Travel To Do: The Live Music Hotel of the World?

A sneak peek at Austin’s newest hotel.

When we say Austin, you say what? No, that’s not a cheer, it’s a somewhat rhetorical actual question. What do you think of when someone says “Austin”?

Austin Powers via @TravelLatte. Yeah, Baby!

Okay, no. Bad British super spies are not what we had in mind. (Austin Powers ©New Line Cinema)

Austin Texas is home to a lot of things: the nation’s best barbeque joint (Franklins), the University of Texas, thousands of bats, the Texas State Capital, the venerable music festival Austin City Limits, and the one-time alternative music festival SXSW. The city has been home to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, Eric Johnson, Spoon, Nelly…well, far too many superstar musicians to mention here. Somewhat deservedly, the city calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World.

With that heritage in the city, it makes sense that a hotel company known for echoing the cultural vibe of its host city – say, Kimpton, for example – would open a music-centric hotel in Austin. That’s exactly what happened at the Hotel Van Zandt, Kimpton’s first property in the Texas Capital. Unfortunately, our travel plans don’t take us to Austin anytime soon, but take a sneak peek and you’ll see why we can’t wait to check in!

Austin Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World, via @TravelLatte

Designer Mark Zeff (who’s also done work for Hilton, IHG, Virgin, and other Kimptons) says it’s a hotel for cultural tastemakers and world explorers, with a focus on authenticity and the spirit of travel. At the same time, it’s on the leading edge of technology: it’s the first hotel in Austin to offer a fiber Internet connection, which translates to fast, free Wi-Fi in every room, along with Bluetooth speakers so you can stream your fave Spotify playlists to your heart’s content. There’s also a yoga mat in each of the 360 rooms and suites, because you really should warm up before your air band rock outs.

The focus on music goes much further, with an in-house music curator creating custom mixes for each area of the hotel, from the lobby to the restaurant to the pool bar. They go so far as to pipe music into the pool (yes, underwater), and have different playlists for each elevator! That attention to detail extends to the décor, with vintage turntables and gramophones, cool music based artwork, and beautiful mid-century modern furniture against wallpaper with maps of old Austin.

Feeding both body and soul is Geraldine’s, serving up Texas-inspired cuisine and crafted cocktails. For dessert, Geraldine’s serves up live entertainment seven nights a week. After all, this is Austin. The Van Zandt also includes a daily lobby social hour, a hosted evening wine hour, and a relaxing café. Plus, the hotel is pet friendly, so Fido can rock out right along with you.

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We mentioned the in-room yoga mats, but fitness and convenience go much further. There is the requisite fitness center, plus a rooftop pool with great views over Austin. When you’re ready to venture out, much of Austin’s highlights are within walking distance, or an easy ride away on Kimpton’s custom-designed PUBLIC bicycles. When you’re ready to really relax, they also offer in-room spa services. You heard right: Room service meets spa. Yes.

The Hotel Van Zandt is in the hip and historic Rainey Street Historic District, which seems apropos to the hotel’s nod to Texas history. It’s named for Isaac Van Zandt, who served in the Republic of Texas’ House of Representatives, and then as the Republic’s Charge d’Affaires in Washington. Isaac’s great-grandson Townes Van Zandt was a noted singer-songwriter, and his son JT created original artwork on display in the hotel.

It’s a particular brand cool that you find all over Texas, and particularly in Austin: The confluence of music, history, modern and chic. We’d love to hear your impression of the Hotel Van Zandt, especially if you’ve had a chance to stay at the new hotel. Share your thoughts with a Comment below!

Though the hotel has been working out the kinks since late 2015, they currently have a “Sneak Peek Opening Offer,” saving you 25% off one night, or 30% off two for select dates in February.

Unless otherwise noted, photos by Hotel Van Zandt, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

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12 comments on “Travel To Do: The Live Music Hotel of the World?

    • It does look fantastic, doesn’t it? We have stopped by, and it really is as cool as it looks! Haven’t stayed there yet, but we’re really looking forward to it. Thank for stopping by, Stephanie!

  1. The place looks great. I haven’t visited Austin yet but have wanted to check out the city for a while now. I also love funky hotels that stand out from the crowd. Will have to check this place out!

    • Hi Barry, thanks for your comment! We have not stayed at the Van Zandt yet, but we swung by to check it out and…wow. If they’d let me live in the lobby, I’d probably be happy. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to check in soon!

    • Hi Shruti! Austin in generally has a really cool vibe, heavily influenced by music and the outdoors. The Van Zant really fits the neighborhood, which is something Kimpton is really good at doing. You’ll have to let us know what you think when you get a chance to check in! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Austin Powers? You’re a riot, Rob. 🙂 No, seriously, I had no idea that Austin might be considered the live music capital of the world. It has a cool vibe, though, and this hotel sure shows it. I’ve never experienced a Kimpton property yet so this would be a fun one to try.

    • Oooh yeah, Linda Baybeee… (Works better if you can imagine Austin Powers’ voice 😉 Austin apparently has more live music clubs than any other city, at least in America. I’d think Nashville would take the crown, but no.

      I’ve stayed at a couple of Kimptons – I loved the Hotel Palomar in Phoenix, with lots of wood and a big turquoise fireplace. The Donovan in Washington DC is cool and very modern. In fact, they use a lot of Mid-Century and Modern furnishings, which I love. More importantly, the service is top notch – very professional yet friendly, and very attentive. You can browse their properties at

      I think it was your question on Kimptons that I was working on when we hit a bug and lost the comments. Sorry about that, but thanks for coming back!

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