From Airbus To Megabus: A Trip Of Contrasts
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Villa
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Activities & Dining
Review: Al Maha Bedouin Suite
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Dining
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Activities
Review: Dubai International First Class Lounge DXB
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A320 Dubai To Doha
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A380 Doha To London
Review: British Airways First Class A380 London To Los Angeles
Review: British Airways A380 First Class Tasting Menu
Review: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport LAX
Review: American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles LAX
Review: American First Class A321 Los Angeles To New York
Review: Hilton Austin Airport
I was scheduled to arrive in Austin at 8:30PM, and then I had a flight to LA the next day at 12:15PM. It has been years since I’ve visited Austin, so I would have really liked to spend more time there, but I also wanted to be realistic. I knew I’d be tired when I landed, and the following day was Monday, so I knew I’d have a lot of work to get done before my flight.
I made the decision to stay at a hotel near the airport, and eventually settled on the Hilton Austin Airport. It’s apparently the only hotel on the grounds of the airport. I booked a AAA rate of ~$160 for the night, which seemed high for an airport hotel on a Sunday night, though after looking at the hotels in the city, it was less than half the price of any other full service Hilton, Hyatt, or Starwood property. There must have been some big event going on in Austin, or something.
The first thing which impressed me was Hilton’s online check-in. Hyatt allows online check-in, though I still haven’t figured out what purpose it actually serves.
Hilton’s online check-in, on the other hand, is useful. I received an invitation to check-in online about 24 hours out.
The first page asked me what time I planned on checking in.
And then I could even pick out the specific room I wanted, and view the floorplans for each floor. Now that’s awesome!
I picked a King Deluxe Room on the 4th floor of the hotel, which is also the highest floor.
When I arrived at Austin Airport I phoned up the Hilton to ask about the shuttle situation, and was informed that it runs on demand. What makes it unique is that it doesn’t leave from the shuttle center on the arrivals level, but rather picks up on the departures level, near Delta check-in. So that’s something to be aware of.
As I pulled up to the hotel, it looked like a fairly modern, suburban Hilton property.
The building is referred to as a “donut,” and has an interesting history. This was the former headquarters of the Bergstrom Air Force Base, and has since been converted into a hotel.
Once inside the hotel, reception was located to the right. Since I had done online check-in, the front office associate already had keys waiting for me. I just flashed my ID, and then he gave me two keys, breakfast vouchers, and two bottles of water. Take note, other hotel chains, this is how you do online check-in!
At the time of this stay I was still an HHonors Gold member, which today can be earned just by having the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express. That got me complimentary breakfast, which is the most valuable perk at a hotel like this.
I did find the process of being handed two bottles of water rather odd, as opposed to the usual system of them just placing them in the room. Most people are already carrying enough things when they get to a hotel, and don’t want to be handed more.
After walking away from the reception desk I turned right towards the elevators, which took me past a couple of PCs, acting as a quasi-business center.
I took the elevator up to the fourth floor, and then turned left towards my room.
I was assigned (or had assigned myself, I suppose) room 466.
The room was spacious, though also past its prime. There was a wide entryway with the bathroom to the right.
Not only was the room past its prime, but the lack of decorations along the wall sort of made it even more depressing. The room featured a king size bed with two nightstands, a couch with a coffee table, a TV along the other wall, and then a desk with an office chair.
Across from the couch was the desk, which had a lamp and two outlets along the wall.
Then back near the entrance was an ice bucket along with a single serving coffee machine.
I had selected an interior facing room, so I had a view of the atrium. I know a lot of people would consider interior facing rooms to be undesirable, though I quite like them.
The bathroom was pretty brand standard for Hilton, and had Peter Thomas Roth amenities.
After a good night of sleep I headed down to Creeks Restaurant for breakfast, which is located in the lobby. Breakfast is served starting at 6AM, so I was there the minute it opened. I was invited to seat myself, so did just that.
For reference, the price of the breakfast buffet is $14.95, which includes french toast, pancakes, oatmeal, cooked to order eggs, etc.
When I’m traveling alone I always take my laptop to breakfast, as my priority is to have some coffee and check my email to wake up. While the service here was well intentioned, it was also extremely incompetent. It took over 20 minutes before I had coffee, and that’s after I asked three times.
Fortunately the breakfast buffet was quite good, though I also have simple breakfast tastes. They had a “make your own yogurt parfait” station, which is about all I could ever want in life. They also had decent (aka non-runny) scrambled eggs, and a lovely salsa to go along with it. I sure do love Texas!
I worked for a few hours in the morning, and then grabbed a coffee at the coffeeshop in the lobby before taking the 11AM shuttle back to the airport.
Hilton Austin Airport bottom line
Austin Airport isn’t exactly a huge airport for connections, so there are a very narrow set of circumstances under which I could imagine returning to this hotel. I’d like to actually visit Austin next time I stay in town, though will plan that further in advance so I can get a decent deal on a hotel.
The Hilton Austin Airport served its purpose, and I was impressed by the online check-in process. The rooms were large, though they’re certainly in need of a refresh. Then again, I can’t imagine the Austin Airport hotel market is all that competitive, so perhaps they’ve run the numbers and decided there’s not much of an ROI on that.