The Roundup

Have Budget, Will Travel: 8 Austin Accommodations Under $250 Per Night

by Rachel Kurlander
A Colors pop at Austin Motel. Photo by Nick Simonite / courtesy of Austin Motel.

AUSTIN — It should come as no surprise that Austin — eclectic, buzzing, innovative — has taken the conventional wisdom surrounding low-cost hotels and flipped it on its head. For less than $250 a night, the city delivers rooftop pool decks, award-winning restaurants, and Instagram-worthy design. And you get to feel oh-so-savvy for doing it all on the cheap. Our prediction? You'll probably end up using the money you've saved to extend your trip a few extra days.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Koehler.

Hotel San Jose

Neighborhood: South Congress
Atmosphere: The mid-century motor lodge gets a minimalist makeover at this hip spot where light, subdued spaces are punctuated with such bold decor as colorful serape-patterned pillows and cowhide rugs. If the design doesn't leave you feeling rejuvenated, the on-site pool, courtyard, and gardens are guaranteed to do the trick. 
Perks: Custom-made kimono bathrobes and old-school tech on loan (think typewriters and Polaroid cameras) are just a few of the quirky, thoughtful amenities. Dogs are welcome for $20/night. 
Check in: Book a room.

Austin Motel
Photo by Nick Simonite / courtesy of Austin Motel.

Austin Motel

Neighborhood: South Congress
Atmosphere: The motel's motto says it all: “So close, yet so far out.” Vibrant colors and attention-grabbing wallpaper adorn all 41 guest rooms in a style as unapologetically playful as it is effortlessly cool, while the kidney-shaped pool in the center of the property and surrounding lido deck are Instagram Heaven. The original 1930s sign at the entrance, still standing, is the inspiration behind the vintage aesthetic. 
Perks: The lobby, part check-in desk, part retail space, sells local food and beverages, cutesy stationary, pool floaties, Americana keepsakes, and offbeat Austin Motel loot like beer koozies and ashtrays. 
Check in: Book a room.

South Congress Hotel
Photo courtesy of South Congress Hotel.

South Congress Hotel

Neighborhood: South Congress
Atmosphere: Be prepared to stray from your itinerary: With three restaurants, two full bars, a rooftop pool, and on-site retail space that will make your head spin (good luck finding another hotel with its own motorcycle shop and ultra-posh nail salon), it won't be easy to tear yourself away. Guest rooms feature minimalist, masculine decor, leather accents, hardwood floors, and complimentary Apple TV and Google Chromecasts, so you may not even make it to all those great in-site amenities.
Perks: Locally sourced minibars, an art program curated for the hotel highlighting some of the city's finest artists, and exclusive in-room streaming access to 40+ films from Drafthouse, the Austin-based production company, will help you feel connected with the community in a singular way.
Check in: Book a room.

Hotel Ella
Photo by Jake Holt / courtesy of Hotel Ella.

Hotel Ella

Neighborhood: Judge's Hill
Atmosphere: Greek revivalist architecture meets southern charm at Hotel Ella, a boutique hotel located mere blocks from the University of Texas campus. Tufted upholstery, neutral tones, and sumptuous decor lend each of the 47 guest rooms an air of intimacy and sophistication, while the wraparound veranda and lush grounds recall the property's rich history: The hotel is housed in the converted Goodall Wooten Estate, a designated city landmark.
Perks: With an array of beautiful salons, ballrooms, and reception spaces, both indoor and outdoor, the hotel is especially well-suited for hosting private events.
Check in: Book a room.

Hotel Eleven
Photo by Paul Bardagly / courtesy of Hotel Eleven.

Hotel Eleven

Neighborhood: Central East Austin
Atmosphere: This fourteen-room boutique hotel in Austin's up-and-coming East 11th Street neighborhood strikes a careful balance between the city's alternative spirit and contemporary design principles. Every space is unique, but you can count on cozy interiors, ample natural light, and sleek bathrooms throughout. Most guest rooms include private Juliet balconies, but for more fresh air, head up to the rooftop and take in the 360-degree city views.
Perks: The hotel is just down the street from Franklin Barbecue — the best BBQ joint in town — so there's no excuse not to be first in line.
Read more on Fathom: In Austin, East 11th Is the New SoCo 
Check in: Book a room.

Native Hostel
Photo by Charles Reagan / courtesy of Native Hostel.

Native Hostel

Neighborhood: Downtown
Atmosphere: A hostel for intrepid, dynamic, young — or young at heart — travelers who don't mind sacrificing all the frills of an upscale hotel for a good time. Guests can choose from communal rooms outfitted with bunk beds and a shared bath, loft rooms with bunk beds and one king-sized bed (ideal for larger groups), or private suites. The edgy, industrial design is so elegant that you'll wonder if you've stumbled into the coolest boutique hotel in town.
Perks: Between Monday night happy hour, Thursday and Friday night DJ sets, weekend yoga and tubing excursions, and Sunday night movie screenings, you'll never be at a loss for things to do.
Check in: Book a room.

Camper van airbnb in Austin, Texas
Photo courtesy of Leeann/Airbnb.

Glamp in a Vintage Airstream (Airbnb)

Neighborhood: Galindo
The property: Boho meets retro in a camper van that satisfies the inner hippie — one hippie who enjoys modern conveniences, too. Not only is the trailer surprisingly spacious, with a living room, one bedroom, full kitchen, and full bath, but there’s a stage in the backyard where the hostess Leeann and her band sometimes play. (They don’t call Austin the live music capital of the world for nothing.) 
Check in: Book it on Airbnb.

Airbnb near Lake Austin

Photo courtesy of Jon-Marc and Gigi/Airbnb.

Rent a Lavish Lake House (Airbnb)

Neighborhood: Long Canyon
The property: Located two miles from Lake Austin and ten from Lake Travis (but only twelve from downtown), guests get the natural beauty of Texas Hill Country without having to venture far outside the city limits. The hosts, Jon-Marc and Gigi, supply the home with complimentary toiletries, snacks, beverages, and a stocked kitchen. So kick back, roll up the living room door which opens onto the patio (check out the photo above), and relax.
Check in: Book it on Airbnb

Keep Exploring Austin

Check Out our Full Austin Guide on Fathom
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Austin: the Good, the Badass, the Divey

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.