Hilton Austin Bergstrom Airport (yeah, the one shaped like a spacecraft)

Hilton Austin Bergstrom Airport (yeah, the one shaped like a spacecraft)

Well folks, I’ve got good news and bad news. Actually, the more I think about it, I think it’s just good news all around. You see, when I first started writing detailed trip reports way back in 2013, I was really gung ho on the idea of documenting every single portion of each and every one of my trips – and to be honest I’m really surprised that I stuck with it for this long. From airline reviews to hotel reviews to lounge reviews and everything in between, it’s been fun writing about my travels and hopefully providing you, the reader, with useful data which you could use to guide your own travel decisions.

Unfortunately (I mean fortunately), this review of the Hilton at the Austin Bergstrom Airport is the last run-of-the-mill hotel review I’m doing here on sanspotter.com – or anywhere else. I’m not giving up hotel reviews entirely, but from now on, I’m going to be a lot more selective about the hotels I choose to write about.

It all comes down the fact that this blog is my full-time job now (along with a couple other projects) and spending entire days writing reviews of generic chain hotels that don’t provide any real value isn’t a very good use of my time. 99% of my daily traffic consists of visitors reading airline reviews and nothing else, and I guess I’ve come to the realization that it’s those airline reviews which have built the SANspotter brand – not reviews of yawn-inducing hotels such as this!

Some of my reviews of fancy-pants hotels (such as the Sheraton Grand Dubai and St Regis Beijing) get a small trickle of daily traffic, but other reviews of cookie cutter hotels (such as the Holiday Inn Express in Bellingham, WA and Comfort Suites in Salem, VA) are essentially dead in my archives and therefore I am making the executive decision to stop writing about that kind of stuff. Nobody seems to be searching for it, and I’m totally ok with that – to be honest I don’t have much interest in these lower-tier hotels anyway and I was just doing the reviews because I thought I had to. It’s obvious that airline reviews are what you (and first time visitors) want, so that’s what I’m going to focus all my energy on!

Let’s get on with the review…

Starting out with first impressions is a great way to start a review, and it was super easy to be slapped in the face with a really good one as far as a mile away as I was driving up to this property for the very first time. Right away, even before seeing it up close, it immediately reminded me of the sparkly new circular Apple headquarters up north in Cupertino. Who would’ve thought that the architects for that billion dollar HQ got their inspiration for that design from an airport hotel deep in the heart of Texas? The things you learn while traveling…

Location map of the Hilton near Austin Bergstrom Airport
Location map of the Hilton at Austin Bergstrom Airport. Trust me…you can’t miss it.
Hilton Austin Bergstrom Airport
WTF? I had to pull my phone out of my pocket and check Google Maps to make sure that I wasn’t standing at 1 Apple Park Way in Cupertino. All these spaceship buildings looks the same!

It was certainly the most unique looking airport hotel that I’ve ever seen, at least on the outside. Standing alone out there in a large green field, big and bold, with what looked like really easy access to the airport – it has a presence! I mean, if you are a traveler who just arrived at AUS and you were in need of a room for the night very close to the airport, how could you not choose this hotel based on looks alone?

Unfortunately, the interior of this magnificent building didn’t quite match the exterior. Sure, it looked like a giant spaceship from the inside, but the decor was cookie-cutter airport Hilton and to be honest it was so generic that it could’ve been a Marriott or a Courtyard Inn for all I knew. All of these low to mid-tier chain hotels look the same anyway, and it’s kind of a bummer that they didn’t take advantage of the unique floor plan to make it something really special inside.

Hilton Austin airport hotel interior
Remember the old Price is Right game show on TV? And do you recall the sad music they played when a contestant incorrectly guessed the price of a can of lima beans and had to do the walk of shame back to their seat? That was the music echoing through my head as I walked through the main entrance and saw this.
Hilton Austin airport reception desk
An entire building shaped like a spacecraft, and this is the best they could come up with for the reception desk?
Hilton Austin airport hotel lobby
It wouldn’t surprise me if they ran out of budget during the construction that they didn’t have anything left over for the interior. Hey, I’ve worked in the corporate world long enough to know that stuff like that actually happens, so it’s totally plausible in this case.
Hilton Austin airport atrium
That poor tree. Imagine the horror of watching an entire structure being built around you, completely cutting you off the outside world, and you had no way to stop it from happening. Looks like there’s still some construction going on though, so maybe they’re going to bring in a lady tree to keep him company…
Hilton Austin airport hotel bar
A mini football stadium with a generic hotel bar at the center – that’s pretty much what it felt like in here.
Hilton Austin airport hotel hallway
OK, this was the trippiest hotel hallway that I’ve ever been in. I could almost feel the vertigo coming on as I walked around and around and around completely lost and unable to get my bearings. If you’ve never walked around inside a large circular ring before, it’s a really weird experience!
 Hilton Austin airport review
I was so happy to have found my room that I completely forgot to take a picture of the room number plaque like I always do. The mental stress of walking around an infinite ring definitely got this hotel review off to a bad start, so my sincerest apologies for that.
Austin airport Hilton room review
I’m pretty sure it was right about the time that I pressed the shutter button for this picture when I started thinking about quitting these hotel reviews entirely. I mean, when you’ve seen one airport Hilton room, you’ve kind of seen them all.
Hilton Austin airport hotel bed
And quite frankly I’ve run out of captions for pictures of generic hotel beds. I’ve got nothing left!
 Hilton airport hotel Austin furniture
A nice place to sit while looking at pictures of the cool red chair that was in my room at the W last night.
Austin airport hotel Hilton
I wonder how many resignation letters have been written at this desk? I’ve got a massive amount of respect for all you road warriors out there hopping from city to city going from client to client, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s something I couldn’t do.
Hilton Austin airport generic hotel
How does one even come up with a caption for something like this (other than something related to insane asylums)? This was a very uninspiring room, and as you can see, I didn’t have much to work with.
Austin airport Hilton review
Some unidentified stains on the carpet or peculiar smells wafting throughout the room would have been helpful actually. This room was so clean and boring that I’m really struggling with this review!
Hilton Austin airport hotel view from my room
Perhaps a look outside the window will inspire my creativity. Nah, that ain’t helping…
Hilton Austin airport in room coffee maker
Is that a TV tray? I’m telling you, they spent the entire budget trying to figure out how to construct a building in the shape of a ring and nothing was left over for furniture!
Austin airport hotel drinks and coffee
Adding an extra splash of class to this was the fact that it wobbled as if there had been a 5.8 earthquake even at the slightest touch.
Hilton Austin airport toilet
I’m just really happy that I’m just moments away from never having to write about another Hilton toilet ever again.
Hilton Austin airport hotel bathroom
To this day I can’t look at a hotel bathroom sink and not think of that scene from Planes Trains and Automobiles when Neal (Steve Martin) washes his face with sink water containing Del’s (John Candy’s) dirty underwear. lol!
Austin airport hotel bathroom
Cherish this pic folks, because it’s the last generic Hilton commode you’re ever going to see from me.

All in all, The Hilton here at the Austin Bergstrom Airport is a pretty good value if you can nab a room at a decent price. It’s far from being luxurious (or even unique for that matter), but it’s proximity to the airport makes it a very compelling option if that is your primary goal. I wouldn’t consider it to be walking distance to the main terminal, especially in that crazy Texas heat – but I suppose if you do the walk very late at night or very early in the morning, it shouldn’t be that bad and you probably won’t die. Take the shuttle bus though – it only takes approximately 10 minutes, and your chances of ending up dead are far less.

So that’s it. My last ever review of a generic cookie-cutter hotel, unless I come across one in my travels which is so unique and interesting that I can’t resist keeping all to myself. And FYI, there will be a hotel review in my next trip report series, only because it’s a resort hotel that I think (hope) a lot of people will be searching for information about.

R.I.P SANspotter hotel reviews! Well, not totally, but pretty much…

Comments (6)

  1. itripreport

    August 8, 2018
    • SANspotter

      August 9, 2018
  2. Simon Feuillade

    August 9, 2018
    • SANspotter

      August 9, 2018
  3. James

    August 9, 2018
    • SANspotter

      August 9, 2018

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