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When I traveled to Austin a couple weeks ago, I decided to stay in the W Austin since I’d heard good things about it, and had already experienced some of the city’s other upscale properties like the Driskill and the Four Seasons. I also wanted to get elite stay credit as I work my way toward 75 nights (and the coveted 4 points per dollar and Your24 ability to check-in at all hours of the day).
The Upgrade Process
I originally just made a reservation in a Spectacular Non-smoking room. Then to put my suite upgrades into play, I logged into SPG.com immediately before my reservation, which was 6 days away. I pulled up my reservation and selected “Apply Suite Night Awards to this stay.” I selected every suite from the list of possible upgrades and submitted the upgrade request, since they recommend that increases your chances of the upgrade clearly. I immediately received an email confirming Starwood would search for upgrades and the system automatically checks for them starting five nights before your stay, and emails to inform you when and if your upgrade clears.
Luckily, the next day I got an email confirming the upgrade and another reservation email with the exact upgrade details: I was placed into a 550 square foot Cool Corner suite with a balcony. Awesome since I have had a heck of a time trying to get upgraded domestically – especially at W hotels.
The Cool Corner Suite was indeed pretty cool and spacious with a smallish living room, separate bedroom and shower areas. A lot of W’s seem to have a gray-on-gray-on-gray color scheme going on, but this room was bright and lively with lots of red, white and blue fabrics (very patriotic/Texas) and plenty of light from the corner windows.
The living room had a large sectional sofa and coffee table, and a hipster-ish tic-tac-toe game on an end table, as well as a wall-mounted flatscreen TV, a large workdesk with an internet hookup, the “Munchie” minibar and an iPod docking station.
The separate bedroom had a king-size W bed with Sferra linens, another flatscreen TV, LED accent lights, a red chaise lounge in the corner near the windows. The bathroom was done in sharp white tiles, and had a separate glass-enclosed shower and tub but just one sink, all stocked with the usual Bliss products.
The suite also had a great balcony overlooking a little rooftop lounge of the hotel and beyond to the lake.
Though I didn’t have time to go for a dip myself, the hotel had an inviting WET infinity pool where guests were hanging out, as well as one of the biggest hotel gyms I’ve ever seen – I try to work out on the road, but hotel gyms are usually horrible, so it’s nice to find one I’d actually like to work out in.
Austin is such a foodie destination these days that I figured the hotel’s restaurant, Trace, would be decent. The menu is supposed to be “locavore” cuisine featuring the best of Central Texas, but it just fell kind of flat for me, and I felt like it was a waste of a good meal in a great food town. I did get to the W Cafe for coffee and pastries in the morning as part of my Platinum continental breakfast amenity, though – not quite a breakfast buffet, but you could get eggs to go if you wanted and it was easy to grab and go on my way out of the hotel.
Overall, I had a great stay and would definitely stay again, though the rates are consistently very high. The lowest I could finagle was $319 for my stay, but this seems to be normal for Austin during busy times since there aren’t a whole lot of decent downtown hotel options (though plans were recently announced for a JW Marriott and Fairmont). This hotel is an SPG category 5, so 12,000 points a night or 4,800 points and $90 if you are lucky enough to find Cash & Points availability. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.