Top 5 Austin Boutique Hotels for South by Southwest

Every spring Austin, TX hosts one of the largest music and film festivals in the world: South by Southwest (SXSW), attracting around 50,000 culture vultures from all walks of life. SXSW transforms downtown into a fairground where you can experience the freshest offerings from the leading lights in media, music and tech. This event has humble beginnings; in 1987 only 700 people attended and the festival was primarily a showcase for musicians. But it has continued to grow each year to become the must-experience phenomenon it is today.

“South-by”, as it’s commonly abbreviated, is the perfect chance to expand your cultural horizons as a couple. If rocking out with an arm-full of wristbands and a plastic cup of beer doesn’t sound romantic, we’d like to suggest some unique and luxurious Austin boutique hotels and inns that you can retire to when the party is over. If you're considering bringing your sweetheart to Texas for SXSW on March 7th -16th, a stay at one of these charming bed and breakfasts will transform the festival into a romantic getaway:

Heywood Hotel

 Heywood Hotel

Heywood Hotel is a modern boutique inn in the heart of East Austin. It is only a short walk to quaint eateries, hip lounges and boutiques, and is less than one mile from the Austin Convention Center, where many of the SXSW activities take place. You can choose from seven rooms, each carefully designed to be unique, chic, and well equipped. The funky, refined hipster vibe of Heywood Hotel is present throughout. For example, when you stay in the king deluxe room, you'll be ready to party with a wet bar with cocktail set up and an Instahot appliance for French press coffee in the mornings. Also, Heywood has free bike rentals so you can experience Austin like a local. If you want to take home a unique souvenir, consider purchasing the pieces from local artists that adorn the walls throughout the hotel.

Kimber Modern

 Kimber Modern

Situated in downtown Austin, Kimber Modern offers more than an ideal location. In its minimalist architecture and elegant multi-level courtyard (which has a 25-foot tall glass water feature and a fire) you’ll find refuge from the crowds. Architect Burton Baldridge describes his vision for Kimber Modern: "The building serves as a buffer to its inhabitants, opening inwardly to an interior land [and] deck-scape that provides an oasis from the SoCo buzz just outside." The Kimber Modern won the 2012 Texas Society of Architects Design award.

If you choose the White Suite, for example, you'll find a king bed that can be split into twins, a modern bathroom with a tub for two, complimentary mini bar, and private deck shaded by majestic oak trees. The common area is also inviting with cozy egg chairs, and features works by local artist Margo Sawyer. In the morning, the inn serves up hearty, organic, local breakfast (and you’ll also want to check out their happy hour.)


Austin's Inn at Pearl Street

 Austin's Inn at Pearl Street

Austin's Inn at Pearl Street in downtown is a self-service boutique with a vintage appeal. It's so lovely here that many brides choose it as a wedding venue. The inn is made up of the Victorian and Burton houses, which contain a total of eight rooms. But you can also choose private accommodations intended for longer stays, such as the four-room cottage, the Tree House apartment, and the Texas Hideaway flat. Meet some of the other guests in the living rooms of the Burton and Victorian houses, then head out and take a stroll on the lush grounds.


Blair House Inn

Blair House Inn

If you're looking to stay outside of Austin to avoid the bustle of the city during the fest, try nearby Wimberley. This small city is home to the delightful Blair House Inn. Stay in a guest room or suite, each with a private bathroom, or for more solitude, book one of the spacious cottages. You'll wake each morning to a three-course country-style breakfast featuring eggs Benedict, cranberry banana bread, and roasted rosemary potatoes before heading out to burn off some energy..

The city of Wimberley offers a peaceful retreat from Austin—it's an artists' community that is brimming with boutiques and art galleries that you and your sweetheart can explore on your down time. In fact, the inn houses its own Blair House Art Gallery, which showcases paintings and sculptures by Texas Hill Country artists (you'll also see their works decorating the rooms of the bed and breakfast). You can also take advantage of the spa services and cooking classes offered on-site.

The Inn Above Onion Creek

The Inn Above Onion Creek

If you love weird Austin but want to experience a bit of Texas's famed Hill Country, consider staying at the luxurious Inn Above Onion Creek in Kyle, which is less than a 30-minute drive south on I-35. This boutique bed and breakfast is very near to the Texas Wine Trail and it hosts its own day spa on the 88-acre grounds. A hot breakfast is available every morning, as well as a three-course dinner. The eight guest rooms, two private cottages and two luxury suites are all spacious, with over-sized baths, feather mattresses, and private porches (including rocking chairs.) It also has a huge outdoor pool and hot tub -- all with lovely views of the surrounding Hill Country.