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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Chow Down and Drink Up in Austin

With notable new restaurants, an ever-burgeoning bar scene, and plenty of design-friendly spots to sleep off an epic meal, there's never been a better time to eat and drink in the Texas capital.

1. Where to Stay

Pops of vintage style meet modern minimalism in the rooms at Lone Star Court.  

Discover a leafy escape just off one of the city's busiest stretches at the Kimber Modern (from $295). A block away from the lively South Congress retail strip, this hotel has no reception desk—instead guests key in a code to enter the treehouselike complex, made up of seven rooms surrounding a live-oak-shaded deck with ample outdoor seating and a trickling fountain. There's an indoor common area with a help-yourself kitchen, offering a daily breakfast of organic, seasonal fruit and Greek yogurt, local Rockstar Bagels, and house-made breads like banana-nut, plus complimentary organic coffee from local roasters Ruta Maya and chilled white wine or Texas beers (such as Shiner Bock) available all day. Spare, contemporary rooms have platform beds and molded maple reading chairs, plus luxurious touches like 500-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and Malin + Goetz amenities.

Hole up in a classic Austin 1925 craftsman bungalow at Heywood Hotel (from $199), a boutique property on the newly developing east side of town, walkable to plenty of restaurants and bars. The lobby sports original hardwood floors and graphic throw pillows by local artist Leah Duncan, which are also used as accents in the seven guest rooms. Each has a unique décor scheme, but all feature a clean, modern look with colorful features like graphic wallpaper or Chesterfield-style chairs in contrasting fabrics, plus walnut beds handmade by one of the owners. Borrow a Republic bike to cruise around the area, then relax in a wicker chair on the expansive, modernist second-floor patio, with a cup of the hotel’s own java blend, made by local Owl Tree Roasting.

Go retro Western at Lone Star Court (from $169), an eight-month-old boutique modeled on motor-court motels of yesteryear. Rooms further the “retro-ranch” approach, with sliding barn-style doors separating bedroom and bathroom; vintage Smeg refrigerators stocked with beers like Circle Blur Texas Hefe and Fire Eagle IPA from Austin Beerworks; porches with rocking chairs; and deer-horn-decorated reading lamps (other amenities feel a bit more this decade, like 42-inch plasma TVs and bath products by California-based company Lather). The central courtyard’s teardrop-shaped pool is perfect for an afternoon dip, and the hotel even has its own food truck, the Feed Store, doling out food like fried chicken po’boys and Texas Frito Pies. On Wednesday through Saturday nights, drop by the hotel’s honky-tonk-style bar, the Water Trough, to hear live Americana tunes, then grab a seat around the outdoor fire pit to mingle with other guests.

Published on Aug 21, 2014 as a web exclusive.