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“Getting Away in the Middle of Everything”
Review of Hotel San Jose

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Hotel San Jose
Ranked #75 of 203 Hotels in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
Dallas, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Getting Away in the Middle of Everything”
Reviewed 12 April 2009

It was truly amazing what a refuge the Hotel San Jose felt like, smack in the middle of trendy South Congress. The rooms were crisp and bare, with just the right touches.

  • Stayed July 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CassieMolassie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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363 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (74)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Durango, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2009

I stayed here three nights on my first trip to Austin. I was attracted by the offbeat Web site; the apparent "hip" ambience; reviews I'd read; and the proximity to shops, restaurants, and downtown.

Seeking quiet, I stayed in a Grand Suite ($345 with taxes weekdays, $340 plus taxes weekends), with a "secluded back garden location." Relative to the other rooms, which are closer to the lively pool/bar/patio area, my suite was somewhat more peaceful.

I was not prepared, however, for the constant noise from the major avenue only a few yards from my door (South Congress): loud motorcycles, sirens, large trucks, diesel-powered pickups, etc., any time of the day or night. Also, there's a live-music bar across the street, from which the din could be heard past midnight. In addition, on the street corner just south of the hotel, a local pet-adoption group sets up every afternoon with half a dozen (or so) dogs that need homes, some of whom bark loudly and frequently. Finally, you can expect the raucous cackling of a large contingent of grackles, as well as other birds, on the grounds and in the trees of the property, from dawn to dark. Exotic at first, but wearisome if you want to sleep past daylight. (My overall rating would be higher if this place were a block or two away from South Congress Ave.)

The suite was furnished in a combination 1950s/Zen minimalist fashion. Mostly bare concrete floor, uncomfortable chairs (but also benches with cushions), a pseudo-poster promoting "On the Road," a very comfortable queen bed, windows that open. And, incongruously, a flat-screen TV,
Bose radio/CD player, and high-tech reading lights on both sides of the bed. But no microwave or mini-refrigerator. It was OK for a few days/nights, but the schizophrenic combination of minimalism and technology felt phony (speaking of the 1950s theme, one of J.D. Salinger's favorite adjectives). A few more amenities would be welcomed by most travelers, I suspicion...especially at this price.

Breakfast of sorts is available as half a dozen small meals (continental, granola, egg sandwich, fruit plate, Champagne/omelet, etc.), delivered to your room or served in the courtyard, $10-$40, plus delivery charge and/or gratuity. If you want a full choice of traditional breakfasts, I heartily recommend the Magnolia Cafe, an Austin tradition a few blocks south on South Congress.

The young hotel staff was friendly and conscientious. The pet fee is $10 per night. The bar serves a large variety of beers, and some wines, plus snacks. There are lots of trendy shops within walking distance, if you seek fashion or antiques.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Solitary_Sojourner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NJ
Level 6 Contributor
117 reviews
114 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 395 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 March 2009

I have stayed in this hotel many times and each time it is better.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank schong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
41 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2009

I loved the Hotel San José, though it was not the cushiest in a traditional sense, nor the staff the most polished and sycophantic. But then, Austin, Texas is not the Old World and the staff at the Hotel San José are twenty somethings, pleasant and attentive, but not career hotel professionals.
The San José has had a long, checkered past and even in its current renovated, Zen incarnation, it wears its history like a badge of honor. The rooms are vintage American motel in size and configuration. There's a square window on one wall, so there's not lots of natural light. Some rooms are better than others in that regard. If you get a room on the first floor tucked under an outdoor staircase, ask for another, as I did, or you're going to be plunged into 1950 darkness for the duration of your stay.
Decor is Zen monastic, spare and hip, and surprisingly comfortable for all the absence of plush and chintz.
I enjoyed my interactions with the staff. When I found that I'd been given the room under the staircase mentioned above, I asked to be relocated and I was, immediately and pleasantly.
I ordered room service breakfasts each of the three mornings I was there and I was pleased with both the quality of food and the punctuality of service.
I loved the pool/bar area with its attractive plantings and Southwestern garden architectural elements. Lots of people love the bar area, by the way, so be prepared for full tables of other thirsty souls, clamoring for the tasty and unusual drinks that the hotel offers.
The Hotel San José is not a standard cookie-cutter Marriott-type hotel. If you want that sort of experience, you know where to get it. As for me, I'll be staying at this quintessential Austin hotel again and again.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Vivianite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbus, Ohio
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2009

Just returned from 4 nights at Hotel San Jose. I can't say enough about the hotel's attention to details, which made it such a unique and inspiring place to stay. From the carefully chosen soap, to the local "Rainwater" in your room, to the locally roasted coffee waiting for you in the lobby each morning. The service was perfect - they were there for you when you needed them but not in your face - just like the entire experience.

While the hotel was close to downtown, once inside you felt like you were in a hidden sanctuary with a very authentic vibe that embraces the SoCo area. The location was perfect. We were their for the interactive portion of SxSW and downtown was getting busy - staying on S. Congress allowed us to get away from the crowds and experience the real Austin. There are lots of unique shops and restaurants all within walking distance of the hotel.

Hotel San Jose is luxurious without being pretentious and understated without being cheap. It was one of the best hotel experiences we've had and we will definitely be back!

Stayed March 2009, travelled on business
Helpful?
3 Thank kmackdeuber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, CO
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2009

Stayed March 1, 2009 with 2 adults and our dog. Rooms are modern and stark, but still pleasant. Poolside wine and snacks with hipsters gave a real impression of Austin's young scene.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tovan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alberta
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2009

Fantastic pick for the location if you want to go out on the town and also shop the trendy shops. It was a little noisy so when you book ask for a suite not facing the main road. Woke me up a bit at night but overall great place!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TravellingCanucks2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel San Jose

Property: Hotel San Jose
Address: 1316 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704-2433
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Texas > Austin
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#20 Romantic Hotel in Austin
#54 Business Hotel in Austin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel San Jose 2.5*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel San Jose is located on South Congress Avenue, a few blocks south of where the Colorado River runs through downtown Austin. Originally built in 1939 as an "ultramodern motor court," the San Jose has since been transformed into a secluded urban bungalow-style hotel in the heart of one of the city's most beloved neighborhoods. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
San Jose Austin
Hotel San Jose Austin, Texas
San Jose Hotel Austin

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