July 29, 2015

The largest hotel in Austin and JW Marriott’s first hotel in Texas’ capital city, the JW Marriott Austin opened earlier this year, ahead of schedule and to glowing reviews.

Designed by HKS Hospitality Group, the 34-story, 1,012-room, 1.2 million-square-foot hotel has booked more than a half-million room nights through 2021, serving business and leisure guests traveling to Austin, one of America’s fastest-growing and energetic cities.

Designed as a confluence of modern urbanity and nature, the JW Marriott Austin is located at the bustling intersection of Congress Avenue and 2nd Street, contributing to the city’s transformational urban growth with an architectural landmark response that reinforces the gateway at Congress Avenue toward the State Capitol in the distance.

According to the project design lead, HKS principal Eddie Abeyta, HKS designed the hotel to be an engaging community experience, interacting with both its built and natural surrounding environments.  “Articulated through bold architectural expression, the JW Marriott Austin offers hotel guests and locals alike a unique and authentic experience that embodies the soul of Austin, reinterpreted in a new and vibrant way,” Abeyta said.

According to Abeyta, the project acts as a catalyst for responsible urban development, purposefully designed to directly engage with the public as expressed in the hotel’s relaxed and approachable street-level restaurants, transforming a “big-box” hotel concept into something more boutique and unique to the local crowd. The hotel enhances the public realm by creating a livable, walkable community, with its street-activated spaces that provide a lively, pedestrian-dominant sensibility. 

Austin’s rugged natural landscape inspired the design. Building materials include natural copper, weathered inspired metals, glass, Texas limestone, vegetated trellises and a water feature (the hotel’s outdoor pool on the fifth-floor terrace). 

Sustainability Features

Slated to achieve LEED Silver certification, the JW Marriott Austin was specifically designed using key sustainability features embraced by Austinites who aspire to grow their city in a responsible manner in the midst of brisk commercial development. Sustainable design features include a rainwater cistern installed in the parking garage, mitigating the amount of stormwater runoff from the site. The cistern captures enough rainwater from the site and the roof to offset 100 percent of the hotel’s irrigation needs and completely eliminates the need for potable water.

Additionally, an automated system is installed in each guest room to determine which rooms are unoccupied, automatically resetting the temperature controls to reduce energy consumption. The hotel has already achieved a two-star Austin Energy Green Building rating.

Other green features include high-efficiency plumbing fixtures; a vegetated shade structure designed to provide solar protection for large expanses of south-facing window wall; light-colored roofing membrane to minimize the heat-island effect; and a west-facing tower façade designed with an increased insulation value to help reduce heat load on guestrooms. 

A Meeting Destination

Austin plays host to hundreds of events, meetings, festivals and conferences each year, and with the addition of the JW Marriott Austin’s 120,000 square feet of flexible meeting, banquet, exhibition and outdoor event space, the community has a true luxury destination, ideally situated within two blocks of the Austin Convention Center and near all points downtown.

Additional amenities include underground parking, a full-service fitness center and fifth-floor terrace with a zero-edge pool, covered cabanas, a bar and a luxury concierge.

Dining choices include three restaurants:  a full-service regional Italian restaurant (Osteria Pronto), a restaurant featuring Texas-inspired fare (Corner) and a walk‐up, food-truck-style window on Congress Avenue that pays homage to Austin’s vibrant mobile food scene (Burger Bar).

The hotel was developed and is managed by White Lodging, which currently manages 19 other hotel properties in Austin and Round Rock, making it one of the largest private employers in the greater Austin area. White Lodging has three additional hotels in its Austin pipeline, including the recently opened HKS-designed Westin Austin Downtown. The HKS Hospitality Group and White Lodging have collaborated on four hotel projects since 2011.

“HKS’ design for the JW Marriott Austin has helped the hotel achieve an authentic sense of place in downtown Austin,” said Russ Louderback, executive vice president, owner’s representative, and director of design and construction of White Lodging. “The use of Texas materials and design elements helps make this hotel a hugely popular destination and a landmark to the progressive city of Austin for out-of-town guests and Austinites.”

HKS Hospitality Group specializes in the design of sophisticated urban hotels, unique destination resorts and luxurious spas, entertainment, gaming and convention hotels, boutique properties, hospitality interiors, and world-class golf clubhouses. With construction underway on five continents, HKS’ hospitality practice is ranked as one of the top in the nation and the world, according to BD World Architecture, Hotel Business and Hotel Design. Operating from 27 offices worldwide, the firm has designed projects in 45 countries, garnering numerous awards and coverage in national and international publications.

For more information, contact Julie Wellik at jwellik@hksinc.com.  

Posted in Green Places, Hospitality
Tagged HKS Hospitality Group, Hospitality Design, hotel design, JW Marriott Austin, LEED, sustainable design, White Lodging