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Motor Court Meets Millennial Vibes in East Austin

Motor Court Meets Millennial Vibes in East Austin
Written by Paula Disbrowe | Photos by Ryann Ford | The hotel lobby.
The open-air pool bar.

With its retro Danish-inspired furniture and centerpiece courtyard pool, the seventy-five room East Austin Motel harkens to the motor courts of yore. But a serious dose of urban style—graphic flourishes, eclectic art, and pops of pink—updates the look for a new generation. The hotel is an ideal base to explore the early twentieth-century architecture, art galleries, and buzzy restaurants that comprise Austin’s booming East Side. But don’t miss the property’s own food and beverage offerings: There’s a casual, neighborhood feel at Sixth and Waller, a new-age global diner that features counter-service breakfast and lunch (consider the grilled pineapple salad or jackfruit bánh mì). In the evening, chef Jason Stude offers a full-service menu with fun snacks like charred sesame-garlic edamame and gochujang queso and chips, and plates that range from a Texas pastrami reuben to coconut jasmine fried rice. The Upside, the hotel’s rooftop bar, is the perfect perch for sunset cocktails and watching the parade of hipsters on Sixth Street. There’s a lot of frenetic energy in this corner of town, but the property’s reoccurring mantra of “Be Here Now,” and resident cat Wally (follow him on Instagram), who’s usually found in the lobby gift shop, encourage a chill vibe.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD:

East Austin Hotel holds court on the bustling corner of East Sixth and Waller streets. That means you’re within easy walking distance
of downtown, daily wants and needs (Flat Track Coffee, Practice Yoga), bucket-list restaurants (Franklin Barbecue, Suerte), and watering holes (Whisler’s).

The lunch counter at hotel restaurant Sixth & Waller.

THE VIBE:

Urban cool—as in the kind of sleek, streamlined space that you wish daily life resembled—with a whiff of Texas landscaping and local artists in the gift shop. The property combines a spare, Danish modern aesthetic with cool art finds that make each room unique.

THE DIGS:

Geared for Austin’s wide range of visitors— from young travelers to South-by-Southwesters on expense accounts—the rooms range from affordable “cabins” (queen rooms with bathrooms down the hall) to swanky poolside suites with spacious balconies, separate seating areas, and wet bars. Casper mattresses and pillows and sumptuous Carnaby linens make it hard to leave your cozy nest.

A queen cabin room.