is located near La Villita and Hemisfair Park so you don’t have to go far outside the city center to find quaint accommodation in San Antonio. Arbor House’s history stretches back to 1903 when it was a residential home. Rooms here feature a small kitchenette so you can easily gab a few items at a local grocer and prepare a home-cooked meal while on vacation. If you’re traveling with a groups of friends, it is possible to rent the entire house; however, you’ll want to check well ahead of time as Arbor House tends to be quite popular.