The Driskill Austin Hotel Review
The Driskill is Austin’s oldest hotel. It is part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, a small group of historical properties managed by Hyatt. Previously I stayed at the fantastic Párisi Udvar in Budapest. The Driskill is actually owned by Hyatt Corporation and participates fully in the World of Hyatt program.
I booked my three night stay through a Privé agent. I was able to participate in a 3rd night free promotion and received breakfast each day and a $100 property credit. The total for my three nights was $370 + tax, substantially lower than normal due to COVID.
The Driskill is located in the heart of Austin at 6th and Congress. It is a 10 minute walk to the Texas state house and a 10 minute walk to the Colorado River/Lady Bird Lake.
There are tons of restaurants and bars nearby. The main entrance to the hotel is on Brazos Street. Valet parking is the only official option though there are garages nearby.
I arrived by Uber around 2pm. Having already checked in online, I knew my room was ready.
The large lobby is quite stunning. They have kept the original look including touches like the bank vault (there used to be a bank in the lobby).
The check in staff was very businesslike. In a historic hotel, I was expecting a bit more of an introduction and explanation of the property. It felt more like checking in to a Regency. I asked about the benefits of the Privé booking and she wasn’t sure. After looking it up, she let me know I had a $100 property credit and breakfast each day in the 1886 Cafe. However, it was explained to me, the cafe would only be offering grab and go breakfast during my stay and would close at 2pm. As the bar was also closed and there was no room service, my only option for using my $100 credit was for grab and go lunch. Pretty disappointing but I assume a change made due to low occupancy due to COVID.
The employee explained to me that my upgraded 1 King Bed Deluxe room was on the top floor of the newer (1920s) Tower section.
In the photo above, you can see the original 1886 building on the left and the 12 story tower built in the 1920s on the right (brown building).
I was assigned room 1201 on the 12th (top) floor of the Tower.
As it is an old hotel, I imagine each room is slightly different. My room had a short hall leading into the room.
The main room is large (for an old property) with nice tall ceilings. The king bed is against a mural painted wall and faces the main windows.
The bed is metal that looks like weathered wrought iron. The mattress was quite broken down and uncomfortable. The sheets were very high quality, though instead of a duvet cover, they use two flat sheets which leaves the duvet exposed. The bedside tables are made to look like old luggage.
Across from the bed is a sitting area with a couch and chair in addition to a desk.
The TV is along the side wall which makes it a little awkward to try to watch from the bed. Under the TV is a mini fridge (empty due to COVID) and coffee maker.
The view is territorial of the downtown area. The curtains look nice but don’t block out the light very well.
There is a small dressing room with a window, closet and sink just outside the bathroom.
The actual bathroom has a second sink, a toilet and shower/tub combo.
The bath products are all individual bottles by CO Bigelow.
There is a gym on the Mezzanine level. The locker rooms have steam rooms and there are massage rooms, but not in use during COVID. There is no pool.
There are two dining venues on site: The Driskill Bar and the 1886 Cafe. During COVID, The Driskill Bar is only open Thursday-Saturday nights so I didn’t get a chance to experience it. But the venue looks pretty fantastic.
The other option is the 1886 Cafe which is only open until 2:00pm. During the week (Monday-Thursday) they only offer grab and go breakfast. On the weekend, you can get a full service breakfast.
There is no room service right now, so there are no dinner options on property during the week.
As part of booking through Privé, on the second day I got my Welcome Amenity (when I checked in the staff had no clue about it). It included some bottles of water and mini-bar snacks.
Overall I found the property fun to explore. There are outdoor seating areas, little nooks with historical items, and if you are lucky you might get to stay in the LBJ Suite. The property is historic. LBJ and Lady Bird had their first date at The Driskill; later it would be a favorite place for him to stay while in Austin. The Citadel Club once was the meeting place for state senators (male only up until the 1980s).
I would like to re-visit The Driskill post-COVID to really experience it. While it was nice to have the property to myself (I was told it was around 10% occupancy), I felt like a lot of the normal levels of service would increase my overall view of the property. I’ve heard the breakfast is one of the best at a Hyatt in the US. Still, the location is fantastic, the building charming, the rooms mostly comfortable. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it during a stay in Austin.