Travel & Day Trips

Review: Westin Austin Downtown Hotel, From a Business Traveler

During my recent trip to Austin in 2023, I had the opportunity to stay at the Westin Austin Downtown, an impressive high-rise hotel located in the vibrant heart of the city.

Over the course of my two-night stay, I was able to experience first-hand the exceptional amenities, comfortable accommodations, diverse dining options, and top-tier service the hotel has to offer. It’s a great place to stay for business travelers, and a good home base during SXSW, too.

Here’s a detailed account of my personal experience at the Westin Austin Downtown.


  • The Westin Austin Downtown is in an ideal location for South By Southwest (SXSW) and the Austin Convention Center
  • The hotel is perfect for business travelers, with well-appointed rooms that aren’t huge, but work great for a solo traveler or small family
  • The onsite restaurants and room service serve up tasty local food (although portions from room service are variable).

An Ideal Location for Urban Explorers

The Westin Austin Downtown is located at 310 E 5th St., Austin, TX 78701. That means it’s in the heart of the downtown region of the city.

The location is great! Hotel building is on the right in this picture.

As a professional photographer who shoots a lot of street photos, I appreciate the hustle and bustle of a lively city, and I found the Westin’s location to be incredibly convenient.

Nestled in the midst of the downtown arts/nightlife district, the hotel is surrounded by a multitude of bars, restaurants, and live music venues, all contributing to a vibrant and exciting atmosphere.

Nearby, I tried:

  • Grey Market
  • The Iron Cactus, a classic local restaurant that’s just one block away
Iron Cactus is just around the block!

The blocks around the hotel come alive at night, and you can find live music and places open into the wee hours of the morning.

The blocks around the hotel are bustling at night

Proximity to Business Locations

I was in town on business and attending a work event at the hotel. But I also walked to the convention center, which is about a 10-minute walk away.

It was easy and required only 2 turns. That makes the Westin a great location if you’re heading to the convention center for a conference. It’s not as close as the Hilton, but it’s still very walkable.

  • I stayed during SXSW, and the Westin would make a great home base if you’re heading to events at the convention center or other nearby hotels.
  • It’s also a 15-minute walk to the Texas State Capital, and only 1.5 miles from UT Austin.

It’s worth noting for those who prefer a quieter neighborhood that this hotel may not be the most suitable due to the area’s buzzing nightlife. However, for urban adventurers and music lovers, the location is unparalleled.

Also, the hotel is big! It’s 20 stories tall!

If you’re staying on an upper floor, as I did, you won’t hear the music and bustle of the street below. I was on the 12th floor and even when the party down below was in full swing, the high building and thick windows meant that I heard no street noise.

Comfortable and Spacious Accommodations

My room was a two-queen bed setup, thoughtfully designed and spacious. The beds themselves were comfortable, if nothing special beyond what you’d expect from a nice mid-tier hotel.

These aren’t the amazing beds of a luxury property like the Four Seasons Maui, but they’re perfectly nice for a business traveler or solo traveler.

My two queen bed room (all the King rooms were booked!)

As a business traveler, I particularly appreciated the room’s desk with its multiple charging ports. Despite a packed day of meetings, I found the comfortable beds and serene city views from my room to be the perfect way to unwind.

Really nice city views at night

The windows were a bit dirty on the outside, which made it hard to get great pictures. But for most travelers, that isn’t really an issue.

Nice desk area

The bathroom, complete with both a shower and a tub, catered to my needs, even though I found the tub slightly cramped. Yet, given the primary purpose of my trip, this was a minor issue that did not significantly impact my stay.

You get standard wellness-oriented bath amenities like those found at any Westin. The bathroom was nearly identical to the bathrooms at the Westin Carlsbad but smaller, given the urban location.

The tub was a little cramped

There was a nice lighted mirror and single vanity that made it easy to get ready in the morning. The bathroom also had a makeup mirror and a special dark-colored towel for removing makeup.

There were plenty of towels and I didn’t need to request more. The room was serviced once during my visit and the cleaning was good.

Overall a nice bathroom

The rooms come with an in-room Starbucks coffee maker. There was also Starbucks coffee for sale at the bar area in the lobby.

In room Starbucks coffee

A Lobby Designed for Productivity and Socialization

The lobby was a great place to get work done

One of my favorite aspects of the Westin Austin Downtown was the hotel lobby. With its inviting ambiance, I found it to be a perfect spot to catch up on emails, meet colleagues, or just relax with a cup of coffee.

Working Lobby

There are nice, large tables with plenty of space to set up a laptop and get things done. I set up at the table for a while and worked. There are power plugs and the whole lobby area has Wifi. The Wifi was good but not super fast, although there was an option to upgrade to a Premium level.

Overview of the lobby

The front desk is on the right of the lobby. There’s a small gift shop and sundrie shop with some nice Texas souvenirs!

Texas vibes in the lobby

The hotel also provides two expansive floors dedicated to event spaces. There are big conference rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor as well as smaller breakout rooms.

The event rooms were well lit and large, if a bit corporate and basic. I wouldn’t necessarily host a wedding or social event there, but for a business meeting it worked out well, at least in terms of the space itself.

Nice event spaces on the second floor

My professional group held an event there and the rooms were well set up.

Gym and Rooftop Amenities

Weights in the fitness center
Top floor fitness center

The hotel’s fitness center left a lasting impression on me. Not only was it well-equipped for a thorough workout, but the city views it offered were truly breathtaking. There were hand weights, cardio machines and some strength machines.

Westin emphasizes wellness, so it’s no surprise that the fitness center is well designed. A nice touch was a big basket of apples.

Here’s the view from the fitness center.

View from the fitness center

Azul Rooftop Pool

Perhaps the highlight of the hotel is the rooftop pool and bar, Azul. By day, it was a serene place to relax, and by night, it transformed into a bustling social hub. I felt a little weird photographing people sitting at the pool, so I didn’t get a pic of it. But I did get some amazing skyline shots from the room!

The pool, along with the bar and the stunning skyline views, provided an unmatched nighttime experience.

The view from the Azul pool

A Diverse Dining Experience

The Westin Austin Downtown boasts diverse dining options. I sampled the lamb meatballs from the room service menu, which, while delicious, left me wishing for a slightly larger portion, considering the price.

Meatballs were tasty but small

On the other hand, my experience at Stella San Jac, the hotel’s restaurant, was delightful. I dined al fresco on the patio, soaking in the lively street atmosphere while enjoying a plate of delectable chicken and waffles. When in Texas, right? 🙂

The dish was not just tasty but also reasonably priced.

When in Texas, get chicken and waffles!

The next morning, I was pleasantly surprised by their unique breakfast offering — muffins served with pipettes of sauce for a fun, do-it-yourself dish that was as entertaining as it was tasty.

Exceptional Service Throughout My Stay

Throughout my stay, I was consistently impressed by the hotel staff’s dedication to providing excellent service. They were accommodating and helped me with directions, getting into a conference room when I mistakenly locked myself out, and more.

In conclusion, my personal experience at the Westin Austin Downtown was overwhelmingly positive. The hotel caters to business travelers like myself, providing comfortable accommodations, impressive event spaces, and an unbeatable location.

While there were minor areas for improvement, they did not detract from my overall stay. I would wholeheartedly recommend the Westin Austin Downtown to anyone visiting Austin for business or pleasure.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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