Secluded Villas with Scenic Views of Lake Travis
Vintage Villas Hotel & Event Center sits in the midst of Texas Hill Country, overlooking the sparkling-blue waters of Lake Travis and facing the western setting sun. The hotel’s villas and grounds are perched high atop a bluff, where they get great views of the lake and rolling hillsides beyond. It’s an ideal spot for a quiet getaway, but the villas are also just a half hour from busy downtown Austin. This boutique hotel’s staff can offer an insider's take on the capital's hot spots.
Vintage Villas Hotel's rooms are spread out over three distinct villas, each with its own uniquely Texan characteristics. Rooms in the South Texas villa feature rough-cut-cedar and cowboy artifacts, and those in the Central Texas villa are decorated with portraits of some of the state’s most influential historical figures. Elsewhere, dark hardwood floors and Victorian-style furniture lend the East Texas villa a french-country-home feel. Original artwork and antique furniture further add to the charm in each.
Chef Steve Michalzik whips up a hearty breakfast each morning. In addition to fresh seasonal fruit, hot and cold cereal, and assorted pastries, breakfasts include a hot entree such as breakfast tacos, quiche, or traditional eggs benedict.
Austin, Texas: Proudly Offbeat State Capital and Live-Music Capital of the World
Built in 1888, the pink-granite Texas Capitol building in Austin is the largest state capitol in the country and even taller than the US Capitol in Washington, DC—proof that everything is, indeed, bigger in Texas. Yet Austin stands apart from the rest of the state politically and culturally, a fact that locals seem to revel in. "Keep Austin Weird" is a popular motto here, appearing on bumper stickers and T-shirts. The weirdness manifests itself all over town, where you’ll find a death-metal-themed pizza place, a cathedral made of garbage, and the Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata, which displays an 1893 World’s Fair stereograph and one of Marilyn Monroe’s cigarette butts. Even nature plays along: each night at dusk (from mid-March to November), an estimated 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge to go hunting for food.
Austin has been dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World thanks to the city's nearly 200 venues, where bands play everything from blues to punk rock. In fact, Travel + Leisure magazine named Austin one of America's Best Music Cities, calling it the "mother ship for indie rock and alternative-country types." Stubb's Bar-B-Q books some of the bigger acts that come to town, including the White Stripes, Johnny Cash, and Snoop Dogg. In addition to the live entertainment taking place on a nightly basis, two massively popular music festivals—South by Southwest and Austin City Limits—draw in huge crowds each year.
The University of Texas brings its share of cultural attractions to the city as well. For starters, the sprawling campus is home to the Blanton Museum of Art, which boasts one of the country's most impressive private collections of old-master paintings. UT-Austin is also where you’ll find the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, dedicated to preserving and exhibiting artifacts related to the 36th president.