Driving past downtown Austin last September my friend Nessie pointed out the beautiful JW Marriott to me. She said the hotel had just recently opened and that she wanted to stay there sometime. So instead of buying each other Christmas gifts this year we decided to do a girl’s weekend in January. We would relax at a spa, eat good food, go out downtown, and stay at the JW! She lives in Austin and it was the perfect distance for me, coming from San Antonio, for a short trip.
I have stayed at a few JW’s in the past so I knew the hotel would be luxurious, sophisticated and elegant with great service. But we were blown away by this one, starting with check-in when we were upgraded to a corner Executive Suite! When we opened the door we were greeted by this floor-to-ceiling window view of the downtown buildings and Lady Bird Lake.
It was almost sunset so we dropped our things off and headed down to the 5th floor. That’s where the rooftop pool is as well as extraordinary views of the city. I knew this would be the perfect time to snap some pictures!
Also on the 5th floor is the private Executive Lounge. Marriott reward Platinum and Gold members have access as well as hotel guests that pay an additional $60 per day. It felt like attending an exclusive party! They offer complimentary breakfast, appetizers and drinks as well as an honor bar for alcoholic beverages. We stocked up on drinks and headed back to our room.
We arrived to find this special surprise!
Speaking of the room, it was more like an apartment! The Executive Suites are twice the size of regular rooms and feature a separate seating area. The restroom was large and actually had two showers! The bed was very comfortable and was made up with their special Signature Marriott Revive bedding, which you can buy here. The Wi-Fi was free for both of us because I’m a rewards member. The decor was modern with Texas twists, like the Austin sign below, and artwork depicting local landmarks.
Before going out for the night we had fun taking pictures in the room with the downtown lights as our backdrop. Doesn’t Nessie look like Kourtney Kardashian?! We have so much fun together and I love that she’s always down for anything. Austin is our new playground and there’s just so much to explore!
For dinner we chose to eat at the JW’s Osteria Pronto. We invited 3 friends to join us and had a lovely Italian dinner and drinks. Our waiter was very friendly, as were all of the employees we encountered at the hotel. We tried a little of everything from the menu including the Caprese Salad, Wild Mushroom Pizza, Conchigliette Bolognese, Lasagna and Sausage Pizza. The Italian Smash drink with Limoncello took me right back to Capri. It was so good! Full and happy with our meals it was time to hit the town!
The W Hotel and Summit Rooftop Lounge were the perfect places to dance the night away. Both within close walking distance of the JW there was no need to drive. If you live in San Antonio it’s worth the trip to Austin just for their nightlife!
The next morning we asked for a late check-out at noon and they accommodated us. I couldn’t have been happier with how the weekend went! When the spa opens at the JW this fall I will surely be back. Maybe even sooner! Nessie and I both agree this is the perfect backdrop for a professional photo shoot and the pool will be calling my name this summer.
JW Marriott Austin Quick Facts:
- Located on Congress Ave. between 2nd and 3rd Street
- Austin’s largest hotel
- The largest JW Marriott in the U.S. The second largest in the world
- 1,012 guest rooms (including Three Presidential Suites, Three Hospitality Suites, 24 Executive Suites and Standard Luxury Guest Rooms)
- Opened February 12, 2015
- 34-story tower
- 120,000 square feet of meeting and event space
- 3 restaurants including Corner, Osteria Pronto and Burger Bar plus a Starbucks and lobby bar/lounge
- On-site parking
- Fitness Center
- Rooftop Pool
As I mentioned above, the JW’s spa hasn’t opened yet. Their concierge recommended a few options, and after reading great reviews, we chose Viva Day Spa on South Lamar Blvd. What a treat it was! The friendly receptionist, Emily, greeted us and took us back to their relaxation room. She made both of us a delicious hot tea with honey!
Then our Massage Therapists Jan and Margie came and got us for our 60-minute $95 Swedish Massages. Included was aromatherapy, a warm neck pillow and hot herbal steam towel treatment on neck & feet. The spa also gave us a free upgrade of magic mint foot reflexology.
I’m no stranger to massage. For health purposes I typically go about once a month. I have to say Jan is up there in my top 3 masseuses! Wow, was it relaxing. I was hoping Nessie’s was going as well and afterward she raved also. I was so happy to hear they are opening a new location at the Domain and Jan is moving there. I visit Nessie often and know I will become a regular.
On their website the owners say they founded the spa with “the idea that a first-class day spa could deliver the finest services for the mind, body and spirit in an environment that is warm, relaxing and-above all-unpretentious.” They have most certainly achieved their mission!
After the spa we were definitely hungry! I had seen Josephine House on another bloggers site and thought it looked so cute. We got there around 3:30, in between lunch and dinner, and had to choose from a small snack menu. We both ended up getting their burger. The aioli sauce, house-made bun and fries were delicious! So was the house-made cherry vanilla soda and iced minted green tea. For more selection, make sure to check their website for hours. It seems like it would be a great place for brunch!
1601 Waterston Ave, Austin, TX 78703
A highlight for me was Sunday brunch at Licha’s Cantina. We were both craving Mexican food and this hit the spot! Their chips and salsa were probably the best I’ve ever had and I enjoyed their Bloody Mary. We both ordered Chilaquiles for our meal. The owner, Daniel Brooks, named the restaurant after his mother. He was very attentive and friendly with his guests. We will be back for sure!
1306 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78702
Fun Stop: Before heading back to San Antonio I wanted to check out at the “Greetings From Austin” postcard mural at 1720 South 1st Street. We had a great time taking pictures in front of it!
Next time I visit I want to find this wall art:
Isn’t it cute?
2000 E. MLK Jr. Blvd
Other Popular Austin attractions:
- Texas State Capitol
- Lady Bird Lake
- The Blanton Museum of Art
- Austin Children’s Museum
- Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool
- South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival
- Austin City Limits Music Festival
- Bat Bridge
- Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
- Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum
- Long Center for the Performing Arts
- Frank Erwin Center
- The Domain
- Stubb’s BBQ
- University of Texas
- Nearly 200 live music venues
- Franklin Barbecue
- Lake Travis
- The Oasis
Living with Soul,