Marriott Downtown– A Whole New World

Lauren Castro

After getting invited to the opening of the Austin Marriott Downtown, my dreams of becoming Eloise from “Eloise at the Plaza” were finally coming true.

With COVID-19 guidelines in place, the hotel was chic and clean. I felt like I was walking straight into an interior designer’s dream. To make the stay even more comfortable, the efficient elevator system allowed for there to be close to no contact with other guests.

As I walked the plant-lined hallway on the 7th floor, I couldn’t help but think how perfect the hotel would be for a bachelorette weekend. With a rooftop bar called ‘Zanzibar’ and a pool with a great view, I could think of no better place to be.

After making reservations at Corinne, the in-house restaurant, The Lobbyist is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cosmo. The bartenders were one of the highlights of my night. The vibe and music overhead made the space feely very conversational– as if I was just in a small-town neighborhood bar.

The food was obviously the greatest part of my stay. The low lighting allowed the dishes to take all the shine and glory. I started with an appetizer that I don’t usually gravitate to– hummus. The creamy avocado hummus is unbeatable. Paired with a vast variety of colorful vegetables and an olive-based tapenade, the starter was both savory and light. This was the healthy version of chips and queso that definitely lives up to the hype.

The presentation on all drinks is to die for. The strawberry basil margarita was a very unique take on the Mexican drink. Although there is a strong basil taste, this helped with balancing the sweetness of the strawberry and made it an overall tart drink.

The Beekeeper, a sweet take on a whiskey drink, has the necessary kick to get your night started.

With a coated straw, The Fire in the Hole is a meal on its own. With such a unique Poblano flavor combination, you just have to try it at least once in your lifetime.

Tasting of Summer and fresh air, the Springtime Mule was very sweet with a nice flare of ginger.

Salads; you either hate them, or you love them. Corinne’s kale and apple salad has been on my mind ever since I’ve left. Sweet and nutty, the flavor of the salad itself was an explosion in my mouth. The shredded apples added just enough sweetness while the nutty flavor of the pecans balanced the citrus-y dressing. If anything, order the salad just to pick the pecans out and eat them.

Now, for the main course. With the steak originating from Brush Creek, Wyoming, our next dish was the braised wagyu. Paired with airy potatoes and dill, the meat basically melts in your mouth like butter. The meat favored the texture of brisket and could be cut with a fork– no knife needed.

To end the meal off, we tried the truffled bucatini. This pasta was unlike any pasta I’ve ever had before; you could taste how fresh it was. I could write a whole piece on just this dish. It was cozy and cheesy, creating a hug of parmesan with each bite. The hollowed French noodles elevated the dish and truly made it the star of the night.

Waking up to a floor-to-ceiling window painting a picture of the sunrise of Austin is worth every penny spent at the Marriott Downtown. I can’t wait to make my parents stay here during a visit so I can relive the dream all over again.

(P.s. the cinnamon rolls at the in-house coffee house “Loaf + Vine” are the best in town.)

A stop to the in-house bakery and coffee shop “Loaf + Vine” is imperative. I was happy to see sustainable utensils used which makes the spot that much more special.