• Emily Bond

The San Jose Hotel - Austin

Austin is not your average Texas city. The more conservative towns with big names in the Lone Star State, like Dallas, don't have a resident streaker (often preferring a nude-colored thong while riding a bicycle through Zilker Park) or so many dog-friendly hot spots. It is thetrendiest, most hipster, possibly best city to visit in Texas.

Having lived in Dallas, Houston, and Austin I feel confident in stating this. My heart belongs to Houston, I've grown to absolutely love Dallas, but I know if you're planning a trip with your own resident streaker (your dog is naked, really, look at your dog, totally naked! Doesn't even care! Oh, to have such shameless glee in ones birthday suit!) Austin is by far the city you both want visit.

Music, film, tech, and book festivals, this city has something going on every night to entice the conventional of Convention goers, to the more outlandish and bawdy of sister-in-laws. Austin is magical, with cheap tacos, plenty of places to grab a frosty Michelada, and filled with dog-friendly restaurants and hotels. But that list, is terribly long (and at the bottom of this post), so let's get to one of the best places to stay with fido at the helm.

San Jose Hotel Rumor has it, this den of boutique hipster perfection used to be a hot spot for some less than savory characters. A former motel, turned grungy flop-house - then, once in the hands of venerable hotelier/owner Liz Lambert, a haven for the visiting chic. Located on the trendy stretch of avenue known as SoCo by locals, the San Jose Hotel rests between an Austin staple for delicious coffee Jo's, and the trendy high-end boutique by George, on South Congress.

Unsuspecting passerbys on the way to Guerro'sfor tacos are struck by the glamorous steel font bearing the hotel's name, a 60's throwback of Gotham font, with spiked details set in the thrush of impeccable Hill Country landscaping. Sprawling large aloe vera plants occasionally poke people walking by, while hotel guests slip in with almost utter anonymity through the entrances covered in ivy. The hotel has a very hidden feel, despite being on a highly populated street (particularly during SXSW), it's like what your husband always says, "Your keys are right in front of you, Emily" the hotel is right in front of your face, but if you didn't know it, you wouldn't get to see the simplistic beauty waiting for you inside.

You know that guy, think Joel McHaleon Community, with the perfect hair slightly disheveled? That's the gardens within the San Jose. Granite pathways guide you to hidden spots with sleek picnic tables, retro lounge chairs, modern fire pits, and a minimalist pool every blogger worth their weight in gold has photographed. The hotel lobby is tiny and hip (hipsters check you in, and eye your dog-hair-riddled pants - only to offer dog bowls of course! They aren't judging you!) and feels more like a glorified hallway leading you back to the garden area, or better yet to the adjacent bar.

When things are done well, like the San Jose's bar, you really don't need to worry about sounding like an idiot and ordering something wrong, because everything you can order at the tiny bar is so, so, so right...(get the rose)!

The rooms are fully equipped with the necessities of home, wifi, apple products, and a mini-fridge/basket I dare you not to indulge in. The aesthetic of each room makes you instinctively begin to throw out and re-organize the squalor of your shit-hole apartment in your head, oh nothing is good enough back at the homestead, but everything is perfect at the San Jose! It's a mix of simplicity with the keen eye of a turquoise donning bohemian free-spirit - with unbelievable taste in rugs, yes this is a good thing. Dog bowls are happily provided, along with dog beds and scoopers.

Lola and Jackie O. appreciated the lack of carpet, comfy beds, and not having to meander through a stuffy hotel lobby and hallways to take a piss. The hotel is set-up like, bear with me this is a new term for me, a "bungalow-style boutique hotel," meaning, you feel like you're at someone's house. Walking is a breeze given the dog-friendly vibe of the hotel and really the whole of Austin. I suggest taking a side street to avoid crowds, and if your pup is a walker head towards Lady Bird Lake. The dog park in Zilker Park, is less than 2 miles away. And is truly a fun experience being Dr.Seuss worthy of Go, Dog, Go! with many different breeds of dogs and who knows, you might even see the Zilker bats too!

Once the pooches are tuckered out let them sleep it off at the hotel, while you walk to Vespaiofor Italian (a friend once swore John Hamm ate caesar salad there- WITH HIS HANDS!), Guerro'sfor Micheladas, and naturally Hey Cupcakefor dessert. It's difficult to go wrong on this strip for food and drinks. If you're crazy like me and you hate to leave your fur buddies behind, well-behaved dogs can eat outside at Guerro's or pickup a pizza to go from Home Slice, across the street from the hotel.

Grab a night-cap at the San Jose bar, or head into the Continental Clubfor the local music scene. In the morning, if nursing a proper Texas hangover, get an Iced Bomber from Jo's,bring your dog with you - all the cool kids are, then head back out for some more sightseeing with your best friend. Because honestly,

"Where would I want to go without you?"

San Jose Hotel: $$$

Dog Fees: $10 a dog/night

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

Many patios in Austin often sport a dog or five, so if you're pooch is the fighting kind, maybe avoid eating out. If you're not worried, then here are a few of our favorites: Guerro's, Enoteca's patio, Austin's renowned in the foodie world for their trailer scene-go for Odd Duckand Gourdoughs (gourmet donuts, you're listening now, aren't you?), and across the street a few blocks up from the hotel are plenty more trailers with local favorite, Hey Cupcake.

Many of the photos above are from a Healing SpeciesTrip to Austin, Texas and were taken by the talented lifestyle photographer Lulu Lopez- the rest via my iphone.

-Licks and Kibble Bits,

Lola, Jackie O. and the human Emily


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