Hotel San Jose
1316 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
| +1 512-444-7322
Photo by Hannah Koehler / Hotel San Jose
Hotel San JoséHailed as one of the country’s first true boutique hotels, Hotel San José started its life as a 1930s tourist court and became a 1950s roadside motel before falling into disrepair in a bad part of town. In the mid-1990s, Liz Lambert bought it and transformed it into a minimalist, mid-century–inspired hot spot, the first of her distinctive Bunkhouse hotels, and the South Congress neighborhood changed with it. Although it’s now a must-visit for out-of-town hipsters (and its bar a hangout for trendy locals), the hotel stays true to its roots; a majority of the furniture was made by local artisans from reclaimed wood and Texas leather, the three most affordable rooms have a shared bath, and Lambert’s experience renovating the hotel and contributing to the neighborhood’s gentrification prompted her to make the documentary The Last Days of the San Jose.
Nowadays, SoCo is Austin’s hottest neighborhood, and Hotel San José is in the heart of the action, hosting local and touring bands in its courtyard and parking lot, and offering some of the city’s best coffee at Jo’s, its affiliated café. Plan to spend at least one evening making new friends over Shiner Bocks at the long tables in the courtyard lounge.
about 4 years ago
Hotel San Jose
Built in 1936 as an “ultramodern” motor court, the property has been transformed into a urban bungalow-style hotel tucked behind stucco walls and set amidst lush garden courtyards. Their bar alongside the garden pool is an oasis for a hot Texan day, I recommend ordering the Tokyo Ginger Mule.
over 7 years ago
Still Cool After All These Years
It’s been many years since I was in Austin and decided to hit back the Hotel San Jose, one of the first DIY boutique hotels in the country, carved out of an old motel. It helped revitalize the whole South Congress hip strip of Austin into one of the Soul Centers of the Universe of Cool, blahblahblah, you’ve read all about it, it’s in every guidebook and website about Austin. It still works. Spartan, hip, but makes you feel good. The scene around the patio at night is festive and like family, even though you may not know anybody. Get a room in the back for a little more quiet.