Set the scene In a clever nod to Austin’s changing demographics — it’s a young city thanks to college roots, but tech fever attracts well-heeled executives — the Thompson is two hotels in one. On one side is the property of the same name (rooms from $329), which stands out with an elegant lobby dressed in rich leather furniture, a monolithic fireplace, and petrified wood ceilings. Guests dressed in smart dresses and tailored blazers check in at a striking Brutalist-style wooden and green marble desk that dazzles in the glow of individually lit acrylic cylinders. Many carry their carry-ons directly to the second floor, made up of innovative conference rooms and flexible spaces flooded with natural light, while others head to one of the 212 rooms and suites, which will soon be joined by 17 short-temporary residences. If you check in at Tommie (rooms from $199), the Thompson’s younger sibling, valets guide you through a nearby door and straight into a West Texas-themed coffee bar. Groups of twenty-somethings, who dress as if they consider vintage shopping a great sport, self-check into one of the 193 smaller rooms that look like the inside of a posh Airstream trailer (if motorhomes had eight-foot windows, that is). After dropping off their bags, collecting the hotel’s adventure card and, we’re willing to bet, posting a photo of the skyline, most head straight back to one of the hotel’s public areas, if not in town. Thompson and Tommie guests share access to the hotel’s four restaurants, as well as the fourth-floor rooftop gardens, state-of-the-art gym and wellness center, and 75-foot swimming pool .
The backstory Thompson Austin is the brand’s third hotel in a multi-year takeover in Texas. No two properties are the same: Thompson Dallas opened in a landmark building designed by George Dahl in late 2020 and boasts a $2 million art collection. It was quickly followed by a San Antonio tower on the city’s famous Riverwalk. Thompson Houston will be housed in a Bayou-facing complex with shops and restaurants and is expected to open in 2023. While Los Angeles is home to the hotel brand’s first tommie subsidiary in the world, the construction in Austin is the first attempt to Hyatt to combine the Thompson and the Tommie concepts.
The rooms At first glance, the Thompson’s 212 rooms feel masculine thanks to dark leather, concrete ceilings, and emerald headboards flanked by ’70s lighting. Mixed metallics add a confident femininity. Bathrooms, stocked with DS & Durga bath products, are designed with inky vertical tiles and rainfall showerheads. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the city skyline, including Austin landmarks like the blue Frost Tower and nightlife-rich Sixth Street. Rooms also have illy coffeemakers and bars that are far from mini thanks to Texas-origin snacks and spirits such as Still Bourbon, Tito’s Vodka, and St. Arnold’s brews.
Food and drink Convention center guests and crowds gaze eagerly through the windows of James Beard Award-winning Mashama Bailey’s two restaurants on Thompson Street, a corner that hasn’t seen much culinary innovation since that Eddie V’s was considered Austin’s pinnacle of fine dining in 2002. Although the two restaurants aren’t open yet — they’re both expected to welcome guests by mid-March — they’re extensions of the restaurants popular of Bailey and his business partner Johno Morisano in Savannah. Think of Gray Market Austin as a dressed-up bodega, where line cooks serve breakfast and lunch plates to order and whip up grab-and-go items like sandwiches, candy, and picnic supplies. The Diner Bar will serve what Bailey calls his port city’s southern cuisine — tastes of raw oysters and foie gras over oatmeal — with plenty of Texan twists. The deco-style space has black pendant lights and booths surrounding an elegant horseshoe-shaped bar. Wax Myrtles, located on the fourth floor of Thompson, is an open concept dining room with a central bar made of beautiful pecan wood, marble and leather tables, and concertina windows that open onto a urban garden of native plants and succulents. The cocktail menu, with highlights like the Moon-Tower Gin infused with Lemon Olive Oil and the dangerously sweet Bigtooth Bourbon and Maple, is superb, as are plates like the Pecan and Bell Pepper Spread. Syrian-inspired red – think of it as a plant – made from chili with hints of pomegranate and a traditional tender bone-in pork chop. Thanks to a games room with a pool table, creative corners for live music and expansive garden areas, it’s clear that Wax Myrtes will be a regular stop on the downtown party circuit. Late nights can be cured with local roasts at Coffee Bar at tommie, a Marfa-inspired java shop that already has a devoted following among downtown employees eager to avoid the Keurig office cafeteria.
The spa There’s no spa yet, but the 6,700-square-foot fitness and wellness center is impressive thanks to its private workout studios — regular yoga and fitness classes are ongoing — and state-of-the-art equipment ranging from TechnoGym running machines to Mirror and Pelaton workout bikes.
The neighborhood/region While the Thompson is a welcome addition to a quiet corner of downtown, it’s just a few blocks from popular nightlife and daytime destinations. A short stroll will take you to the Lady Bird Lake walking and biking trail, as well as Republic Square, which hosts a popular Saturday morning farmers’ market. Comedor, known for its modern indoor Mexican fare, and Fareground Food Hall with a mix of bars and restaurants, are also nearby. Travelers should also visit Congress Bridge, home to Austin’s famous bat population, as well as Congress Avenue, the trail leading to the Texas State Capitol.
The service As the pandemic exacerbated hiring issues in a town that already had serious hospitality staffing issues, the Thompson managed to get off to a good start with a friendly and professional staff, as well as a housekeeping crew. housekeeping that revives the lost art of turndown service.
For families While things like kid-friendly welcome amenities are still being worked on, I spotted a few strollers wandering the hallways. The hotel can accommodate babies and children with amenities like rollaway beds and kid-friendly food. Half-pints will also be unleashed above the pool and sports simulator in the gym.
Eco-effort The Thompson has LEED Silver certification and is an Austin Energy Green Building.
Accessibility ADA compliant.
Anything else to mention? The Earlybird CBD gummies and Skinauthority eye kit, left on my pillow at bedtime, were a welcome improvement over the standard dark chocolate and weather report. If you book a tommie room, ask for a corner — those ending in the numbers 19 and 20 — for a more expansive feel.