Secluded Villas with Scenic Views of Lake Travis
With miles of undulating green terrain and pristine waterways, one could almost mistake the Texas Hill Country landscape for a tiny village in Tuscany. Such hilly topography is uncommon in typically flat Texas, an anomaly that Vintage Villas Hotel uses to its advantage: its main buildings and balconies sit above a bluff looking out toward the vast Lake Travis. Funky downtown Austin, another of the state's oddities, is just a 30-minute drive away, and the staff members of this boutique hotel can offer an insider's take on the capital's hot spots. Vintage Villas Hotel's 44 rooms are spread out over three distinct villas, each with its own theme and distinct style that reflects the character of a region in the state. South Texas rooms are rustic and cowboyish, Central Texas recalls country comfort, and East Texas evokes Victorian style with its steam-powered butlers. Vibrant colors cover the walls and many of the end tables and plush couches, lending the rooms the feel of a French country home. Original artwork, antique furniture, and old cowboy artifacts further add to the charm. A popular location for weddings, the hotel's beautifully landscaped grounds include an elegant gazebo overlooking the shimmering lake. Chef Steve Michalzik, who has appeared on PBS's Cucina Amore, whips up a hearty breakfast each morning. In addition to assorted juices, coffees, hot tea, fresh seasonal fruit, hot and cold cereal, and assorted breakfast breads, breakfasts include a hot, fresh entree that could include Tex-Mex style migas, breakfast tacos, quiche, or traditional eggs benedict.
Austin: Music-Driven Metropolis with Small-Town Feel
About 30 minutes from bustling downtown Austin, Lake Travis is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing for largemouth bass, catfish, and discarded screenplays. Mountain bikers can explore Texas Hill Country's rolling hills, and hikers may prefer Zilker Metropolitan Park, where they'll find miles of wooded trails, crushed gravel trails, and footbridges. Austin's eclectic downtown has grown into one of the country's top destinations for live music, with massive music festivals each year, including South by Southwest (March 13–March 18) and Austin City Limits (October 12–October 14). In addition to its boot-scootin’ country bars, several venues host indie rock bands, jazz-funk groups, and Latin sambas.