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InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel – Austin, TX

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 by in All Posts, Hotels, Texas | 0 comments

InterContinental Stephen F. Austin
701 Congress Avenue • Austin, Texas 78701
Phone: (512) 457-8800 • Fax: (512) 721-4218
Toll Free: (888) IC HOTELS — Reservations
http://austin.intercontinental.com

The InterContinental Stephen F. Austin hotel is an excellent choice for a higher-end but comfortable stay downtown.  My friend Michelle picked us up and dropped us off at the hotel; she lives in Austin, so she can admittedly navigate the traffic well, but it wasn’t a terribly long ride from the airport.  I wanted to stay downtown since we weren’t planning to rent a car and I wasn’t sure how much of the time my friends would be available.  The hotel has stood four blocks from the Capitol at the corner of Seventh and Congress since 1924, having undergone changes of ownership and renovation over the years but retaining a historic feel.  It has been used by politicians such as Lyndon B. Johnson, who used it as his campaign headquarters for his House run in 1937, and George Bush, Sr., who reportedly set up an office in the presidential suite at one time.  Additionally, the hotel has been featured in films such as “Miss Congeniality” and “Machete”.  The Paramount theatre is next door and the nightlife of Sixth Street is only one block away, while conveniences such as a lovely coffee shop and a 7-11 right are just across Seventh street on Congress.

Exterior - Stephen F. Austin Hotel

Exterior – Stephen F. Austin Hotel

When I was younger, I had heard of the Stephen F (as it is known), but I thought of The Driskill as THE fancy hotel in downtown Austin.  I thought about staying there, just because we could.  While I’m sure one day I’ll be back to check it out, all things considered, I’m very pleased that we stayed at the Stephen F.  The staff was excellent; friendly and professional, to a person. The lobby was beautiful and welcoming.  The location was ideal.

Sculpture in center of lobby

Sculpture in center of lobby

Our room (Room 604, a King Deluxe) was perfectly comfortable, showcasing stylish touches along with modern amenities.  There was a large full-length mirror near the entrance, across from the closet, which held the safe, robe, slippers, and extra blankets.  The safe was large enough to stow a laptop, two iPads and a cell phone with plenty of room to spare.  There was a desk and desk chair, but also a generously-sized sitting area with a sofa, chair and ottoman.

Sitting Area - King Deluxe Room

Sitting Area – King Deluxe Room

Across from the sitting area was a large TV, the minibar and coffeemaker.  The minibar prices were surprisingly reasonable, and the small refrigerator did include an area for personal use, tiny though it was.

King-sized Bed

King-sized Bed

The king-sized bed was so comfy that I examined the mattress for future reference!  The side tables each had power outlets (as did the desk), along with wireless charging stations.  There was also a controller on one side table that could be used to turn off the lights or change the thermostat from bed.  The bathroom was quite roomy also, with shower/tub combination, sink and separate vanity area.  As a member of IHG rewards club, we received free WiFi, but otherwise there would have been a charge, so it’s worth joining the club.

Our windows did look out on a construction area across Seventh street.  If we had been there when construction was occurring, we may not have been as pleased, but we were there over a holiday weekend so we weren’t impacted.  I have no idea about the noise on a normal workday.  I might suggest you call and ask if you have concerns, because it definitely looks like construction could be going on there for a while.

The hotel has a nice fitness area, including a lap pool and hot tub, which we thought we would use but we sadly never had time!  We also didn’t use the valet parking, which is pricey ($38/night), but the staff seemed to quickly retrieve vehicles, from what I could tell.   We did use the business center to print our boarding passes free of charge, which was nice.

Stephen F's Bar

Stephen F’s Bar

We didn’t eat at the Roaring Fork onside restaurant, but we absolutely loved the bar.  It’s on the second floor, up the large stairs from the lobby, and has a terrace that wraps around for outdoor seating.  It had a laid-back feel, kind of soothing and relaxing. If we hadn’t been visiting friends, I think we would have been perfectly happy to while away an afternoon or more on that terrace.  As it was, we just went there for a nightcap one evening.  It was late when arrived, but there were a few other tables seated and a few more arrived after we did, and no one was in any rush for us to leave.  The bartender was great, and I didn’t even care that they were out of a few of the draft beers.  The signature cocktails that I saw her making looked fantastic, but that night I just wanted to sit back with a Shiner and relax before tucking into the cozy bed I knew was waiting upstairs.

2nd Floor outside Bar, overlooking lobby

2nd Floor outside Bar, overlooking lobby

Bravo, Stephen F!  Great home base for a long weekend.

Grade: A
Stayed: September 4 – 6, 2015

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