Austin’s a jewel in Texas: an easygoing university town with great food, friendly locals, and too many music venues to count. Hotel San Jose is a handy launchpad for your urban explorations, situated on South Congress Street near many of the quirky shops, bars, clubs and restaurants from which you’ll want to stumble home.
Last week we stayed in one of the standard rooms on the street side of the building. For a discounted rate you can rent a room with a shared bathroom or for a quieter stay you’d want to request a room away from the street.
Overall, how was it? Let’s break it down.
What I loved
The fonts, the native plants, the crowd gathered outside Jo’s, the hotel coffee shop, for morning joe. In our room, I found a catalog of books and CDs we could borrow from the front desk–we chose a 1930′s screwball comedy about hotels. Free wireless (for your Mac, of course). You can also borrow a typewriter to bang out a few pages of your next novel.
Bath products are purchased from a local company, and they didn’t skimp by offering “conditioning shampoo”–a contradiction in terms, especially for those of us endowed with springy tendrils. The rate was right: only $160 per night, about $50 lower than what I found for corporate competitors.
Oh, and there was a poem tacked next to the bathroom mirror: plus 10 points.
What I didn’t love
The poem was Billy Collins: minus 5 points.
Drainage isn’t a subject I worry about on an average day, but when we couldn’t leave our room because a sudden rain shower resulted in perma-lake outside our door, I wondered if HSJ shouldn’t invest in some type of runoff system.
Also, usually open entering a hotel room, I think “Man! This is (2? 4? 17?) times the size of my tiny city apartment.” Not so here–the room felt claustrophobic when we were closeted inside. Milli Vanilli was right: I should blame it on the rain.
HSJ is probably not the first place I’d select if I were traveling with a passel of children or grew hives at the sight of American Apparel gear.
This is, however, the perfect spot if you want to stay up late, fall asleep to “Raising Arizona,” and roll out of bed at 10 a.m. to pick up an iced latte while still wearing your pajamas. You know: like an Austin rock star should.