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“great idea - ill conceived” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Habitat Suites Hotel

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Habitat Suites Hotel
Ranked #47 of 197 Hotels in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“great idea - ill conceived”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 18, 2008

This was my third stay at Habitat Suites, but I won't be going back. While I always seek out independently owned establishments, and while the "green" imperative of Habitat is a plus, the "cons" too heavily outweighed the "pros" on my recent stay. The structure appears to be a circa-80s or 90s condo complex converted into a hotel - a great idea! However, to be as green as the claim, more updates are definitely needed. The bathroom fixtures are old, and undoubtedly wasteful, while the air conditioning system is similarly aged and, in the case of my stay, not maintained (the unit in my room had frozen over as occurred frequently in my college apt - more the m.o. of slumlords trying to coax too many years with minimal freon out of an old system). The pool area and surrounding gardens are very nice, the suites are spacious, and thus I happily overlooked the other issues on previous stays. It was the customer service, or lack thereof, that will have me looking elsewhere during my next stay in Austin. The gentleman on hand for the breakfasts and manning the bar during the manager's receptions, in particular, is among the least well-suited personalities I've ever encountered in the hospitality industry - the guy is downright hateful. Other problems encountered a diy expectation that proved tiresome - need towels? you have to come and get them...remote control doesn't work? you can come to the office and get batteries...air conditioning broken? you can move to another unit (and no, we won't even offer to help - come and get the key). I couldn't wait to leave. Having just stayed at 2 friendly places in both Houston and San Antonio, the insolence of the staff of Habitat Suites appeared in even greater relief.

  • Liked — the green concept (if not always the execution)
  • Disliked — the surly bartender/breakfast person
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nomadologista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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542 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (120)
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English first
Deerfield Beach, Fl
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 18, 2008

A very green experience. Clean hotel. Friendly honest staff that go out of their way for you. A true Austin experience. However, I am not sure I would stay again. The low flow shower head and the dim fluorescent light bulbs were an annoyance. How much water do you save if it takes you 3 x's longer to shower? Fluorescent light bulbs are a great idea if there is enough light to see at night. If not, maybe scatter them w/ some regular bulbs so a girl can read after the sun goes down! I would come back b/c of the staff, the large clean room, and the property was nice. A little tucked away behind a mall, but once you find it, it's close enough to everything and the highway. Get good directions there. My definite recommendation, get a GPS for your car/rental. It will save you many arguments w/ your significant other. Getting around Austin can be a bit confusing.

  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank tinabeana29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pearland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 29, 2008

Stayed at this hotel 2 nights in April. Have to say it was one of the most pleasent hotel experiences I have had in a while. The staff is very friendly and the suites are large and inviting. The cherry on the cake- a delicious hot breakfast every morning.

  • Liked — great location, beautiful grounds, hot breakfast (free), nice & comfortable room
  • Disliked — ummm....nada
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank luv2trvl68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenwood Lake
Level Contributor
34 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2008

This hotel is very special - it is like an oasis in the middle of a shopping mall. They have vegetables growing in the ground alongside the walkways to the rooms. The outdoor pool has fresh water pouring into it from fountains along the side. The breakfast is spectacular! - organic choices, salsa, fresh fruit, amazing! The rooms are suites - meaning that the bedroom is separate - and there is a full kitchen. The fixtures seem a little dated but clean, and the staff is so very friendly. The location is right off of several major highways, but you don't feel like you are surrounded by traffic at all. Somehow, it is a soothing and comfortable environment - I don't know how they do it. The price is very reasonable for the Austin area. When I stayed there, the wi-fi was not good in the rooms but it was fine in the dining area and the lobby.

  • Liked — Location, pool, breakfast, happy hour, big big room, all the gardens and plants!
  • Disliked — Getting a little old, needs a facelift
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Harborhome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denton, TX
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2007

I'd been looking for a decently priced, unique place to stay for a weekend in Austin, and I'm glad I stumbled on this place through Google just two days before our stay. We'll definitely come back -- it's got more character and doesn't cost too much more than a run-of-the-mill motel, but it's still less than a B&B or a downtown hotel.

Habitat Suites is tucked away by a mall, chain stores and the highway, but it was a pretty easy drive to Maker Faire, the university and our favorite restaurants, and it was the right price for us. My husband and I had a one-bedroom suite with a king-size bed for $89 a night (much lower than the $127 listed on the website).

The hotel isn't a hundred percent "green," but the clerk did say, "We try to do what we can." Our toilet seemed to be an old-style water hog, but when it does get replaced it'll be with a more efficient model. This is a hotel that's gradually incorporated more eco-friendly methods over the years. The sofas, cabinets, bed and dressers were new, though the fridge, stove, dishwasher and bathroom fixtures are not -- but using things that seem dated is in some ways better than sending still-usable appliances to the landfill. Our suite was clean, neat and comfy. at any rate.

There are other greener methods you might not notice but which the hotel has detailed in a lengthy pamphlet -- vinegar and baking soda used in cleaning, chemical-free red cedar used for the balconies and stairs, emission-free paint, a few solar panels, etc.

We liked the alternative options at breakfast: kukicha (twig) tea, tasty rice and beans, maple syrup and local honey, hot whole-grain oats, fresh fruit and organic yogurt. The 5-to-7 p.m. happy hour had decent, if not great, snacks billed as hors d'oeuvres (nachos, fruit, rice crackers, pretzels, nuts, flautas, etc.) and libations (beer and wine, three drink maximum).

We loved the organic gardens around the grounds -- the clerk told us we could eat whatever vegetables we found, though nothing was really in season. But you'd find enough basil to make a pesto and plenty of rosemary to cook with. Butternut squash was ripening, and the crew was planting some new lettuce seedlings. The pecans from the tree outside our suite were great -- just wished I'd brought a nutcracker.

  • Liked — organic gardens and landscaping
  • Disliked — the location, but it's an easy drive to most Austin sites
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank rascality
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Angelo, Texas
Level Contributor
58 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2007

We were in Austin recently for a wedding and a block of rooms at the Habitat Suites was booked for the event at a group price. Compared to other hotels in Austin, the price was great. However, I was underimpressed with the hotel itself. Don't get me wrong, it was nice, clean and comfortable. But the whole idea of it being a "green" hotel was ruined by the fact that the bathtub faucet ran continuously and another member of our party reported the same with the toilet. It would seem to me that if the owners were all that concerned with the environment, they would not allow such a waste of a precious resource. Although it was convenient to major thouroughfares and to the wedding venue, there wasn't a good eating place nearby and the only shopping was at Highland Mall (right across the street) - no grocery or drug stores close by that we could find. The swimming pool was locked up due to repairs. The breakfast was good, but the dining room staff were surly and rude. We had a large group and on our last morning, about 8 of us wanted to eat breakfast together. We started moving some of the tables together and were rudely told that we could not do that. The manager told us we could use an adjoining room, and I picked up a salt and pepper shaker to take in there. A few minutes later, one of the dining room workers came in, took some salt and pepper shakers out of a cabinet and grabbed the ones I took. She practically slammed the shakers down on the table and had a look on her face like we were a major inconvience to her. Understandable if the dining room had been busy, less so considering it was nearly empty at the time. On the plus side, the manager was friendly, helpful and quick to respond when needed. This was my second stay - I stayed there in August when I was in town for the wedding shower and the manager had given me the wedding group rate for that stay as well. In that way, he went over and beyond.

Like I said, it was just ok. I would not choose it again since next time I go to Austin, I will not need to be close to this wedding venue but more because I just was not that impressed.

  • Liked — The convenience to the wedding venue
  • Disliked — The dining room staff and the water that ran continuously.
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Traveln_Texan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2007

Habitat Suites was a very nice place for the money. It had a great breakfast and cocktail hour included. Pool and grounds were nice and clean. Rooms had kitchenette and were eco friendly. Very nice staff. The only down sides were that the mattress was very hard and location was a bit out of the way.

  • Liked — breakfast
  • Disliked — mattress
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Katinator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Habitat Suites Hotel

Property: Habitat Suites Hotel
Address: 500 E Highland Mall Blvd, Austin, TX 78752-3722
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Texas > Austin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Austin
#29 Romantic Hotel in Austin
#37 Family Hotel in Austin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Habitat Suites Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 96
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Habitat Suites is a relaxed green oasis in North Central Austin. We are a locally-owned independent hotel with a focus on spacious suites, organic edible gardens and an unrelenting dedication to guest comfort and green energy practices. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Habitat Hotel Austin

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