by Sarah J.F. Braley | May 01, 2016
Local Update

The 319-room Hotel Van Zandt, a Kimpton hotel, opened last November with a signature restaurant, Geraldine's, serving Texas-inspired food and specialty drinks. The property's fourth-floor terrace features cabanas, a pool, and a bar overlooking Lady Bird Lake and downtown. For events, the hotel offers 12,000 square feet of meeting space.

 The AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center has renovated its 297 guest rooms. The property will open new meeting space in July 2017, including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom, 5,000 square feet of prefunction space and a 5,500-square-foot banquet kitchen. Currently, the center has 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Its restaurant, the Carillon, serves sustainable fare with seasonal ingredients.

 Scheduled for a 2017 debut is the 1,060-room Fairmont Austin Hotel, to be Fairmont's largest, which will be connected to the Austin Convention Center by skyway. The property will have 106,000 square feet of meeting space and a Willow Stream spa.

 The 194-room Hotel Granduca Austin has opened near the Wild Basin Nature Preserve just outside downtown. The property's six meeting rooms include a 3,506-square-foot ballroom with French doors opening to a courtyard. A heated saltwater pool, a spa and a fitness center are decorated with a Tuscan villa in mind, and the Italian theme extends to the Visconti Ristorante & Bar, which features Northern Italian cuisine using locally sourced ingredients.

 A double-branded property will occupy a new 23-story tower: The 260-room Aloft Austin Downtown and 150-room Element Austin Downtown are scheduled to open in early 2017.

 Hyatt's new Unbound Collection of independent properties includes the 189-room Driskill Hotel, which has more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space. An $8.8 million renovation, finished last November, upgraded the rooms, revamped the Driskill Grill, spiffed up the lobby and added power to the  hotel's WiFi.