While the Texas state legislature gathers in the Capitol (pictured) only in odd-numbered years, Austin perpetually hosts visiting groups of all stripes -- as do Dallas and other major Texan cities. With attendees flocking to new hotels and attractions, the Lone Star State is anything but lonely.DoubleTree Debuts•
The DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas-Love Field,
a recent conversion, features 244 guest rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space. Dining options include the Lobby Café and the Sports Page Grill.•
The new DoubleTree by Hilton Galveston Beach,
also a multimillion-dollar conversion, offers 97 guest rooms with ocean views, and more than 2,600 square feet of meeting space.Instant boardroom
Austin's 40-room Hotel San José
has no meeting space per se, but it can turn one of its suites into a 425-square-foot boardroom for up to 16 people in just an hour.
Get Out the Pom-Poms
Guests at the Omni Dallas
can sign up for military-style workouts led by Jay Johnson, official fitness trainer of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 a.m. for $10.
A new Kimpton property opens in the historic downtown Rainey Street District in September. The 360-room music-themed Hotel Van Zandt
will have 12,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 500 people.•
Just outside of town, the 195-room Sonesta Bee Cave Austin
debuted in July as part of the Hill Country Galleria complex. The hotel includes 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.•
The 366-room Westin Austin Downtown
has opened. Paying homage to the city's musical roots, the lobby features a giant guitar made with charred blocks of wood. Eclectic Southern cuisine is served at Stella San Jac, and the 13,500 square feet of meeting space includes 16 breakout rooms named after musicians or venues.•
The 1,060-room Fairmont Austin Hotel,
to be Fairmont's largest, will open in 2017. The $370 million property will have 106,000 square feet of meeting space, including a deck that will host 1,200, and a Willow Stream spa. An aerial walkway will connect the hotel to the Austin Convention Center.•
A new 23-story tower will house two new Starwood properties -- the 260-room Aloft Austin Downtown
and 150-room Element Austin Downtown.
Both hotels are scheduled to open in early 2017.Meeting Hotels:
Properties downtown include the 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin, 800-room Hilton Austin, 492-room Renaissance Austin Hotel and 448-room Hyatt Regency Austin Downtown. Among nearby resorts are the 491-room Hyatt Regency Lost Pines and 309-room Omni Barton Creek.
To find and compare hotels, and to send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.Convention Center: Austin Convention Center;
exhibit space, 247,052 square feet; meeting rooms, 54; (512) 404-4000Airport Transit:
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, eight miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $20; by shuttle, $18; by bus, $1; by Super Shuttle, $21Taxes:
Room tax, 9%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on rooms, 15%Group Venue:
Lake Travis, a reservoir outside Austin, was created in 1942 when the Colorado River was backed up by the Mansfield Dam and is now a major recreation spot. New for groups is an on-site event venue, Mansfield on Lake Travis,
with panoramic views over the waters. The facility welcomes up to 675 for a reception and 480 for dinner. Contact: Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau,