Review: Hilton Austin Airport

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels
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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.

Hilton online check-in process

The first page asked me what time I planned on checking in.

Hilton online check-in process

And then I could even pick out the specific room I wanted, and view the floorplans for each floor. Now that’s awesome!

Hilton online check-in process

I picked a King Deluxe Room on the 4th floor of the hotel, which is also the highest floor.

Hilton online check-in process

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.

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Hilton Austin Airport shuttle

As I pulled up to the hotel, it looked like a fairly modern, suburban Hilton property.

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Hilton Austin Airport exterior

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Hilton Austin Airport driveway

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.

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Hilton Austin Airport lobby

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Hilton Austin Airport lobby

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Hilton Austin Airport lobby

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 American Express Surpass® Card. That got me complimentary breakfast, which is the most valuable perk at a hotel like this.

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Hilton Austin Airport reception

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Hilton Austin Airport breakfast voucher

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.

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Hilton Austin Airport bottled water

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.

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Hilton Austin Airport lobby business center

I took the elevator up to the fourth floor, and then turned left towards my room.

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Hilton Austin Airport hallway

I was assigned (or had assigned myself, I suppose) room 466.

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room entrance

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Hilton Austin Airport floorplan

The room was spacious, though also past its prime. There was a wide entryway with the bathroom to the right.

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room entryway

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room

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.

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room bed & couch

Across from the couch was the desk, which had a lamp and two outlets along the wall.

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room desk

Then back near the entrance was an ice bucket along with a single serving coffee machine.

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room 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.

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room view

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room view

The bathroom was pretty brand standard for Hilton, and had Peter Thomas Roth amenities.

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room bathroom

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room toilet

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Hilton Austin Airport King Deluxe Room shower

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.

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant

For reference, the price of the breakfast buffet is $14.95, which includes french toast, pancakes, oatmeal, cooked to order eggs, etc.

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant breakfast price

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!

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Hilton Austin Airport Creeks Restaurant breakfast buffet

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.

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Hilton Austin Airport coffeeshop

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.

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  1. The Austin hotel market is suffering from undercapacity as the city has grown quickly, so believe it or not the rates you were seeing for hotels in the city are about normal even if nothing particular is going on in town.

  2. Providing simple amenities at check in is a good idea as sometimes you may need to change the room you have and thus need to have your amenities related (even if you online check in). I have had cases where the room I picked online was pulled from me before I got to the property. I also feel that you are less likely to get upgraded if you check in online although now there is a note that you are still eligible.

  3. Thanks for loving Texas! I think you would really enjoy Austin if you spent a day or two there. Being a Dallas native I was always a bit jealous that I did not live in Austin.

  4. That weekend was the second weekend of Austin City Limits, which is one of the biggest events that draws people to Austin. Not a surprise hotels were expensive.

  5. @Lucky — Which version of the HHonors App are you using?

    Anyway, thanks for that demo of Hilton’s online check-in, which I have not tried (can you get guess why!), but looks really cool.

    Whereas Hyatt’s IT remains as unreliable as every, Hilton has really stepped up their, just like they have stepped up pretty much everything else. This may not be common knowledge because I found it out accidentally but if have a laptop that runs Windows 8.x or Windows 10 (does not work for anything lower), you should download the desktop version of the HHonors app. It is absolutely slick. All the info is at your finger tips, with an incredibly intuitive GUI. The ‘look and feel’ is more like that of smartphone app than that of a desktop appl, and that it because it is adapted from the HHonors app for Windows phone.

    You really should try it because the app is self-contained and seems “local” because you would no longer need a web browser. This means that you just login to your account without having to contend with the annoying captcha. I will post the link in the next comment.

    BTW, @Lucky, thanks for this review because I went to undergraduate at Southwestern University — a small liberal arts university in Georgetown, just 25 min north of Austin, and the oldest university in Texas — from 1977 to 1981, i.e. exactly 35 years ago. I have been back there only once since, despite multiple invitations to celebrate various anniversaries and/or homecomings. So, I am really thinking that a visit back to the area, including Austin, where I “grew up” may be in order. I can see Hilton Austin Airport coming in handy…

  6. I have visited Austin numerous times, and have never found such a thing as a decent rate downtown. I always have a car, so end up stay outside of downtown.

  7. I stayed here a few days ago. Lucky’s is accurate. I never eat the breakfast because I always have an early flight the next morning.

  8. What a nube to stay in this hotel…………you lowered yourself enormously by this decision of utter insanity…………..what disrespect for Austin…………you must be an Aggie…………..

  9. Oh my! You should have stayed at the historic Driskill Hotel (part of Hyatt family). If you ever need a great rate, let me know as I know the manager personally.

  10. This was a weird post to see…. as an Austin-ite. I always knew that hotel was there, but didn’t think people really stayed there unless they had too.
    Anyway, next time spend some time in our fair city, have a taco, see a show, hike the greenbelt. Hit me up if you need any specific

  11. Stayed here a few times back in my old life when I had a client in Austin. It’s a decent airport hotel, though the main reason for staying here was that it was a ton cheaper than downtown hotels (and it was a shorter drive back from Lockhart when I’d make a BBQ run after work). As for the price, as someone else mentioned, you were there during Austin City Limits, but weekend prices in general tend to be quite high these days all over the city. ATX has become a very popular weekend destination, for good reason.

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