In this day and age, a hotel could have extraordinary hospitality, top-of-the-line bedding and incredible food from world-renowned chefs, but what will make it achieve social media fame is an Instagrammable setting. It’s no secret that visual appeal can make or break a place in this era of instant sharing. And in Austin, there is no shortage of hotel eye candy around town, with these six properties taking the lead.
Hotel Saint Cecilia
If you’ve been to an event at Hotel Saint Cecilia, you’ve likely taken an irresistible photo of glowing neon letters by the pool spelling out the word “soul.” In fact, that just might be the most frequently Instagrammed scene in Austin. But that’s only the beginning of the design envy you’ll feel at this 14-room luxury haven tucked away on a side street off bustling South Congress Avenue.
Boho-chic suites and poolside bungalows feature aesthetically pleasing details such as an upright piano with sheepskin-covered bench seating, technicolor walls, modern screen prints juxtaposed with black-and-white photos and a mélange of unique furniture, both vintage and modern. Bonus points for snapping a selfie in one of the signature serape bathrobes.
Archer Hotel Austin
You’ll find an Instagram goldmine at this hip Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel in the Domain Northside shopping and entertainment district. The reception area greets you with a wall lined with vintage leather belts while a staircase sweeps past a scene of wild horses.
The second level looks down over the atrium and features cowhide chairs, a bright turquoise leather couch and “Hey baby, que pasó?” spelled out in neon letters (referencing a song by Tejano legends Texas Tornados).
This Austin-tacious theme continues throughout the property, from the Texas star painted on the bottom of the pool and cowboy rubber duckies in the tubs to the black-and-white photos of Austin musicians lining the halls. Tip: order the Texas-shaped waffle for a room service post that will make your followers hungry.
These playful touches are, of course, supplements to a luxurious design scheme highlighted by vintage chandeliers, private fireplaces and top-of-the-line amenities.
Hotel Van Zandt
Music lovers will feel right at home at Hotel Van Zandt, a boutique property just off downtown’s lively Rainey Street. The venue is named after Texas diplomat Isaac Van Zandt and his great-grandson, singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, who is memorialized throughout the hotel through various pieces of art.
An Instagrammable installation of bird-shaped vinyl — crafted from Van Zandt’s original LPs — flies from a vintage Victrola in the lobby lounge, where you are welcome to select and play records. Original artwork by Townes’ son JT — including a portrait of his dad — hangs on the second floor and trombone chandeliers carry on the melodic theme throughout the halls.
The hotel’s restaurant, Geraldine’s, features live music nearly every night of the week and an exceptional view of the city skyline, especially at sunset.
The stately façade of this mansion-turned-boutique-hotel, with its stone columns and beveled glass windows, begs for a stylish snap upon arrival. This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property features a captivating blend of Greek revival architecture, art deco design and contemporary art — most notably, the large marble sculptures on display throughout the property, including a larger-than-life Chanel purse at the entrance.
For a room with a view, request poolside accommodations overlooking the cabana-lined lap pool and garden courtyard. Or opt for the second-floor Mansion Petite suites, which feature French doors that open out onto a photogenic private veranda.
South Congress Hotel
New Waterloo, the same hospitality group behind Hotel Ella, is also responsible for the hip South Congress Hotel, a social media darling’s dream in every sense. In the lobby, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves display handmade pottery and a collection of art and design tomes. Potted tropical plants and succulents add a lushness to the space, which is bathed mostly in neutral earth tones with pops of fiery orange and cool blue.
The Craftsman-meets-Tropicália look continues into the rooms, where batik pillows, customized woodwork, bronze lighting fixtures, white subway tile and local artwork keep things stylishly casual.
Most accommodations look out onto the mid-century-inspired rooftop pool, which provides views of colorful South Congress Avenue below, the city skyline and the capitol building to the north.
Fairmont Hotel Austin
Following a $370 million build-out, Austin’s newest hotel just celebrated its grand opening in March. The 37-story glass tower is now the city’s second-tallest building.
The lobby lounge is bathed in natural shades reminiscent of Lady Bird Lake and the Greenbelt, and a massive live oak sparkles with green and blue twinkle lights. The floor, which is set with petrified wood tiles and hand-selected Italian marble, also begs for a quick photo.
A food-hall-inspired venture called Revue features a ceiling that mimics the sky and leads to the front-porch façade of Garrison, the hotel’s playful fine-dining concept where each table comes with an unmarked box centerpiece filled with surprise items and treats from the kitchen.
But for the real Instagram-worthy pièce de résistance, head to the seventh floor, where trendy bar Rules & Regs features 360-degree views of the city from an envy-inducing pool deck.