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“Beautiful Old Grand Hotel”
Review of The Driskill

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The Driskill
Ranked #27 of 203 Hotels in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
54 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Beautiful Old Grand Hotel”
Reviewed 29 June 2013

The Driskill truly is a grand hotel in the late 19th century tradition. Built in the 1880s, this hotel was intended to be the most luxurious accommodation in the Austin area. Even if you don't stay here, it is worthwhile to go inside and look around. The lobby and mezzanine are breathtaking, from the enormous arched doorways to the marble columns to the stained glass skylights. Walking into the lobby each evening after dinner was like stepping back in time. I would immediately feel a sense of serenity and security. The chairs in the lobby are very comfortable as well, if you are inclined to just sit and drink it in.

My husband and I stayed here for two nights to celebrate his birthday. The elevator, which I realize is almost certainly not from 1886, looked as if it might date from the same time as the 1930 addition. The doors are brass with engraved designs, and above the doors on the lobby side is one of those floor indicators with the arrow that moves to show which floor the elevator is on. If you have ever seen a 1930s film depicting a scene in a hotel lobby, you know what I am talking about. Our room was on the 5th floor, the top level of the historic (1880s) section. The hallways in this section are unusually wide, a legacy of the late 19th c. fashion for hoopskirts. The decor of our room was elegant and tasteful, and the bed was very comfortable. The peephole in the door had one of those sliding covers over it which you now usually see only in old movies. The bathroom was beautifully updated with granite countertop and tub/shower enclosure and a lovely porcelain sink with a painted flower design. The light switches took a little time to figure out as there are so many. One of them controlled a very low-light setting which was perfect as a nightlight. I usually dread trips to a hotel bathroom in the middle of the night as I have to choose between fumbling around in the dark or having my eyes blinded by a too-bright light. Not here! Kudos to the Driskill for providing this small but much appreciated amenity. Colonel Driskill is said to have designed his hotel to be as fireproof as possible, and built it with 18" thick walls between the guestrooms and steel barriers between the floors. These design elements, intended to serve as fireproofing, also serve to make the hotel rooms QUIET. We slept very well both nights, and never heard a peep from any of our neighbors. We also heard no noise from the hallways in the morning, from the housekeeping staff or anyone else, so apparently the "Do Not Disturb" signs are taken seriously here, whereas in so many other establishments they are not.

The hallways of the fourth and fifth floors are more or less of an art gallery, and I spent a good deal of time just walking around looking at all the paintings. The supposedly haunted painting of the little girl holding the letter was just down the hall from our room, but I didn't experience anything odd while looking at it. (This painting is supposed to depict a little girl who died from a fall down the grand staircase while chasing after her ball, and her ghost is supposed to haunt the staircase.)

The grill was closed the two evenings we were there (Sunday and Monday) but we did eat lunch in the 1886 cafe on Monday, and I had breakfast there both mornings (my husband is a late riser). Everything we had was delicious. The cinnamon rolls are fantastic, and I highly recommend both the cheese soup (it does have a little kick to it, so beware if you don't like spicy food), and the chocolate cake, which is supposed to be an authentic recipe form 1886. If so, then all I can say is that they knew how to cook in those days, because the cake was superb! After dinner on Monday at a local Japanese restaurant, we came back to the cafe for some ice cream, which they make on the premises in their kitchen. It was also very good and fresh tasting.

The location is ideal if you want to explore downtown Austin. We spent Monday touring the Capitol grounds and ate both nights at downtown restaurants, and we walked everywhere. About the only thing lacking is that the Driskill has no pool, which is understandable for an 1886 property. Swimming pools just were not common in those days, and there is really no way to add one. I highly recommend the Driskill to anyone who wants a taste of history or just a beautiful, relaxing, luxurious environment.

Room Tip: Try to get a room in the historic section.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank GulfCoastGirl517
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura P, Public Relations Manager at The Driskill, responded to this review, 1 July 2013
GulfCoastGirl517, we're so pleased to have had the opportunity to host you here at The Driskill, and thank you so much for your time in reviewing your stay in such an in-depth manner! Should you be interested, we'd love to share a bit more regarding the history of the circa-1886 property, and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Driskill when you next return to Austin!
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (352)
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English first
Darien, Connecticut
Level Contributor
62 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2013

This hotel has everything going for it...great city, great location, great building, hard-working staff. However, our stay here was not a good experience. We booked a weekend while attending a terrific wedding in the terrific city of Austin. And I found myself dreading going back to the hotel.
The lobby smelled like mold, and filthy carpeting. Our room air conditioner and the room vents reeked of dust and filth. We were unable to open the window so we did without--our room was over 75 degrees F for the entire visit but enduring the heat was better than dealing with the smell. The room was tiny and furnished with huge furniture. There was nothing comfortable or hospitable about it.
However, the bed was well made and comfortable. The shower was nice. And the staff worked hard -- the place was clean and the breakfast good and the front desk responsive. But the maintenance men are obviously not showing up to work.
No spa or pool as far as I could tell.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rose C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura P, Public Relations Manager at The Driskill, responded to this review, 1 July 2013
Rose, thank you so much for your time and sharing your feedback on your stay. I do apologize for your stay falling short of expectations. As a historic property built in 1886, we do have a variety of room types and sizes -- (one of the quirks / charm of an evolving building!), and on your next stay, we'd be happy to find a room type that better serves your space requirements. Another facet of a historic hotel is near constant maintenance and cleaning - we do apologize for any missteps that you encountered, and will send our team to carefully inspect the A/C issues mentioned in the room you stayed in. We do hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to The Driskill to better present the legendary experience the hotel has come to be known for, and we will share your kind words regarding our front desk & breakfast with our staff as well.
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Maniago, Friuli, Italy
Level Contributor
207 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2013

We booked The Driskill because we wanted a central localtion in Austin but and hotel with a bit of local character, and this one has plenty. Entering The Driskill can leave one breathless, and not only for the powerful air conditioning. The lounge deserves a visit of itself with the marble floors, high ceiling, and past-times Texas decor. and you can climb a few steps to the bar for more.

Rooms, although featuring modern furnishing, are nevertheless large, well kept and equipped, and spotlessly clean. The bathroom is also quite big for a downtown hotel.

I strongly suggest having a drink at the bar on the mezzanine: the place is charming, the cocktails well made and there's live music most nights of the week. They also have a grill there, which we didn't test. It would actually have been a "crime" to stop most of the evening inside the hotel, as it's right on the 6th Street and you just have to walk a few meters to find hundreds of bars, restaurants and plenty of live music - there's no place like Austin for this.

Service is impeccable in all areas: from valet to reception to staff you can find around to ask anything you need.

The bakery does fine breakfasts, although they weren't included in the price of our room, and they have a (limited, actually) set of gluten free options.

The place is a pricey indeed (I think that's the only defect, actually), but it's worth a stay of at least a couple of nights.

Room Tip: I was i the tower (CityScape room), which has some decent views of downtown Austin, and the rooms we...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank lordarthas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
77 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2013

I'll start this review by saying that my last stay here before "The Takeover" was better, but I'm sure Hyatt is just working out the kinks.

We had a quick stopover in Austin last weekend and decided to spend it at The Driskill, Austin's most historic and central hotel, hands down. The staff was friendly as always, and I was thrilled at check-in to be placed in the original building and not the tower. The room was great, with high ceilings, comfy beds, tons of historic details and a large bathroom. The two stains on the duvet covers were a little disappointing considering the near $400 for the room however.

We had a lovely afternoon of drinks in the bar drinking delicious Sidecars and munching on delightful bar bites while the friendly staff entertained us and chatted about recent celebrity sightings in the hotel lobby. After a fabulous dinner at Uchiko, we actually came back to the bar for the live music and great people watching. This is a great spot in Austin, for sure. Such a great mix of people.

My only complaint aside from the stains on the bed is the overall upkeep of the hotel's public spaces. Since the two years I was here last, it's like no one polished any metal, cleaned carpets or painted badly scuffed walls and doors. The elevators and upstairs hallways were the worst offenders. It was like management's eyes stopped at the lobby and bar, and no one walked the rest of the place!

Room Tip: Stay in the main building for sure!
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank ittessot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
409 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2013

Good location near convention center. Beautiful lobby and mezzanine level. Reasonably nice and comfortable room in the "tower". Lots of history without being too dated. Good if looking for something different than the typical corporate hotel.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank sazeracker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura P, Public Relations Manager at The Driskill, responded to this review, 28 June 2013
We're so pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay with us here at The Driskill, and we're looking forward to welcoming you back on your next trip to Austin!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charleston, WV
Level Contributor
24 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2013

Stayed there for 4 days on a trip with Wife. Had Bed & Breakfast package which was pricey. The room was small, very small. The bed was nice and the bathroom was Ok. The AC unit could just not keep up with the 98 degree heat and the room was uncomfortable. The Bar was well equipped but thought it was in need of more light and better working TV's. The 1886 Grill was OK, not great but OK. The people there were all helpful and nice and the service was good. Next trip, we will probably go another route.

Room Tip: Bigger room
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Mike S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura P, Public Relations Manager at The Driskill, responded to this review, 24 June 2013
Mike, thank you for your time in sharing your feedback on your recent stay. We'll look into A/C difficulties in the room you stayed in, as well as any issues with televisions in The Driskill Bar. As a historic hotel, we do have varying types of room categories, and would be more than happy to assist on selecting a room best suited to your expectations in the future. We do hope to have a chance to again host you, and provide a memorable experience here at The Driskill.
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Sheffield
Level Contributor
67 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2013

my wife and i were travelling to austin for our honeymoon and we had 3 nights at the driskill, it is a very historic and elegant building. the rooms are not modern but are classy and well decorated. the beds in the standard city room were great. the hotel has recently been taken over by hyatt. the bar is very nice but the service was slow in the breakfast cafe. though we did have a great stay in austin. if you get chance you must try J Mueller BBQ on Pedernales and the bars on Rainey street its a great experience!! it does not have a swimming pool or spa but the location could not be better. east 6th is across the road but is very lively until late . the west side is better in our opinion. some great bars and places to eat.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank TaffsTours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura P, Public Relations Manager at The Driskill, responded to this review, 1 July 2013
TaffsTours, we're so pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay at The Driskill, here in the heart of downtown Austin. We look forward to welcoming y'all back to Texas again in the future!
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Additional Information about The Driskill

Property: The Driskill
Address: 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701-3212
Region: United States > Texas > Austin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Luxury Hotel in Austin
#17 Romantic Hotel in Austin
#25 Family Hotel in Austin
#35 Business Hotel in Austin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Driskill 4*
Number of rooms: 189
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to The Driskill Hotel. Built in 1886 as the showplace of a cattle baron, The Driskill remains a landmark of legendary Texas hospitality. Located on Sixth Street in the heart of downtown Austin, the luxurious, historic hotel is convenient to all that the city has to offer, including the Texas State Capitol, convention center, opera, symphony, fine dining, shopping, and Austin's 6th Street music scene. Known as the "Live Music Capital of the World,®" Austin is home to nearly 200 music venues, many within walking distance of The Driskill. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Driskill Hotel Austin
Driskill Hotel Austin
Driskill Austin
The Driskill Austin, Texas

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