Hotel San Jose
What We Love
- Key location on South Congress Avenue, Austin’s hipster central
- Minimalist chic, eco-friendly design
- Fab courtyard bar scene in the Lounge
- Read more about what to see and do in Austin in our magazine section
What To Know
- The hotel is about 10 miles from Austin Bergstrom Airport. A cab will run $25-30 and take about 20 minutes
- No restaurant on site, but you can get room service breakfast or charge to your room at Jo’s coffee shop out front
- WiFi, coffee service, eclectic movie rentals and parking are free
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Hotel San Jose anchors the South Congress district, where hip bars, music venues, eclectic shops and the occasional food trailer make the scene. Its collection of ivy-covered buildings of plain concrete with Spanish-tiled roofs is connected by ponds, arbor-lined walkways and bathtub-sized aluminum planters filled with horsetail bamboo for an Asian-via-Mexico aesthetic. It all encircles a courtyard and bar.
Bed and Bath
Rooms are minimalist cool with a modern hacienda vibe. White walls, polished concrete floors and platform beds create a loftlike backdrop for a globetrotting mix of textiles–think Indian block-print pillows, vintage Turkish rugs and cowhide accents. The vibe continues in the bathrooms, with shower stalls of simple white subway tiles; the San Jose gets both eco and fashionista cred for the large-size bottles of Malin + Goetz bath products. Custom robes are kimono-style and echo Mexican serapes.
More than just a bar, the hotel’s Lounge in its central courtyard is a meeting place for visitors and locals alike; order the Michelada. There are Wednesday DJ nights and occasional events from tarot readings to jazz brunch, and overnight guests can partake of breakfast here – continental to eggs ranchero – or have it delivered to your room. Digging on the hotel’s design? You can take home a piece of it courtesy of the lobby’s small boutique.
In the Area
Steps away, South Congress Avenue is ground zero for people watching and boutique shopping: South Congress Café does nifty takes on locavore cooking, and Guero’s Taco Bar serves up old-school Tex-Mex to everyone from businessfolks to families. A short drive away, Uchi serves innovative sushi and Elizabeth Street Cafe serves as both a boulangerie and Vietnamese restaurant. Avoid the fratty masses spilling out of the massive bars on Sixth Street (nicknamed “Dirty Sixth”), in favor of a bar crawl through hip East Austin, from neo-speakeasy the East Side Showroom to hipster honkytonk The White Horse. Right across the street from the hotel is famed music venue the Continental Club. And it should be stamped in airline tickets that visitors must congregate at the South Congress Bridge for the nightly bat migration; just show up at sundown.
How to Get There
My husband and I were in Austin to see an act at the iconic Continental Club. Chose this hotel because it’s directly across the street from the CC. We were able to park in the hotel’s private lot avoiding the crazy angle parking you have to back into along South Congress. Definitely a boutique hotel - more hipster than luxurious, but we loved the garden feel of the grounds. Several upscale shops and eateries all within walking distance of the hotel. Private entrance to our ground floor room, so no going in and out of a lobby. Bed was very comfortable and room was spacious. Would definitely stay here again!
We stayed at the Hotel San Jose 20 years ago just after they opened. At the time, we felt the Hotel was edgy ( a former motel) but it fit right in with the emerging vibe of Austin as a hip center of music, food and the Texas tech centered life. Now, with prices rivaling full service hotels, I have to say I was terribly disappointed with our accommodations. The staff are responsible and courteous however our room was very small, actually cramped, with no closet or area to stow gear. The dull white walls reminded me of my old high school cafeteria. Can a place be simultaneously clean and gritty at the same time? Yes it can. A rolling door offers little bathroom privacy. Relentless traffic noise from busy South Congress penetrates the cinder block walls night and day. I have to say that if you plan to be out on the town all night listening to music this place is for you. If you plan to spend any time actually in the room, skip it.
First time visiting Austin and took a while to decide where to stay. Kept looking at hotels downtown, but Hotel San Jose kept catching my eye.
It truly felt like an escape from the bustle of South Congress. You walk within the vine lined paths and feel transported to another place.
Everyone who worked there were really nice and helpful. We had room 25 which is a great room tucked towards the back. I can see where some rooms may have more noise than others, but ours wasn’t bad at all.
Photos don’t do the pool area justice, yes it’s small, but it’s a cute little area with nice cushions on the benches. I’m sure the not so great weather helped, but the lounge area was never crazy busy. Also, the frose is delicious!
I loved the location. Some fun shops and restaurants on the street. Not to mention across the street from the legendary Continental Club and next door to Jos Coffee.
This is a very cool hotel if you want to lounge around the courtyard or pool and have a refreshing beverage and catch up with friends. The location (right on a loud four lane street), too much late night activity and badly insulated building does not lend itself to a quiet night's rest. The staff are delightful though, and tried to accomodate as best as possible.
Loved this hotel from the start! The grounds are beautiful, very quiet and serene and you feel surrounded by nature (Instagramers will love it!) The staff were first-rate and the rooms are funky and stylish -- everything you want in an Austin-based hotel. Location is perfect, close to everything and parking is provided. No complaints whatsoever!