i LOVE staying in hotels. i don’t travel often, so i don’t have that jaded traveller attitude to hotels and flying as if it’s all old hat. it’s always new hat to me. even the most boring, average hotel – i’m basically like, “wait, i get to sleep in this foreign place, i don’t have to make my bed, AND someone else is making me breakfast tomorrow? sign me up.” of course when a hotel is actually nice that feeling is multiplied by a thousand, which is what i imagine it would be like to stay at the Hotel San José in Austin, Texas. i have never had any inclination to visit Texas, but now i do.

Built in 1936 as an “ultramodern” motor court, the property has been transformed into a 40 room urban bungalow-style hotel tucked behind stucco walls and set amidst lush garden courtyards. More than just a unique place to sleep, the Hotel San Jose serves as a gathering place and occasional hub of community activity for locals and visitors alike. Dogs are always welcome.


  1. I lived in Austin for 5 years and actually celebrated my 21st birthday at the San Jose. As someone from the Mid-Atlantic region, I never thought I would love a part of Texas as much as I love Austin. Such a gem!!

  2. My husband and my very pregnant self spent our wedding night here after we eloped! They were so sweet and upgraded us their biggest suite. Such an amazing place… we are hoping to go back for an anniversary someday.

  3. Also, Texas is definitely a place to visit. It might be a pit of a cultural/political wasteland, but it is really gorgeous, and if you get out into West Texas and the Big Bend area, you won’t have to deal with any people anyways! Certainly worth giving it a chance.

  4. I grew up and went to college in Austin, and always loved walking by the Hotel San Jose and its neighbor, the equally charming Austin Motel. I few years back a friend of mine had passionate affair with an Englishman while he was on business staying at the Hotel San Jose. We all thought it was just about the most romantic thing ever.

  5. Hi Diana,
    I am an Austinite and avid reader of your blog … I believe you would LOVE Austin, Texas! It is way different than what you would imagine the stereotypical-Texas to be. It’s an amazing place and right up your alley! Please come visit!

  6. I’m an Austinite as well and have actually stayed here for a “stay-cation” because it’s so much fun! It’s a wonderful hotel.

  7. I’m also a resident of Austin, Texas. If you love creative cities, definitely put Austin on your list of places to come. Best times to come are November or March/April when it’s not too hot yet. Summers here are a scorcher! Also check out hotel St. Cecila here in Austin, and El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas (you can stay in a teepee in the desert!).

  8. Hi Diana,

    San Jose is wonderful. I am an Austinite and can attest to the stereotype of Texas being a political wasteland, but NOT a cultural wasteland. You would love this city! It is chalk full of live music, creative people, and an incredible enthusiasm for fine food.

    San Jose was the dream of hotel designer, Liz Lambert. She also created Hotel St. Cecilia, El Cosmico in Marfa, TX (as Paige ^^ mentioned above) and Hotel Havana in San Antonio, TX. All of them are beautifully designed and worth checking out. My personal favorite is El Cosmico.

    Check it out here–> http://elcosmico.com

  9. I second the earlier recommendation to come in spring. Sitting outside at night in the bar/patio area when the wisteria is in full bloom…pretty amazing. And I like to walk through at least once a season for garden ideas.

  10. Oh WOW! Is this place for real!? It looks like my dream apartment, not a hotel room! I know you’ve said you hadn’t ever thought of visiting TX, but I’ve been wanting to go to Austin for some time. I’ve read up on it and there’s a great cultural scene there (plus, there’s the whole music scene). And now, I MUST go and stay HERE! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  11. Pingback: Musings #4 | bean + nash

  12. We spent a lovely New Year’s Eve here a couple of years ago – a DJ spinning in the courtyard, yummy cocktails. It doesn’t get any better than that!

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