I don’t get to travel much for my job, which is a blessing with two small children in the house. Outside of silicon valley / SF Bay area where I live, Austin, TX is cited as the other major tech hub. I hadn’t been there in a year, and last time I stayed at the Hyatt Place near the convention center. This year, I attended a tech conference that was held at the JW Marriott Austin.
It is the largest JW Marriott in North America, with over 1,012 guest rooms, 120,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, is two blocks from the Austin Convention Center. The conference center has multiple ballrooms, and floors 2-5 make up the conference center. The second floor has a Starbucks, and for dining options there is a Burger Bar outside, The Corner, and Osteria Pronto.
One thing I will complain about is that there are no ice machines on the room floors. According to a little sign on the ice bucket, there are only ice machines on the 5th floor or you have to call someone to get you ice. When I’m working in my hotel room, I like to have access to the beverages I’ve purchased and ICE. I don’t want to have to tip someone to get me ice, and it is strange taking the elevator from the 10th floor down to the 5th to get some ice.
Bedding was great, and the air conditioning was very responsive. I did feel that the blankets felt lightweight. I’m used to sleeping with something heavy on me, so the light blankets felt slightly off. Free Wi-Fi for Marriott members, otherwise it is $14.95 per day. You have to “purchase” the WiFi in the room, but it gets deducted from your bill if you are a member. I like the fact that they have USB charging both at the desk and on the bedside table.
Parking is very expensive – $43 per day for valet parking, $30+ per day for self parking.
I had dinner at the Corner Restaurant, sitting at the bar watching a game (I didn’t feel like venturing out in the rain). I had the flat iron steak with tomato panzanella (soggy bread soaked in the vinaigrette), chimichurri, and blue cheese as well as the smoked gouda mac & cheese. The acidity in the tomato panzanella and the chimichurri really highlighted the flat iron steak. A definite winner.