3 nights during SXSW 2012. Expensive for a motel, but good for the conference/festival. $120, 140, and 160 a night through the first weekend, the film-part, of conference. Everyone said that after we left, the music part fo SXSW was really crazy. it was pretty darned busy while we were there! We're two of a quarter-million people who descend on town. We're part of the "Olds," people in our 40s, in a swamp of 20- and 30-something hipsters. We wear black and neutral colors, rocking them like we're the advance crew for NIN. Hotels are at a premium. Huge name celebs are in town (Jay-Z, Springsteen, 50 Cent, Seth Macfarlane), and it's filled with enough "interactive/digital" businesspeople to be like a consumer electronic trade show in Vegas. Biggest two weeks in Austin. Getting bigger every year. The line for a cab at the airport was 100 people long. We took Super Shuttle. TRAFFIC!
I booked back in August/September, and this was as close as we could get to the Convention Center on 2nd Street. We're around 30th Street, a 12-minute bus-ride up from 10th/Congress on the 37 Bus route, which costs a buck each ride, or a 2-dollar pass. I recommend this. Just tell the driver that is what you want and put in two singles. I brought 25 dollars in singles and used them throughout the trip to grease the skids during this film/digital/music festival that literally swamps the city. The younger people are there working for every web site, platform, and software developer out there, and then some you've never heard of before. They have booked all the downtown hotels, and this two-star motel is as close as you can get to Austin. I don't like staying at motels and I don't like two-stars. I tell myself, "It's gonna work"; that's all I can say. Read on. Here's a video: http://youtu.be/Mbdh6jNnGR0
This is a two-star motel (doors on the outside) in a four-star world, but here (in a 3-star Tripadvisor world) it gets a third star for cleanliness, convenience, price, and a number of pleasant surprises. If it's a football game or SXSW, stay here. If you can do better, go downtown and get into the city.
The Days Inn Downtown/University has a very nice and helpful staff. The buffet breakfast is good--yogurts, breads, and good coffee with half and half.
The Star Seeds Cafe, right next door, is open 24/7, managed very ably by and frequented at all hours by Richard Linklater types. Food and service are great. The northbound, or coming home, bus stop is right in front of the motel. The southbound one is across and down the street a couple of hundred yards. The area is cool, safe, like everything else in Austin: no-drama. Use your iPhone to chart the routes to get close to the Convention Center, when you exit the 37 at 10th and Congress. No problems. Same thing coming home when you need to transfer to the 37 at 10th and Congress. That's four separate bus rides at a buck a pop (or a single needed each time), which is why I recommend the day pass for two bucks.
Your iPhone will show a second Days Inn north of here. That's not you. Be careful. You are at the "Manor Road Days Inn," if you are on a bus or in a cab. I used the Star Seeds Cafe as a destination spot for my google maps app. We did a cab the first night from downtown: 10 bucks, 15 with tip. the dude driving was local color: said he could get us after-hours booze and so on. Somewhat similarly, an American pick-up driving down Congress carried a man who yelled at a crowd of us, "Go back to California," which is funny since we are from the East Coast. I yelled, "I wish." People looked at me. Don't bother with cabs or shuttles--the 37 comes along and gets you downtown best during SXSW.
Ask for a quiet room and hope you get 101 or one of the first floor rooms that is shielded from the I-35, which is nextdoor, by the Star Seeds Cafe building. We never heard the sounds from the highway in 101 on the corner. You can see it at the aptly named room-review video on youtube under JeffHfromOxford.
Inside, the rooms are clean. We dropped a couple of singles every day for the housekeeping staff. Everything was more than satisfactory. Mattress was comfortable; amenities were acceptable. The bath towels had an unpleasant odor, and the WiFi was a little sluggish, but everything else was fine. No workout facility, which was a disappointment, but walking around downtown was workout enough for us.
Tip: on the ride home on the bus, keep to yourself. The new-to-the-city, rural-male U-Texas students get liquored-up and are noisy on the buses. Otherwise, the drivers keep everything nailed down tight, and, like everything else in Austin, it's a very chilled out place to go. Dudes rock beards here like its the 1890s; it's that much of a slackers' paradise. Food is excellent all over the place. We recommend the sushi place, Imperium, on 2nd (quite expensive and quite good), and the Thai place on 6th (affordable, fun-loud, and big portions). We loved the death metal at Dirty Dog on 6th.
Ask for #101, shielded from I-35 noise by the Star Seeds Cafe.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC