Historic building in the heart of Austin's downtown
Close to Sixth Street bars, Texas Capitol, and Austin Convention Center
Rooms are modern and comfortable with great beds
Keurig coffeemakers, minibars, and safes come standard
Excellent Roaring Fork restaurant, plus breakfast buffet
Stephen F's bar and terrace is scene-y spot for Texas politicians
Indoor lap pool and adjacent hot tub
Modern, well-equipped fitness center
24-hour business center and meeting rooms available
Room walls can be a bit thin; guests complain about hallway noise
Lap pool is only big enough for one swimmer at a time
Free Wi-Fi only for IHG Rewards members (free to join)
Only valet parking is available (for a fee)
Located in the heart of downtown Austin, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin dates back to 1924 as the city's first high-rise building. The hotel also boasts one of the best restaurants in town, and its bar -- with the only terrace on Congress Avenue -- is a gathering spot for legislators. All 189 rooms were renovated with an old-Texas design in 2013, and they're comfortably outfitted with great beds, Keurig machines, and flat-screen TVs, however, some noise does trickle in from the hallway. Although a tiny indoor lap pool, hot tub, and fitness center are well-maintained, the hotel notably lacks a spa. Nearby options worth considering include The Driskill for history or the Omni for a rooftop pool.
Stately, historic hotel has bar with a see-and-be-seen vibe for Texas politicians
The InterContinental was Austin's first high-rise hotel when it was first built in 1924, and it retains much of its stately past in its lobby, which ushers guests in through golden doors and meets them with a marble staircase. The historic property underwent a top-to-bottom renovation in 2013, which resulted in an elegant, Southwest-inspired design with lots of warm reds, leather seating, and of course, several portraits of its namesake Stephen F. Austin, Sitting three blocks from Austin's Capitol building, in the heart of the city's business and entertainment district, it caters largely to corporate travelers. Additionally, because of its proximity to the state Capitol, the hotel's bar has become a place for the state's legislators to meet and grab a drink in an old-Texas atmosphere, with the only restaurant terrace on Congress Avenue. Aside from the bar and restaurant, the vibe here is largely relaxed.
Located in downtown Austin along the main Congress Avenue, the hotel is in the middle of the city's business district. It sits just next to the historic Paramount Theatre, and is an eight-minute walk down Congress to the Texas Capitol. The property is just one block north of Sixth Street, a famous stretch of bars, music venues, and eateries. The Mexic-Arte Mexican Art Museum and the Contemporary Austin art museum are both a four-minute walk away on Congress Avenue, too.
The Austin Convention Center is about a 15-minute walk, while The University of Texas at Austin's main campus is about a seven-minute taxi ride or a 20-minute bus ride away. There's a bus that goes directly to the airport (about 35 minutes) from a stop about a seven-minute walk from the hotel, or a cab takes about 18 minutes. South Congress Avenue, known for antique shops and popular restaurants like Home Slice Pizza, is about an eight-minute drive.
The hotel's 189 rooms and suites were renovated in 2013 with a true Texas vibe: think Old West burgundies and golds, with touches like checkered throws and faux-cowhide pillows. The smallest rooms are about 250 square feet, though they vary in size because the hotel's retained the original floor plans. There's a small tablet next to the bed with lighting and air-conditioning controls, which is a nice touch. The sofa beds in suites come with Tempur-Pedic mattresses. Guests should know that walls are thin and noise has been known to trickle in from the hallway.
Standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, minibars, and Keurig coffeemakers, as well as ironing boards and irons. Desks and closets with bathrobes are also provided. Modern marble bathrooms have shower/tub combos, though these have plastic curtains that feel cheap. Hairdryers and Agraria Lemon Verbena toiletries round out the amenities.
Restaurant is one of the best in town, but no spa and tiny lap pool
The hotel stands out for its dining offerings, as the on-site Roaring Fork restaurant is one of the best-rated places to eat in the city. Done in Western-meets-Mission decor (lots of browns, stone accents, and wood trim), it serves an international menu with some Tex-Mex and Southern dishes. The breakfast buffet is continental and has a ton of variety, though it's not free. However, free coffee is served in the lobby each morning. Stephen F's bar is a popular spot thanks to its second-floor terrace with lovely views of the Capitol.
The property's gym features modern Cybex and Precor machines (elliptical, treadmills, bikes, step machines), free weights, and strength-training machines. An indoor lap pool and adjacent hot tub are available, however, the former is really only big enough for one person at a time. Also a downside is the lack of a spa.
Wi-Fi is free for IHG Rewards members, which is free to sign up for. The hotel also offers four meeting rooms, one of which holds 400 people theater-style. A business center with printer capabilities is open 24/7. Parking is valet-only, and it's pretty pricey, but there's street parking available too.
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