The Austin Marriott Downtown, one of many projects in the area delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, became the first of its kind to cross a finish line of sorts. The 31-story hotel located at 304 East Cesar Chavez Street opened to the public Thursday, past the originally scheduled date but ahead of other major downtown projects with rescheduled projected openings.
Designed by HKS architects, with DPR Construction as the general contractor, the building broke ground in 2017 and was officially completed on schedule in June 2020.
Thursday was also the day Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's announced that he is ending statewide mask mandate as of March 10—a turn of events that will likely have an effect on the hospitality industry, although what kind of effect remains to be seen. The new hotel will follow the Marriott chain's Commitment to Clean protocols, which include mandated mask wearing for all guests and associates within the hotel, and has public spaces that accommodate social distancing. Contactless check-in and check-out are also available.
Owned and operated by White Lodging, the 700,000-square-foot Marriott Downtown offers 613 guest rooms, 25 suites, and 60,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as parking. The hotel also features Corinne restaurant, a two-story cocktail bar called the Lobbyist, and upscale convenience store/coffee shop Loaf + Vine. Rooftop terrace restaurant Zanzibar, which opened in September along with the pool deck, rounds out the food-and-beverage offerings.
To localize things a bit, Central Texas limestone and native cedar are used throughout the hotel interiors, by Simeone Deary Design Group. Another nod to Austin's state-capital status is the Lobbyist, a two-story cocktail bar with a grand staircase entry that overlooks (appropriate) the lobby—though its floor-to-ceiling windows might technically make it too light and airy for any true backroom dealings. The hotel also features murals with local motifs—the Texas state bird (the mockingbird), for instance, or geometries that reference Austin's moon towers—by local artist Heath Speakman of street-art-based SprATX.