by Stephen Jermanok
After spending the day with the family at the Austin Zoo or aboard the Bertram Flyer, a historic train ride through Texas Hill Country, you’ll be happy to head back to the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. Enter the lobby, decorated in an inviting Southwestern motif, and walk straight to the balcony of the restaurant, Trio. The view overlooking Lady Bird Lake and the exquisite grounds, dotted with cacti, tall trees and wildflowers, are why this Four Seasons is such a treasured urban oasis. Unlike other hotels in Austin, which cater primarily to business travelers and look like any other city hotel, this Four Seasons has the true feel of a vacation property. The Four Seasons is only a 10-minute walk to the Austin Children’s Museum and the Botanical Gardens, and an easy drive to other sites in the city, such as the Austin Zoo.
The hotel goes overboard to make children feel welcome, too. At the front desk, kids can choose from a number of board games, books and DVDs. In the room, there are kid-sized robes and treats, such as cookies and milk, delivered each night. Parents will be happy the lodging also offers cribs, playpens, high chairs and strollers.
The highlight for all, especially after a day of seeing the sights, is a chance to swim in the outdoor heated pool. Feeling parched from the Texas heat? Don’t worry — this is the Four Seasons. A waiter will arrive to bring you a strawberry smoothie in no time.
Our Editor Loves
- Heated outdoor pool
- Kids scavenger hunt
- Children's menus at Trio restaurant
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel's 291 rooms span nine floors and feature a variety of configurations.
Many families simply combine two adjoining Lake View Rooms. As the name implies, all of these rooms overlook Lady Bird Lake. All rooms have a king-sized bed or two double beds, a bathroom with L'Occitane body lotion and shampoo, a flat-screen TV with a DVD player, ample closet space, thick terry bathrobes, an iPod dock, hairdryer and mini-bar. Room service is also available 24 hours a day. Complimentary newspapers arrive on your doorstep each morning and Wi-Fi is easily accessible in your room.
The City View Rooms are similar in size to the Lake View Rooms, but overlook the city and are cheaper. There is a chance to get both the Lake View Rooms and City View Rooms with a balcony.
If you're looking for more space, consider one of the 28 suites. The nine one-bedroom Lake View Suites feature a master bedroom, full living room with a sleeper sofa and two full bathrooms. Also found in the room is a Bose stereo system and step-out balcony. The 16 City View Executive Suites are slightly smaller than the Lake View Suites, with only one full bathroom and city views instead of lake views. The seventh-floor Governor's Suite is the only room in the hotel that offers balconies off both the large living room and bedroom. Expect to find a dining room table for six and separate pantry, too.
I cannot say enough about how wonderful the staff at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin is. We had a very small intimate wedding on Halloween and everything was just amazing. Beautiful room, wonderful dinner. Mauricette Rodriguez and all the staff helped us put together an unforgettable evening:)
The team at this hotel is awesome. Even when you check in after mid night everyone is smiling and making you feel like you are at home. We have stayed multiple times here and always have a great experience. It is a must stay for a great weekend.
The outdoor pool is heated to 82 degrees every day, so it's perfect for a dip in spring and fall, as well as summer. Waiter service brings kid-friendly snacks like slushies and frozen fruit skewers. At night, you can have S'mores while overlooking the lake. Head to the spa if you need a swimming noodle, a ball or diving rings.
Another highlight of the hotel is its scavenger hunt for kids. Grab a task sheet from the concierge and then follow the clues throughout the property while learning fun facts about the city of Austin. Once complete, present the finished form to the front desk and earn a treat.
Hike and Bike
Located directly behind the property, the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail is an 11-mile ride along the shores of Lady Bird Lake. You can rent bikes or kayak on the placid waters. Be sure to visit Congress Bridge, home to thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats. Watch from the shores as the bats swoop out from under the bridge.
The hotel's restaurant, Trio, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A kids menu is available for all three meals. At breakfast, children can opt for silver dollar pancakes, with or without chocolate chips, French toast sticks dipped in pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, oatmeal, and Cheerios. For lunch or dinner, kids have a variety of options including cheeseburgers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken tenders, spaghetti, fish and steak. A jumbo cookie and ice cream float are two of the dessert choices.
Parents at breakfast can choose from a long list of omelets, Belgian waffles, egg white frittatas, and, this being Texas, huevos rancheros. Lunch features soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees like grilled snapper or shrimp. At dinner, expect appetizers of Texas quail or tuna tartare. Main dishes include smoked ribeye, rack of lamb or grouper.
Trio is also known for its gluttonous Sunday brunch, featuring made-to-order omelets and eggs benedict, a whole table of breakfast meats, French toast, pancakes, assorted pastries, fruit, yogurt, sushi, ahi tuna, smoked salmon, fried chicken and waffles, mimosas, and more.
If the weather is nice, be sure to ask for a table on the patio overlooking the water.
The hotel's Lobby Lounge, also known as "Austin's Living Room," offers light fare like sandwiches, salads, and pizzas, along with tea or wine by the glass. Live music is featured Wednesday through Saturday nights.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The concierge has sample printed itineraries for families, with many recommended sights and restaurants. Be sure to ask for one. They can also help with bike and kayak rentals if you want to take advantage of the locale.
Austin is the home of the University of Texas. When the Longhorns play home football games, free pony rides are offered to children on the grounds.
Children 12 and older are welcome to use the fitness facility located near the shores of the lake. Elliptical machines, treadmills, stationary bikes and a vast amount of free weights are available. Afterwards, relax in the eucalyptus steam room.
Hotel policy allows pets to stay, if fewer than 25 pounds.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access can be found throughout the hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
Even during Austin City Limits, the city's popular three-day music festival in October, the Four Seasons doesn't feel crowded. Autumn and spring (the later when the music and film festival, South by Southwest, swings into town) are a perfect time of year to visit Austin. The temperature is not quite as sweltering as summertime during the shoulder seasons.
The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is less than 30 minutes away from this hotel.
Many area attractions are within walking distance to the Four Seasons.
For Mom and Dad
Don't hesitate to occupy one of the eight treatment rooms in the spa to try the signature Lavender-Lemongrass Journey. Texas Hill Country lavender and fragrant local lemongrass are used in this spa service, a combination of exfoliation, a hydration wrap and a full body massage. Massages, facials and mani-pedis for mothers and daughters are offered at the spa, too. Visit during Spa Happy Hour, from 4 to 8 p.m., and you'll receive a discount on your service.