It’s always nice to get away, yet sometimes, with all the choices around you, why leave at all? We searched for the best choices of this summer’s hottest staycation opportunities, and here’s what we found.
DOWNTOWN W Austin
Think of it as Manhattan with a cowboy hat. Well, sort of. It’s been quite a while since Austin got a big city hotel and this little city couldn’t be happier for the hospitality infusion. We’ve all tried W brands across the world. Some work (L.A., Mexico City, Barcelona), and some just don’t have the same cool vibe (Atlanta, Dallas, Silicon Valley), so when this hotel opened in late 2010, much was expected and much has been delivered. The hipster mantra is certainly felt in the black, white and red guest rooms, all of which have stunning views flanked by glossy rock legend photograph artwork. The pool area, quite the scene at the WET Bar, can transport you to Miami Beach, and if you’re looking for nourishing treatments, check out the AWAY spa. Need a meal and a nighttime fix? No problem–see you in the hotel’s restaurant, Trace, and then in The Living Room or the nearby and all- red Secret Room that casts a mysterious glow on any evening. Don’t forget the Austin City Limits theater on site for a concert, too. Austin, thanks to the W, might just have to change its moniker to “Keep Austin Cool.” Especially during the summer months. For more info about special packages, visit: whotels.com/Austin
URBAN Hotel St. Cecilia
We are, after all, the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World, right? This B&B turned VIP hotel is the latest brainchild of the area’s hospitality guru Liz Lambert. With the hotel named for the patron saint of music and poetry, the accommodations come complete with their own turn- tables and LP records you can check out for your listening pleasure. You’ll sleep on a handcrafted Hästens mattress from Sweden, savor Rivolta Carmignani cotton sheets and Anichini towels, and bask in La Compagnie de Provence bath products–a few examples of the attention to details you can expect here. Think of it as down-home luxury at its finest. All of the 14 rooms, bungalows and suites have a clubby ‘60s and ‘70s rock star vibe to them and are steps away from the there’s-always-something-to-do South Congress. The pool, with its thought-provoking neon signage, is the perfect summer setting near the bar that specializes in not only tasty, retro cocktails, but also conversation with world-class guests who might astound you, making it feel like you’ve been transported to a villa in Capri. For more info on special packages, visit: hotelstcecilia.com
HILL COUNTRY Lake Austin Spa
There’s a reason this spa is the jet set retreat of the rich and fabulous. Perennially voted one of the top five spas in the world, it’s a retreat for the senses. Just about 30 minutes west is all you have to travel to feel like you’ve landed on Planet Serene with its lush and sprawling grounds that provide mil- lion-dollar views of Lake Austin. This health and fitness desti- nation resort embraces a genuine spa environment that rivals La Costa, Canyon Ranch and any other venues that are also world famous. Here you’ll really feel like you’ve gone a trip to beat the heat as you rest and revere in the spa treatments that will lull you into a deep relaxation for your entire stay. The men’s spa, with its many advanced treatments, is calm and secluded, making it feel like your own private retreat, especially during the week. The massages, scrubs and bungalows can provide a sparkling setting for a weekend romantic getaway to recharge and relax. Even the calorie-watching cuisine adds to the overall experience of feeling years younger and pounds lighter during your visit. For more info on special deals, visit: lakeaustin.com