Hotel San Jose – Austin, Texas. Southern Comfort at Hotel San Jose.
If you’ve read Day One and Day Two of our adventures on the Texas BBQ trail, then you can understand why it was imperative that we had a comfortable place to rest our bodies due to savory BBQ. We came across a posting on the Hotel San Jose by Memphis-based photographer/designer Sophorn McRae of Norococo. Her photos not only convinced us that it would be a great place to stay but she also beautifully captured the mood we were looking for. We love the Ace Hotel in Portland and Palm Springs and it was an easy choice to go with the Hotel San Jose right in the SoCo (Southern Congress) district. We landed in Austin on Friday night at around 10 pm and grabbed a few drinks to try and enjoy somewhat of a Friday night. In a few hours (6 am), we would be driving to our first BBQ stop nearly 90 mins away. Shall we begin your visual stay at the Hotel San Jose?
The trend in boutique hotels is the revamping and renovation of old buildings or institutions into something inhabitable. Frankly, the more bizarre it is, the more hip it is. In Boston, the Liberty Hotel was one of Massachusetts most famous jails built in 1851 – the Charles Street Jail. In Portland, Oregon, the Kennedy School is an elementary school turn hotel with a bar inside called the Detention Room. The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs used to be an old Howard Johnson motel that underwent hipster-fication. The Viceroy Hotel in Los Angeles was once a Holiday Inn. Seems like the stale, average places provide the best canvases for interior design. The San Jose Hotel is no different, and in fact, I would almost describe it as the Ace of the South.
The Southern Congress area seems to be the main breeding ground for socialites from all walks of life – college grads, prowling cougars and music-goers. The Hotel San Jose is located right in the heart of the SoCo area and its surrounded by various bars, pizza joints, food trailers and novelty shops. We found everything we needed, minus the BBQ, by walking around. If renting a car isn’t a requirement, then you’ll be good hanging out in this area. Taxis run through Congress Avenue frequently.
The Hotel San Jose is beautifully designed with all remnants of the previous motel cloaked by tastefully chosen wood, sandy cement and various shrubbery. For the Texas feel, cactus are laid out all over the grounds. The parking lot is right next to the hotel for convenience with no parking structures.
On the right is the main office. Here you can grab some coffee in the morning, buy hip souvenirs, rent a Polaroid camera or bicycle by the hour/day.
The outside of our double room.
I believe there are two types of room here at the Hotel San Jose – doubles or suites. The two story buildings are the suites.
Contrary to the inviting pool at Ian Schrager’s Waikiki EDITION hotel, the pool seems more like a piece of ambiance – inviting guests to grab a beer and chill out. We were here in March and it wasn’t warm enough to make us jump in the pool. Still, the pool is designed beautifully.
The patio/courtyard area by the pool is also laid out nicely with plenty of tables and benches to enjoy your coffee and iPad.
On the weekends, the main office also becomes the lobby of the beer and wine bar (no hard liquor), with A DJ set up out on the patio.
The Hotel San Jose was a very peaceful and relaxing spot. I loved the close proximity to a good pizza shop (Home Slice), an excellent oyster bar (Perlas), good morning coffee (Jo’s) and various bars. If you’re in Austin for BBQ, SXSW or the Austin City Limits festival, definitely consider the Hotel San Jose if it’s not already booked. We were here the week of SXSW (South by Southwest) so it was a good opportunity to see Austin at one of its liveliest moments. Thanks for reading.
Hotel San Jose
1316 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704