Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

A weird - and affordable - place to stay in Austin

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Austin has its share of "nice" hotels. The Four Seasons. The historic Driskill.

But this is a city that celebrates uniqueness and quirkiness, so why not stay in a hotel -- make that motel -- that embodies the Texas captial's independent, funky spirit? If that's what you're after, there's only one place to stay: the Austin Motel.

Each of the 41 rooms -- which start as low as $100 a night, tax included -- is done up in an unusual way. Nothing fancy, just unusual. Like murals of the Great Wall of China or polka dot themes. I stayed in a room meant to resemble an African safari. Cheesy? It would be if the hotel were trying for authenticity. It's clear the owners are just having fun.

The Austin Motel turns 70 years old this year. It's been owned and operated by the same family since 1938. That itself is pretty weird in the hotel industry.

One of the first things you'll notice about this hotel is its ridiculously phallic sign. The next thing you may spot is the 50s-era pool which is a welcome touch during hot Texas summers.

Arguably the best thing about the Austin Motel is its primo location on South Congress Avenue. You're stumbling distance from one of the city's best music venues, the Continental Club. You're a short walk to some of Austin's best restaurants (and the over-rated Guero's taco house) and shops. And you're very close to the uber-hip Jo's coffeeshop and Amy's ice cream parlor.

So check in and check it out next time you're in Austin...

(512) 441-1157 or

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as a transplanted chicagoan now residing in Austin....thanks and I will have to check out the pizza place too.

enjoyed your austin article. wanted to make you aware of a couple of austin pizza places owned by chicagoans. we opened southside flying pizza (2206 s congress) about 18 months ago and lakeside pizza (2900 quinlan rd steiner ranch) about 6 months ago. both are doing quite well. thanks! andy rubin

Austin is the most progressive city in Texas. It appreciates the arts and likes to be trendy for all the good reasons. Vegetarians can thrive in Austin because many eateries have cruelty-free meatless cuisine. The music scene is great and guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson is one of the many musicians who resides in Austin. Many cerebral people are allured by Austin.

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on March 5, 2008 4:08 AM.

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