The Heywood Hotel is Austin’s hippest boutique hotel. Set in a burgeoning section of East Austin, it offers one of my favorite stays. This modern but warm hotel, completed in 2011, started off as a 1920s bungalow. After being gutted and expanded, the hotel is an entirely new space, with just seven sparse and spacious rooms. Each one has a private bath with shower, and some have luxury tubs. Several rooms feature high ceilings and skylights, and all showcase clean, mid-century-inspired design. Locally designed textiles were recently added, and the private patios were primped with ivy and twinkling lights. With a quiet upstairs courtyard, front porch, and patio, you’ll easily fall into the groove of this calm, casual, and comfortable space. The Heywood is all about the East Austin vibe, with great proximity to the neighborhood's food trailers, eclectic restaurants, and family homes. Free off-street parking, Wi-Fi, and bicycles are great for traveler budgets. The Heywood’s staff is an excellent source of information on where to drink and dine in Austin, and is quick to hand out free maps of the neighborhood. The desk staff is only on property from 7am to 7pm, so you’re on your own at night. Maybe that’s why the Heywood makes you feel like you’re actually living here, enjoying the laid-back Austin life you've heard about and hoped to experience. Cyclists, be sure to take part in the fun bike-oriented scavenger hunt developed to help guests get to know the neighborhood. The hotel is only a few blocks from Rainey Street and the bike trails of Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake). The Heywood offers a good value for your travel dollar if an off-the-beaten-path little hotel suits your style. It was named to Condé Nast Traveler's Best New Hotels Hot List in 2013, the only hotel in Texas to make the cut.
- Janis Turk