Omni Austin Hotel Downtown Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Omni is an upscale chain geared toward business travelers and well-heeled couples, with a prime downtown location within walking distance of the Sixth Street entertainment district. The soaring atrium lobby is bright and gleaming, the warm rooms have Texas-inspired decor and flat-screen TVs, and the chic rooftop pool with excellent city views is a notable draw. The price, when comparing this property to other hotels that offer the same amenities in similar location, is hard to beat.
Casulo Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The Casulo offers chic boutique style at an affordable price, with contemporary, zen-like decor, and rooms all featuring big soaking tubs (most next to peek-a-boo glass windows). But it's a 10-minute drive south of downtown Austin, so no popular tourist sites are within walking distance, and there's no full restaurant on-site -- just a bar and lobby cafe.
Holiday Inn Austin Midtown Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Although located in a slightly sketchy neighborhood, opposite a shopping mall whose glory days are long-gone, this property's spacious, bright rooms are far more sophisticated than you might expect from a Holiday Inn. But it's a little far from the action and attractions downtown.
Holiday Inn Austin - Town Lake Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The mid-range Holiday Inn is a safe, if unexciting, bet for travelers on a budget. Rooms are chain-like but spacious, with microwaves and mini-fridges, the fitness room is bright and modern, and the outdoor pool is decent, with lake -- and freeway -- views. The location is pretty good for a hotel in this price category -- next to Town Lake, and a short drive from the action in downtown Austin. Plus, there's free shuttle service to the airport, and Segway and kayak rentals on-site.