Set right on the banks of Lady Bird Lake as it passes downtown, the Four Seasons Hotel Austin performs the impressive juggling act of feeling like both a glamorous city stay and a picturesque, elegant resort. On one side is the Lobby Lounge, a local hot spot for live music, on the other the sun-lounger–lined saltwater pool that looks out over the sprawling lawn and the lake beyond. This outdoorsy-meets-hip dichotomy is part of what defines Austin, and the hotel is right at the heart of it: Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail is the closest of many urban trails, and the food trucks and record stores of the trendy Downtown and Bouldin Creek neighborhoods are within walking distance—a rarity in this expansive city.
A Hill Country–inspired spa and innovative steakhouse draw locals, while elegant rooms (updated in late 2014) with lake views and signature Four Seasons service—think seasonal lemonade or hot apple cider on arrival and s'mores on the back patio—make stays extra special.
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With its central, lakefront location, the Four Seasons puts you within walking distance of the shops, restaurants, and sights of Downtown and Bouldin Creek, biking distance of park-filled Zilker, and a short drive or cab ride to the nightlife and vintage shops of South Congress. Favorite Downtown eats include La Condesa and Frank Restaurant. And, while in the neighborhood, the iconic Texas State Capitol building is a can’t-miss.
Need to Know
Rooms: 291 rooms, 28 suites. From $449. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: At TRIO, it’s a tie between the food and the views. The fine-dining restaurant, with an expansive patio overlooking Lady Bird Lake, puts a modern Texas spin on the classic steakhouse, offering a range of local seafood (think beer-battered Gulf shrimp) alongside barbecue, fresh vegetables, and a full menu of steaks. Regional Texas wines make a notable appearance, though the beverage menu stands out most for its 30 by-the-glass offerings. The daily half-price wine happy hour is considered one of Austin’s best, while the elegant Lobby Lounge is known more for its cocktails, Tex-Mex snacks, and live music Wednesday through Saturday. The lobby also serves a refined afternoon tea from Thursday to Sunday. Spa and gym details: The full-service spa focuses on local Hill Country herbs in its extensive treatment options; a steam room and relaxation lounge are also open to guests. The fitness center is open 24 hours, the heated saltwater pool is open daily from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail passes right through the hotel’s back yard.
Who's it best for: Luxury travelers who want to be in the heart of Austin. The hotel courts business and leisure travelers, families, and couples. Our favorite rooms: Lake View Rooms and Suites live up to their names with unobstructed views of Lady Bird Lake and the hotel’s back lawn; some even have private balconies. Naturally, higher rooms have the most impressive vistas of Austin’s southern bank. Getting around: Austin is a driving city, so the hotel's free town car service within the downtown area on Tuesday through Saturday evenings is especially welcome. Bicycles are also available to rent from the front desk.