Thursday, August 25, 2011

Combining Work and Play: the Perfect Business Trip in Austin, Texas



Travel and Food Notes welcomes PJ MacInnis, a fellow road warrior with a passion for baseball and sightseeing. He shares some of his recent finds from a business trip to Austin, Texas here.

We’ve all traveled for work countless times for that short little trip a few hours away or to a different time zone. But how much do we really get to see of those places that we visit? When I’ve traveled for work it usually goes like this: I see the airport first, next it’s either a taxi or rental car, and then it's off to the hotel. There you check in, setup on email and catch up or prepare for the next day. Then you do your business thing and it’s back home before you know it. After many years on the road, I’ve learned to stretch the trip to include local sightseeing and fun.

The recent trip I took to Austin, TX was a special one. It started just like every other one: airport, taxi, hotel, meetings at the corporate office all day, hanging with my co-workers for some events outside the city, and then back to the hotel. Repeat. This time I decided to spice things up a bit. Here’s what I recommend:

Barton Creek Resort & Spa (8212 Barton Club Drive Austin, Texas 78735 Phone: 512.329.4000) Definitely stay here. Great facilities, great staff, great pool. And the staff will treat you like family.

W Austin (200 Lavaca St Austin, TX 78701 phone 512-542-3600) When you want to be close to the fun of Downtown, you need to stay at the W Austin. Close to everything -- running the Lady Bird Lake Trail, 6th Street, awesome restaurants (Lamberts, and Eddie V's, or even just eating in the hotel). Of note, especially when the weather is a scorching 106 degrees, the wait staff from "Wet"(the pool bar) were great and did their best to keep us cool.

Eddie V's
, (301 East 5th St Austin, TX 78701 512-472-1860) - the best place in Austin for dinner. Try the Chilean Sea Bass Steamed "Hong Kong" style.

Lamberts (401 w 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701 phone 512-494-1500) Close to the W with a great vibe. Order the spicy deviled eggs and wild boar ribs to start, then pulled pork and cold smoked Bandera quail. Quite an eclectic combination but delicious.

Austin’s slogan, "Keep Austin Weird," means fun. You will see anything and everything on a Saturday night in Austin. If you’re open-minded, the bar/club Kiss & Fly (404 Colorado Austin, TX 78701 512-476-7799)is an interesting choice. It’s great for dancing and the people watching is also great.

One closing piece of advice: If you have the time, the best way to see the city is on a weekend and early in the morning on foot. You can hear the sounds of the place you are visiting at your own speed.

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