Hotel ZaZa has fast become one of Texas’ premier boutique hotels, with outposts in the state’s larger cities of Dallas, Houston and Austin. Famed for daring décor and upscale amenities, the hotel has won over the state, but can it win over the world? I checked in to the sparkling Austin edition to find out.
Hotel ZaZa Austin can be found in the heart of downtown in the Warehouse District, where all the top restaurants, boutiques and entertainment venues lie. It combines big city sophistication with authentic Texas style across its social spaces and accommodations. That is evident from floor to ceiling when you enter the lobby, which is adorned with a mix of textures: rustic country brick walls dance with iconic art pieces referenced to pop culture through history.
There are 159 guest rooms, including the Magnificent Seven suites and the Concept Suites. Amenities include a ground-level lounge, a seventh-floor bar and restaurant with live music, a pool and Cabana Bar with panoramic city views, spa and fitness centre, and 8,500 square feet of meeting, pre-function and event spaces.
I checked into one of the luxurious Magnificent Seven suites on the 12th floor. It’s a bit like being on one of the very exclusive Ritz-Carlton Club Floors – which only club guests have access to. However, what sets Hotel ZaZa apart in comparison is that it provides a modern spin. The corridor alone is an art gallery, full of old-time quirk played off modern celebrity portraits (consciously arranged – Brad faces Angelina off centre, and Oprah welcomes you when you get off the elevator).
Each of the Magnificent Seven suites has its own distinct personality. You can return seven times and have a truly unique experience every time. There’s The Loft with its urban chic and classic design, The Orient Express with rich woods, brass accents and intimate lighting to evoke a luxury train car, and Bungalow 6, a groovy, retro-modern suite reminiscent of Palm Springs.
I went full Texan and reserved The Hill Country suite, which is inspired by the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country alongside authentic Texas touches.
Let’s start with the kitchen and lounge area where the feel was rustic, yet modern and sleek. The kitchen featured a stylish dining set, full mini bar, countertops, microwave and separate bathroom. The lounge area had a huge flat screen TV, with big comfy sofas and accent pillows to watch it from. Outside, a balcony overlooked a park down below and the pool area. It felt much bigger than what I had seen in the photos. I loved the character of the suite; full of Southern charm, and you get that Texan Hill Country feel without needing to head outside.
I needed to ring down to get a kettle and tea sent up. With the exception of the North East, hot tea isn’t as big a deal in America (they seem to be more coffee or iced tea inclined), so generally you need to put in the request for a kettle. The Hotel ZaZa concierge team were more than happy to send this up right away, along with a pretty tray of tea bags.
On to the next half of the suite; the bed and bathroom. You have here a huge King bedroom with Simmons pillow top mattress, another massive flat screen TV, air purifier and ample closet space. The bedroom had a slightly more contemporary feel than the lounge, though there were nice vintage touches including a worn leather couch next to the second balcony.
The en-suite bathroom was gorgeous, with a massive deep soak bathtub, double vanity, large shower and Bigelow Chemists products.
In terms of service; hats off to housekeeping for an attentive turn down. I had only left the room briefly to grab a bite to eat downstairs and when I’d returned, the room was night-lit, candle-lit, and chocolate-treat ready. The candles were perfect company for my pre-bedtime soak ritual. Bliss.
Whilst close to a plethora of restaurants and bars, Group Therapy, is the on-site full service restaurant and bar.
I opted for a quick bite at Group Therapy and found the atmosphere to be wonderfully relaxed. Sports played from the bar, the windows looked out on the pool, and the crowd was smart chic. It’s completely acceptable to don your jeans and a t-shirt here.
Signature dishes include sesame crusted ahi tuna, crispy buttermilk chicken, General Tso’s veggies and redfish amandine. I went for the impossible cheeseburger, a meat free alternative to beef, which actually tasted just like beef. If you haven’t given the impossible ‘meats’ a try, I highly recommend it. General Tso’s veggies were good too, however at the time of visit, the team were experimenting with the flavours, and the recipe would likely be amended for future diners.
Group Therapy also includes Stage Fright, a library-styled room with an ornate marble fireplace and theatrical vibe that overlooks the lounge; perfect for private parties, rehearsal dinners, and the like.
ZaSpa Austin on the ground floor is a little oasis of calm that is hard to believe is right in busy downtown Austin. The menu of services consists of a comprehensive selection of original treatments, which infuse pleasure and relaxation. Choose from a combination of skin care treatments, massages or body treatments.
As I’d had a late night prior, I went in for The Morning After Scrub and Wrap. It is designed to purge last night’s party with a sea salt scrub, detoxifying seaweed wrap and full body massage. I was led into a lovely private room, where my therapist, Lisa, began with the scrub and wrap service, though sticky it felt highly body-nutritious, and then the full body massage was so divine I fell asleep. I definitely woke up refreshed.
Overall, the treatments are spot on, there was a great selection available and the one I had chosen absolutely did the trick in ridding the toxins and rejuvenating for a new day in the big city.
For those who don’t book a spa treatment, the pool on the seventh floor is another great spot for some calming water and relaxation during the day. In the evening it becomes a nice little pool side nightlife spot, very LA, with music, cocktails and cityscape views.
You’re close to all the action here – museums, entertainment, restaurants, festivals and Lady Bird Lake. ‘Keep Austin Weird’ is a famous local slogan and in line with that, I recommend visiting the Museum of the Weird on Sixth Street. It features curiosities like that of an old dime museum (think The Greatest Showman).
Other places of interest include the Blanton Museum of Art, Bullock Texas State History Museum and Texas State Capitol, and fingers crossed for 2021’s South by Southwest Conference and Music Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival and Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.
In terms of shopping, the boutiques, markets and malls are dotted with home grown brands for those wanting to support local. Austin-based clothing line Texas Standard is a favourite to sport around the city – in particular their Tejas Guayaberas, a take on the popular south-of-the-border summer shirt of champions, the guayabera.
Getting there: Hotel ZaZa is approximately a 20-minute cab ride from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Address: 400 Lavaca Street, Austin, Texas 78701, USA
Phone: +1 512 542 9292
Images courtesy of Hotel ZaZa Austin and Texas Standard