One of the perks of my work is that I get to stay in some incredible hotels.
Recently I was attending the International City/County Managers Association in Austin, Texas and was booked into the Driskill Hotel. The reason that I got into the Driskill was that I had not planned on going to Austin for the conference and by the time I made up my mind, most of the other hotels were already booked up.
The travel coordinator for my client, HdL Companies, said that they had one room left in the Driskill and she booked me there. Usually that means that you would be staying at a so-so hotel or one that was miles away from the conference center.
When I landed in Austin, I took an Uber and gave them the address of the hotel and I had no idea what I would pull up to or how close it would be to the conference center. As we approached the
Driskill, I got my first view of this very impressive building. It’s over 137 years old and is one of the iconic hotels in Austin.
The Uber driver let me off in front and I took my bags and walked into the front door of the hotel. The entrance takes your breath away as you see an impressive row of marble pillars highlighting the entrance. The hallways were all made of marble and a large stained-glass dome is above you as you check in. The young lady said, “Welcome to the Driskill; have you ever stayed here before?” I told her no, and was looking forward to my visit. She was telling me about the amenities at the hotel and pointed out the health club, the restaurants, and the café.
As I made my way to the elevator, it was surprisingly small, and reminded me of hotels that I had stayed in Europe. I press my floor, and when I arrived on the fifth floor, which was the top floor of the hotel, I stepped out and it felt like I was stepping back in history. It reminded me of a museum, with works of art, lining the hallways.
When I went in the room, it was actually a king-sized suite and there was an outer room, which had a desk and a sofa, and I looked up in the ceiling that was probably 20 feet high. I entered the bedroom, and it was stunning. The bed, the furnishings, all the accessories seemed like works of art. I set my bags down and looked around and was fully impressed by the beauty of this hotel room. Each morning, I would go down to the coffee shop and bakery and it was like coming out of a movie in the 1920s or 30s. The café had fresh pastries and hot coffee and was delicious. It reminded me of a Paris café, and I sat back and took in the atmosphere. The service was very good, and the waitresses would come over and were friendly and outgoing. On the first evening when I returned to the hotel, after a long day at the conference center I decided to just sit in one of the plush chairs in the lobby and watch the people coming and going. Although it was a short stay, I made a mental note that I wanted to come back to this impressive hotel and bring my wife along to enjoy a long weekend. If you are ever in Austin, Texas, the Driskill is worth a visit to see what life was like many years ago.