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The Driskill Hotel

4.7 914 votes

604 Brazos Street


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Angela Hall Last updated on Jun 24, 2022 by

Why we love The Driskill Hotel...  Because its historic old-west charm and sparkling beauty are truly one of a kind. Whether we’re staying at the hotel, (I’ve only done so once for a special occasion), having a breakfast meeting in the gorgeous 1886 Cafe & Bakery downstairs, or enjoying a drink in the lavish lounge bar, being inside the Driskill just feels fancy! 

When I step inside the Driskill from Brazos Street (originally the men’s entrance where cigar smoke and “rough talk” were kept separate from the ladies), I am never disappointed. Whether in the heat of summer when the woosh of AC and tinkling of ice in glasses welcomes you like a glorious 6th Street desert mirage, or anytime during the holiday season with its giant Christmas tree and twinkling surfaces everywhere, Driskill always manages to make grandeur feel welcoming.

With so much history, the Driskill has taken on a culture of its own with stories of suicide brides and hauntings by its many inhabitants, especially founder Colonel Jesse Driskill. While I can’t personally attest to any big spookies, the museum quality artwork including massive portrait of Driskill watching us from over the lobby stairwell and “Mona-Lisa eyes” seemingly following me flirtatiously at the hotel’s entrance, there’s definitely an eerie feeling inside those historic walls.

Being at the Driskill just feels like you’re part of something special. The hotel is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, and while there’s so much Texas history to explore, I won’t go too deep as Wikipedia does a fine job of providing more detail.

To highlight, The Driskill is the oldest hotel in Austin, built by wealthy cattle baron Colonel Driskill in 1886 when he spent his fortune constructing "the finest hotel south of St. Louis.” It was the pinnacle of luxury at the time and is certainly no slouch by today’s standards either. With 189 guestrooms, two restaurants, grand ballroom, 14 unique suites, and downtown views nestled in Austin’s infamous historic 6th Street entertainment district, the hotel is not lacking in pizazz. 

One drawback, especially in the heat of Austin summer, there’s no swimming pool. But there is a small fitness center and they happily welcomed my dog with a big plush bed and food and water bowls of his own, so I won’t spend too much time lamenting the lack of pool.

The entire hotel is ensconced in antique or antique-replica design that matches the glitz and glamour of its original hayday. Everything feels shiny and unworn in a style that I would describe as a glammed up version of “old-timey.” Such a design could come off as cheesy, but the authentic historic roots and careful thought that has gone into The Driskill ambience for nearly a century and a half make it nothing short of magical. Like Deadwood on steroids. Or at least, Deadwood if HBO could’ve afforded to give us more than three seasons.

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