The Legendary Driskill Hotel
No other hotel in Texas is as beautiful or legendary as the Driskill in Austin. It is, by far, my favorite hotel in the state and perhaps in the country. This is a serious luxury hotel with a story in every room. It’s even reputed to be haunted, but that’s one of its charms.
A Texas cattle baron built this hotel in 1886. Restored to its original elegance, The Driskill has a magnificent columned lobby, marble floors and a stained-glass dome over the classic décor of the 189 guestrooms and suites.
Located right in the middle of Austin, and 6th street, this gorgeous hotel is within walking distance of many live music venues. It’s also close to the state capitol building and the home of some of the best tours of the city, including the ghost tour and horse and carriage rides.
Great Wolf Lodge
A hotel with an indoor water park! Amazing.
A hotel with an indoor water park! Amazing. | Source
Great Wolf Lodge – Dallas, Grapevine Texas
The fun Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Tx has to be a great hotel simply because it houses an indoor water park! Me and my fair skin love this place. I really like the outdoors, but have never been able to stay in the sun, so why not bring the outdoors inside?
All of the rooms are suites with mini refrigerators which is a real boon to travelers! Need to keep medicine cool? How about some wine or champagne? No problem. Enjoy a cool beverage when you retire for the evening to watch a bit of TV and catch up on some Zzzz’s.
If you’re traveling with children, this is the only type of hotel I would consider. An automatic babysitter for 8 year old and up come in the form of lifeguards. The kids can play safely, and you can enjoy a leisurely lunch nearby. Guest passes are available for whoever you are visiting so they can enjoy the fun too.
The Gage Hotel
An outside wall of the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
An outside wall of the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas | Source
Marfa, Alpine, WestTexas and the Gage Hotel
If you are going to visit West Texas and the stunning Big Bend country, there is only one hotel to spend your time at. The Gage Hotel makes you feel like you’re living next door to every Texas legend that ever lived.
It’s the center point for all that is holy in the West:
Big Bend National Park
Far Flung Adventures, River rafting
The Marfa Ghost Lights
McDonald Observatory and Star parties
A 3.5-million gallon spring-fed pool (yes, million!) at Balmorhea, Tx
Terlingua Ghost Town and the giant Texas Chili Cook-off
The Chihuahua Desert and a moon that follows you wherever you go
The original hotel was built in 1927 and I think the furniture is still original. It’s well maintained, of course, but it feels like you have gone back in time. If you liked Bonanza and the Cartwright Ranch, then you’ll swear you just might bump into the ghosts of Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon or even Lorne Greene himself welcoming you to the modern pool and gardens.
Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth hotels
There are some nice hotels in Houston and Dallas, but they don’t have the personality I desire in a great Texas hotel. I always look for the best hotels that have a real past. You know like that big hotel in Colorado that Stephen King got so famous for in the Shining. I’ve yet to see a ghost, but I always look for them.
If I were to book a hotel in Houston or Dallas today, I would probably go with the ZaZa hotels. They’re a bit upscale and foo foo for me, but they are geared toward tourists and making a guest comfortable. For less foo foo, pick a chain hotel that is close to whatever part of the city you’re visiting. Actually, I don’t recommend either city. Houston and Dallas are both too crowded and busy. Neither city has anything at all resembling the heart and soul of Texas.
Fort Worth is a different story. Ft. Worth has history to spare. It’s where the Chisolm trail met the East/West route of the cattle barons, cotton kings, trains and the settlers from all over. The nickname for Ft. Worth is Cow Town and there is no doubt it still has roots in the cattle and ranching industry today.
The Stockyards Hotel is the place to stay in Forth Worth. Cattle and Cotton are King here and the best steak house in the state is right next door at the Hunter Brother’s H3 Ranch Restaurant. Visit Billy Bob’s and other eccentric saloons nearby. Built in 1907, the hotel has been the temporary home of cattle barons, country music stars, and real outlaws of the west.
Texas hotels that deserve an honorable mention
The Menger hotel in San Antonio is past its prime, but still reputed to be haunted and it is conveniently located in the Alamo City. I stayed there many years ago and hopefully, they have refurbished the place since then. Theodore Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Mae West, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and Sarah Bernhardt have stayed here so there is history. Much of the furnishings are museum quality so it is worth looking into.
If you’re going to stay in New Braunfels, I would recommend the Schlitterbahn Resorts. Stay where you play is my motto here! Nothing is more fun in Texas than a water park and Schlitterbahn is the best water park in the world.