We stayed at the historic Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin. Since 1886, the Driskill has undergone periodic renovation; the latest to its guestrooms was recently completed. Our room was comfortable and classic though not spacious (we wouldn't expect a huge room at an older property anyhow). The lobby is grand and worth a visit to see the stained glass, the columns and the art, and it's a great place to stop for a cup of coffee at the 1886 Cafe and Bakery. We sat in the lobby bar for a cocktail and listened to acoustic music in the evening (music is everywhere in Austin).
One of the advantages of staying at the Driskill is its location. We walked to the original Whole Foods for breakfast, the shopping on South Congress, and the bars on Sixth Street (deciding which direction is easy: if you're under 30 take a left out of the Sixth Street door for the college set, over 30 hang a right). We could walk to dinner, and even walk down to Town Lake for some exercise (our girlfriend, Amanda, is a good influence).
If you're staying downtown, one drive that's well worth making is to the Lake Austin Spa Resort. Better yet, spend a couple of nights there on their gorgeous property. We've gushed about Lake Austin Spa in the past and our recent visit didn't disappoint. We had the new Chardonnay Wine Therapy treatment, which was 110 minutes of heaven: first a sugar scrub, followed by a butter wrap (with a fantastic scalp massage), and topped off with a Chardonnay oil massage. Afterward, we met our college girlfriends in the Aster Cafe for a healthy lunch, soaked in some rays on the back deck, and finished up in the steam room. If you're curious, check out their Girlfriend Getaways with authors, chefs, and more. Our friend, Wendy, just celebrated a special birthday there with five close friends and they had an amazing time.