While visiting family in Austin my wife & I stayed 2-nights at the Westin Austin Downtown. I booked our stay direct through Marriott.com and selected a basic King Bed Guest Room. I also used my American Express Platinum Card for the reservation in order to unlock an offer for “Spend $300 on Marriott Purchases and Get $60 Back.”
Using the mobile app, I checked-in on Thursday, November 28th which was one day prior to our arrival. Upon arriving to the property, I went to the Elite desk, acquired our room keys, and was on our way to the room in less than a few minutes.
This property is located at the corner of 5th Street & San Jacinto, which is one block away from the (in)famous 6th Street. The location alone is no doubt reason for some to completely reject staying at this property, but my wife & I were amenable to giving it a try. While the nocturnal festivities that take place on 6th Street are not our cup-of-tea, I will say that the location is still quite convenient. In fact, my only true qualm about the location itself was just how busy it made the surrounding streets, which is not the hotel’s fault. Alas, this high-volume traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian) did make for some long waits at the valet stand, which is the only way to park at this hotel (i.e. no self-park). When we first arrived at the hotel on Friday, November 29th the line for the valet was about 6-8 cars long and was only growing longer by the time we were finally greeted by a driver. Due to this traffic jam at the valet stand and the fact that they were (apparently) short-staffed, I was concerned this would be a trend throughout the weekend as we were planning on claiming the vehicle multiple times. Thankfully our valet experiences only improved as our stay went on.
The Property & Amenities:
This Westin, like all the other Westin locations I've stayed at, was clean, spacious, well-decorated, and well-staffed. This property has one full-service restaurant & bar (Stella San Jac), a rooftop terrace (Azul) replete with its own bar, lounge, and pool. It also has a fitness center and a host of conference rooms. Two notable amenities of this property were Azul Rooftop Bar + Lounge (located on the 20th floor) and the seasonal, life-size Gingerbread House that is located in the hotel lobby. What makes the latter so special is that people can reserve this house for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, thus being able to enjoy a lovely meal inside of this beautiful holiday abode right there in the lobby. As far as the pool is concerned, my wife & I didn't have an opportunity to swim due to a multitude of reasons, including inclement weather and forgetting our 9-month old’s swim trunks. However, we did venture up to the pool area on two separate occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the views. I would stay at this property again if only to swim in the pool!
General Property Photos -
Gingerbread House Photos -
Azul Rooftop Bar + Lounge photos -
While my wife & I never actually ate in the restaurant, Stella San Jac, we did enjoy drinks from the restaurant on three separate occasions, and had brunch sent up to our room on Saturday morning. Nothing we had was exceptional, but I certainly wouldn’t mind eating and drinking at the restaurant again during future stays if we found ourselves back at the property.
As mentioned earlier, I booked a basic King Bed Guest Room. After I checked-in, however, I noticed that I was eligible for an upgrade. Thankfully this ended up being true as we were upgraded to a Deluxe King Bed Guest Room – Deluxe rooms being located on higher floors (always my preference). This was an amazing upgrade, in my opinion, as the 14th floor provided sufficient space between us and the chaos one block over on 6th Street. Our room was clean, spacious, and suited our needs perfectly. One thing I noticed during our 2-night stay was how utterly quiet it was on our floor, as I don’t recall ever hearing our neighbors. As far as actually seeing people on our floor, I only recall catching sight of two-or-three people even though the property itself was very busy. This was a lovely surprise.
The service at the hotel was very pleasant and on-point, for the most part. The front desk agent was courteous and efficient, as was the Service Express agent I dealt with multiple times. Every Westin-specific employee did their jobs well, however it did seem that the restaurant’s employees were content on “doing their own thing.” The night of our arrival my wife & I stopped into Stella San Jac’s bar for a couple of drinks and never got service, even after the passing of about 5 minutes just sitting at our table in the moderately-busy lounge. I eventually had to go track down someone to serve us, which was odd because I saw numerous other tables get greeted (there was no shortage of staff). Based upon my observations the employees were too “busy” socializing with patrons (who were probably friends) and with their fellow colleagues. I suppose this is par-for-the-course for a bar so close to a street full of bars. However, I don’t think I should have to go track down my own server so that I can turn around and pay for some drinks.
Overall, I was happy with the hotel and would gladly offer it 4 out of 5 stars. The property itself was clean and afforded a nice urban retreat amid the 6th Street madness, and the hotel staff were all quite pleasant. The main issue I had was the valet-only parking situation, which had a $49/nightly rate. Perhaps we caught the valet stand on an “off-night,” but it’s a bit frustrating having to wait 10-15 minutes to simply drop off your car upon arrival to the hotel, which was the case on Friday evening when we arrived. I will say, however, that being able to text the valet stand whenever we wanted our car pulled before we actually left our room was a nice perk that worked well throughout our stay. Other than the parking concerns I wouldn’t have an issue recommending this property to future Austin-goers, but I would remind folks of where the property is located, and that valet can be very busy. Cheers!