by Sarah J.F. Braley | May 01, 2015
Why here?
This Texas city welcomes groups -- even the bats that congregate around the Congress Avenue Bridge (pictured). Among new meeting venues is the JW Marriott, with 1,012 guest rooms. A 360-room Kimpton hotel debuts this summer, and a 1,060-room Fairmont is slated to open in 2017.

Soothing Sojourns
 Take a restorative break at the Lake Austin Spa Resort. The 40-room retreat has a 25,000-square-foot spa, healthy-cooking classes and more than 20 fitness options, such as kayaking, hydro-biking, hiking and yoga.

 Downtown spa-goers flock to the 291-room Four Seasons Hotel Austin, which offers eight treatment rooms for delights like the Signature Lavender-Lemongrass Journey.

Green Team
The Austin Convention Center is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and the LEED Gold-certified building has a green roof to reduce storm water runoff. For more about the venue's practices:

Winning Eateries
In March, featured the 10 Hottest Restaurants in Austin Right Now. On the list: Fixe, Austin's Southern House, featuring new takes on Old South cuisine.
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Local Update

The 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin debuted in February. The hotel is two blocks from the Austin Convention Center and has 112,000 square feet of its own meeting space. Among the eateries on-site are Osteria Pronto, a full-service regional Italian restaurant; Corner, focusing on Texas cuisine; and Burger Bar on Congress, a food-truck-style walk-up window. The new property is aiming for LEED Silver certification. Other features include a fitness center, a spa and an outdoor pool with an event deck.

 Ground was broken last November on the 1,060-room Fairmont Austin Hotel. The $370 million property, to be Fairmont's largest, will open in 2017 with 106,000 square feet of meeting space, including a deck that will host 1,200, and a Willow Stream spa. Details on the dining outlets have yet to be released. The building will connect to the Austin Convention Center via an aerial walkway.

 Construction began last December on a 23-story tower that will house two new Starwood hotels: the 260-room Aloft Austin Downtown and 150-room Element Austin Downtown. Both are set to open in early 2017.

 In July, a new boutique Kimpton property will open in the historic downtown Rainey Street District. The 360-room, music-themed Hotel Van Zandt will have 12,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 500 people.

 Debuting this summer just outside of town is the 195-room Sonesta Bee Cave Austin, part of the Hill Country Galleria complex featuring dining, shopping and entertainment. The property will include an outdoor swimming pool and sun deck, a fully equipped fitness center, a lounge, a rooftop bar and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

 Work continues on the 224-room Sheraton Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center in the nearby suburb's Summit at Rivery Park development, which will open in 2016. Features include 30,000 square feet of meeting space, a signature restaurant, an outdoor pool and a fitness facility.