Site Visit: Hotel Van Zandt 

By Hayley Panagakis, August 3, 2015

Surrounded with design inspired by singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt, whose tunes have been recorded by artists like Willie Nelson, attendees can’t help but face the music at meetings held at the new Hotel Van Zandt – A Kimpton Hotel in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World. Opened in September, the 319-room property is rooted in music, with trumpet-infused chandeliers throughout the lobby and a living room space near check-in adorned with a fireplace, high-back couches, and a record player and vinyl collection for guests’ use.

Designer Mark Zeff spent months scouring Texas for art pieces for the hotel, says Joe Pagone, general manager, noting each guest room has its own personality with touches of music or art, such as an old playbill or concert posters. Even the meeting spaces have lyrical flair, adds Pagone, with one space planned to display a music-themed piece created by Van Zandt’s son, paying homage to his late father.

The hotel has 12,000 square feet of meeting space across the first and second floors. The 5,200-sq.-ft. Lady Bird Ballroom has 30-ft. windows overlooking Lady Bird Lake, where attendees can partake in teambuilding events such as kayak and paddleboat racing, or explore nature on hiking and biking trails. Outside the ballroom is a 2,300-sq.-ft. prefunction space where the adjoining 1,200-sq.-ft. Lady Bird Studio opens up with bi-fold doors to an area that can be set up with bars and food stations.

Located two blocks from the 881,000-sq.-ft. Austin Convention Center, Hotel Van Zandt is seated between Red River Street, the city’s main music hub, and Rainey Street, where attendees can imbibe in handcrafted beers and snack on sausages like the Turducken—a mashup of turkey, duck and chicken—at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Geraldine’s, has Texas-style cuisine and live music seven days a week. The fourth-floor Pool Deck (shown above) has an outdoor fireplace and bar with views of the lake and is well-suited for themed receptions such as an elegant barbecue, says Pagone. 

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