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“San Jose Is Great -- But Be Sure You Get the Right Room!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel San Jose

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Hotel San Jose
2.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1316 S Congress, Austin, TX 78704   |  
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Hotel amenities
Announcement
San Jose Spring Brunch
Ranked #21 of 191 Hotels in Austin
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Washington, DC
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
161 helpful votes 161 helpful votes
“San Jose Is Great -- But Be Sure You Get the Right Room!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2005

My husband and I have stayed at the SJH several times, most recently for 3 nites over the 2005 Christmas holiday. I am a native Austinite transplanted to the East Coast, and this hotel has achieved something very stylish and cool, and I think it's one of the things that's great about Austin. If you are into the luxe Four Seasons type of hotel, however, it is not the place for you. Even though I've stayed here before, I was a bit taken aback when there was no bellman to assist with the bags, no turndown service, no chocolates on the pillow, no concierge. On the plus side, there is a great collection of CDs from which you can borrow and a collection of DVDs that guests can rent for $2 bucks. And the grounds are very relaxing.

We've been coming here over the past five years, and I noticed on this visit that the hotel is getting a little scruffy and the rooms could use a bit of sprucing up. For example, one of the two rooms in which we stayed during our visit had a bathroom in which several of the bathroom floor tiles were missing, giving the room a rundown look. The windows were positively filthy. No problem for a hotel that charged half the prices of this one, but for these prices, I expect the place to be kept up meticulously.

ONE HUGE caveat, be sure and ask for the right room when you reserve. We reserved a grand suite, and most of the rooms in this category are located on the back side of the hotel. We were given this room upon checking in. There is currently construction going on near the hotel, and we woke up to the sound of jackhammers at around 8:30 am. The traffic is also quite noisy for these rooms. We asked to be switched to any different room and were initially told that the only room available was pretty much identical to the one we were in. But then we were switched to room 40 -- and it was a big improvement. The room is just much nicer, with its own private patio and a view into the hotel courtyard. In short, when reserving, I'd ask them to describe where the room is located, and ask for one that is away from the road and construction.

Also, I noticed that the prices appear to have been increased yet again. (We reserved in October, and got a significantly cheaper rate.) I travel quite a bit, and I think the hotel is or is just about to be at the point of being overpriced. A grand suite here is $285 over the weekend, with the Four Seasons (right down the road) charging $325 -- and this hotel isn't the Four Seasons.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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272 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Chicago
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2005

Many of the reviews I've read indicate that the SJH is the only place to stay in Austin.

This is a very cool hotel. My girlfriend and I (urban and 30ish) spent the weekend in Austin to relax during the day and take in some shows at night. The room we had was very relaxing. The beds were incredibly comfortable. The decor and lighting of the room lent a very relaxing vibe. The staff was courteous. The hotel has a great coffee house in the parking lot with a great outdoor scene.

The area is touted as the hippest part of Austin, which gave me visions of a smaller Lower East Side, Wicker Park, Cambridge, etc.. However, the area is somewhat suburban with just a handful of resale stores, restaurants and bars (most notably the Cafe Continental) over a few long blocks that quickly transition into a residential area. You can't hail a cab on South Congress, so it makes getting downtown or anywhere else a pain.

It's a great hotel, but if you're planning on spending your time downtown and like to make your travels by foot, you should consider a downtown hotel (especially if the price is lower).

Last, the hotel bar is overrated for the out-of-town guest. The scene consists of small groups from the neighborhood who stick to their own table. You're not going to meet anyone interesting, since there's no social interaction between the tables.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2005

Do you like to sleep on vacation? If your answer is yes, run as fast as you can from the Hotel San Jose. Paper thin walls and floors above. The bar, which can be a very nice scene for the bar patrons, precludes your use of the pool unless you enjoy exhibitionism. Trendy decor and design, tres hip, alas tragically so for a good night's rest.
Do you like your concerns given some attention or at least acknowledged. Forget it at the Hotel San Jose. A request for an extra pillow was initially denied followed by a very begrudging offer of one pillow for two people. Two e-mailed comments to the manager following our stay were both ignored.
Please spend your money elsewhere.

Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
153 helpful votes 153 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2005

I'm not sure why some of the reviews are negative: the place is laid back (like the town it's in), it's not expensive (even the hell hole Days Inn is $80 a night including taxes) and the staff couldn't be more helpful.

The rooms are sparse, cool and quiet, they love pets, the pool is the perfect size. For the most part, their wine bar is not loud, and is a casual way to end your day. Plus there's a great coffee bar next door. On top of all this, they will rent you DVDs, be extremely helpful about directions and restaurant advice, and often will check you in early (we checked in at 10.30am on this visit).

A great place to stay that's just a stone's throw from the center of the city!

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jakarta, Indonesia
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2005

(See my trip review on the Austin forum)We were staying at the Hotel San Jose on South Congress and they were showing Great Balls of Fire in the parking lot behind Jo's coffee shack when we arrived. Very cool idea, wish we'd got there earlier.
As we only booked the trip last Saturday and arrived Thursday, the San Jose only had a Petite Suite available $200 for Thurs/ $220 for Friday. I tried to barter on the price to no avail but generally we don't mind paying for decent hotels.
Check-in was swift, a bit surly but that's ok. Went to our suite (No 12) which was right opposite the courtyard bar area, we had a couple of chairs outside the room too.
OK, so the thing about the San Jose is that it is marketed as funky and funky it is. Cowhide rug on the stripped floor, wet room style shower, Walt Whitman poem pinned to the bathroom wall. Very nice details; good quality towels, organic bath products, bottled Rainwater in the room. you get the picture. I love all these touches but my Husband was more focused on the impracticality of the suite!
There were 2 shelves in the bathroom and a low rail to place your clothes on but no storage elsewhere. Main gripe was that the bed was just a double size and quite uncomfortable...uh oh!
There was a sofa which I guess qualifies the room as a suite but it was also not comfy enough to want to lounge in your room. This opinion comes from The Husband - Cheap furniture hidden behind quality bathroom fittings, toiletries and very nice communal areas, someone is making a lot of money without a huge investment.
SoCo is a great little area. Wonderful coffee and huge freshly-baked muffins at Jo's next door to the San Jose. Yummy ice-cream across the road at Amy's!
I could recommend the San Jose hotel to several friends who would adore it. We enjoyed the bar which was very relaxed and there is a small pool too that we didn't try out as it was pretty full. For us though, on our first trip to Austin, we should have stayed Downtown to eliminate so much walking in 100 degree heat!!!
We ate at Shady Grove, great lemonade and possibly the best sandwich I've ever had, the Hippie Chick! It was really busy but the service was excellent.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2005

After all the hype, we decided to stay at the San Jose for a weekend getaway. For the price (we paid nearly $200 / night), I expected...

* To be told that the hotel would be hosting a loud party on the patio (immediately outside our room) until after midnight.

* For the hotel staff to monitor the pool (also right outside our room) and ask the naked people to go back to their room (they were engaged in behavior that would have gotten them arrested anywhere else in public)

* A bellman to help with bags.

* Ability and desire of the staff to be able to provide accurate directions to well known restaurants.

* Covered (or at least secure) parking.

My advice: go elsewhere.

  • Stayed April 2003
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2005

I wish every city had a hotel like this...quaint, personable, fashionable, comfortable, clean and affordable. This place has so much personality--it's even popular with the locals because of the elegant and funky courtyard bar and the groovy coffee shop next door. Our room was simple and hip and the bed was extremely comfy. Staff was gracious from the get-go. I'd stay here on every visit to Austin...my only fear is the rates will increase as it gains popularity.

  • Stayed April 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel San Jose

Address: 1316 S Congress, Austin, TX 78704
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Texas > Austin
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#27 Romantic Hotel in Austin
#55 Business Hotel in Austin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:2 star — Hotel San Jose 2*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel San Jose is located on South Congress Avenue, a few blocks south of where the Colorado River runs through downtown Austin. Originally built in 1939 as an "ultramodern motor court," the San Jose has since been transformed into a secluded urban bungalow-style hotel in the heart of one of the city's most beloved neighborhoods. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
San Jose Austin
Hotel San Jose Austin
San Jose Hotel Austin

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