“The ceaselessly-cool South Congress spot is home to one of Austin's most iconic micheladas, which skips the tomato element, instead going for soy, Worcestershire, Tabasco, lime juice and black pepper, all paired with a classic Mexican beer. It's the perfect thing for those warm days by the hotel's see-and-be-seen pool.”
“If you want to be in the center of the action, stay on South Congress Avenue. Specifically, in Hotel San José. Originally built in 1939 as a motor lodge, the forty-room property was renovated by hotelier Liz Lambert about twenty years ago and has since developed a big fan base.”
“Gotta give props to the first place that ever served me frozé. The setting is so great—a laid back, tucked away patio on buzzy South Congress. You can easily spot famous musicians mingling with the locals here. I recommend sitting at the edge of the pool, dangling your feet in the water while sipping on this adult version of a Slurpee.”
“Bungalow-style accommodations and a hip crowd make this South Congress hotel, designed by Liz Lambert, a standout in Austin's coolest neighborhood.”
"This urban bungalow—think concrete floors and minimal furnishings—is, unequivocally, a scene."
"This minimalist hotel, originally built as a 1930s motor court, now brings a sense of simplicity and calm to its guests. The Hotel San José has a private garden courtyard with a lounge and pool. Yes, you can find your way to the Hotel San José—it’s in the popular South Congress district."
"The 40 rooms have since morphed into tranquil digs with a Texas-meets-Tokyo design aesthetic (picture concrete floors and custom kimonos alongside vintage music posters and leather chairs). Accommodations range from modest shared-bath rooms to suites overlooking the hotel’s pool and ivy-covered courtyard (a favorite meeting place for locals)."
Last Days of the San José
Liz Lambert left her job as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's office in 1994 and returned to her native Texas to work in the Attorney General's office in Austin. She used to hang out at the Continental Club on South Congress Avenue with her friend (club owner) Steve Wertheimer and fantasize about the rundown old 1930's hotel across the street. In those days, South Congress was a bad part of town and the hotel was a haven of drugs, crime and cyclical poverty. In a stroke of luck or destiny, Liz approached the owners on a whim to find out they had just put the property up for sale. She bought the hotel thinking she'd renovate it one room at a time, but reality set in and she ended up running the hotel in its existing state as a low rent residential hotel for several years while she worked on funding to renovate. In the course of chronicling her experiences with the residents of the hotel on video camera, she ended up making a documentary called Last Days of the San Jose that casts an interesting light on human relationships in gentrification and urban renewal.
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