Check out these GREAT photos from the Driskill! We were lucky enough to stay here while in Austin and I can easily say that it ranks as one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in! Its only competition would be West Baden Springs in Indiana.
Here are some facts about the Driskill, from a fact sheets provided at the front desk:
In 1886 Jesse Driskill opens the Driskill Hotel. The Daily Statesman calls it "One of the Finest Hotels in the Whole Country." It is estimated to cost $400,000, or about $92 million today.
In 1887 The Driskill hosts its first inaugural ball for the newly elected Texas Governor establishing a tradition.
In 1890, four months after the death of Jesse Driskill, the hotel purchases a life sized portrait of the hotel's founder. It stands in the lobby today.
Lyndon Baines Johnson meets his future wife for their first date here in 1934. LBJ would utilize the hotel in the 1960s to await election results to see if his Vice Presidential campaign was successful. In 1964 he would await election results to see if he was re-elected President.
The front desk also gave me a sheet on the ghost lore associated with the hotel. It notes that Johnette Napolitano, lead singer of one of my favorite bands Concrete Blonde, wrote "Ghost of a Texas Ladies' Man" inspired by her stay at the Driskill!
We arrived on a busy, rainy night. We went ahead and did the valet parking as traffic was rough in the area, and we weren't sure about garage parking. We ended up dealing with several bellhops and valets while we were there, and they were all exceptional.
One named Josh helped us several times, and ended up talking to us a lot about the area, and things to do. We also had a great waiter in the 1886 Café named Edison. He was amazing too. Service at the Driskill was uncompromised.
More on the service- one day we asked housekeeping for some extra tea. Instead of handing us some extra tea bags, they brought us a tray of teas and condiments with fresh lemons. VERY classy.
We spent a couple of evenings in the 1886 Café, where Edison told us old recipes were used in many of the meals served there. I had to try the cheese soup which was great!
There is beautiful and unique original art all over the Driskill. Lining the halls to the rooms, there are high quality paintings. We took time to admire the art on several floors. I took some pictures of the paintings but they do not translate well to photo. it was a treat going around and seeing all of the museum quality original paintings.
One evening we were walking back to our room and there was a very talented trio playing music in the main restaurant area. As we walked by, I recognized the first few chords of "Bertha". We stuck around and listened to a great cover of one of my all time favorite Dead songs. Sometimes a great place, a great moment, and great live music all come together and you have a magical moment. This was one of them for me.
I could very easily go on and on about the nice experiences we had at the Driskill. The hotel is historic and comfortable and I am so glad that we were able to visit.