Going to make a visit to Texas? If you are in the Austin area and want to stay in style in a historic downtown hotel that is rich in history, try the Driskill Hotel on for size.
This elegant hotel opened its doors in 1886 and is the oldest hotel in the city. It was built by a wealthy cattleman by the name of Col Jesse Driskill, who according to legend, lost the hotel to his brother-in-law in 1888 in a high stakes game of poker. Since then, the hotel has seen many hard economic times with 14 owners, countless renovations and was barely saved from demolition in 1969. Now it is successfully owned and operated by the Hyatt.
The 4-story 189 room Romanesque style hotel stands on the corners of 6th and Brazos taking up an impressive 1/2 a block. It is very rich in history and with its lavish and timeless charm is known as one of the top premier hotels across Texas.
As you make your way inside you will immediately see why it's on the top of Texas' list of stays. The lobby's entrance is lined with stately columns. The massive modern/classic chandeliers are framed by rich wood stains and ceiling artwork, casting the perfect light on the marble floors that gleam in all their glory. The entryway leads on to an amazing stained-glass dome which shines its light on the grand staircase. From here, Col Driskill watches over his hotel and all the guests from a close to life-size portrait at the top of the staircase.
The hotel has three options for dining and there is something for everyone. The 1886 Cafe and Bakery is Zagat rated and has a menu of down-home comfort foods and fresh, mouthwatering baked goods.
The Driskill Grill, one of Austin's top restaurants, is an elegant dining experience with daily menu changes and ranges from 5 to 7 course meals. It boasts as a favorite for former President Lyndon Johnson.
My favorite of the three dining options is the Driskill Bar. It takes you back in time with its many cozy sitting areas all adorned with rich dark woods, leather and cow hide sofas and chairs and authentic Western art pieces. I could just imagine the locals sitting around in this bar telling stories of their weeks on the ranch as they cool off with a drink. The bar serves signature cocktails, unique appetizers and meals with a Southwestern fare. Topped off with live music: jazz, folk and country just to name a few. This bar is a local favorite.
One of my favorite pieces of artwork is right in the middle of the bar's lounge area. A beautiful stained glass atrium towers above a large bronze sculpture of a runaway horse called "The Widow Maker."
Believe in the supernatural? Do you dare to stay in room 525? Beware! There is much talk that the hotel is a busy hub for spirits, so be sure to ask for a copy of the hotel's ghost stories when you check in. Learn about the haunts of Col Driskill, two brides and a young girl. Want more ghost haunt adventures while in Texas? Check out my other post: Texas' Capital Hill: An Architectural Dream.
This classic hotel's beauty is a show stopper. With a timeless elegance seen throughout it is a must see when you're the visiting the area.
For more of Austin's sites, you can take a look at Hamilton Pool Preserve: Austin's Geological Wonder and HOPE is Alive and Well in Austin!.
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