Hyatt Regency Hill Country

If you've been looking for the perfect excuse to book yourself (or a loved one) a staycation, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort has got you covered.

Located about two hours from Austin, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort announced via an official press release that the extensive $50 million dollar renovations are now complete.

In addition to updated luxury amenities in every guest room at the resort, visitors will find brand new wood floors in guest rooms, updated tech for guests to use during their stay, and a brand new emphasis on Texas artwork, featured inside the hotel lobby and guest rooms.

For the techies out there, guests can expect an LG 65-inch class 4K smart ultra high-definition TV in their room, in addition to marble countertops, tilework, toilets, vanity lighting and more in their bathrooms.

Another neat detail in most (keyword most, not all) of the renovated bathrooms at the Hyatt are walk-in showers. Some of the new Texas artwork featured at the Hyatt will include graphic sketches by a local Hill Country artist, and photos and artwork paying tribute to the Hyatt's historic significance as the location of the Rogers-Wiseman ranch.

Renovations aside, what can first-time guests expect from a visit to the Hyatt Hill Country? For starters, you really don't have to leave the resort to get a nice meal — the Hyatt has five restaurants onsite, including their main dinner spot, the Antler's Lodge, which also pays tribute to the Rogers-Wiseman ranch with its wild-game centric menu.

The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort is also famous for its 5-acre water park, featuring a lazy river (ideal for the upcoming hot Texas summers.) They've also got the Windflower Spa and a 27-hole championship golf course on the premises.

"As we celebrate the 30-year anniversary of our beautiful resort this year, we are thrilled to offer an enhanced product paired with the premier service and experiences our guests have come to know and love over the years," says Steven J. Smith, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, via release. "We look forward to welcoming travelers, groups, and our local community to experience the updated Hyatt Regency Hill Country for an unforgettable getaway they will cherish for years to come."

Photo by Adam Gerard/Flickr

New poll reveals shocking results on how outsiders view Texas

Surprise! You're not that bad

Despite calls to #BoycottTexas by sports groups, business groups, women's groups, and more over any number of state laws and public policies sparking national outrage (here's a recent list), a surprising new poll shows a majority of Americans view Texas in a positive light.

And, the recent findings are a noteworthy increase from a previous year's poll.

The survey from Crosswind Media and Public Relations shows 59 percent of Americans outside of Texas view the state favorably, with 33 percent having a “very positive” view of the state, and 26 percent having a “somewhat positive” view.

On the other side of the spectrum, 21 percent of those surveyed did not view Texas positively. Nine percent held a “somewhat negative” view, and 12 percent had a “very negative” view of the state. Only 17 percent of Americans polled held a “neutral” view about Texas.

The survey also asked about the state’s friendliness for starting businesses, raising families, and traveling on vacation. 66 percent of Americans saw Texas as a good place to start a business, 64 percent said it was a great place to raise a family, and 69 percent of respondents considered the state a great travel destination.

The business- and family-friendliness categories were 13 and 12 percent increases year-over-year from their 2022 survey. Additionally, their data suggests San Antonio is the leading vacation destination for most Americans.

In a press release, Crosswind CEO Thomas Graham remarked that the state is “heading in the right direction” by poll-takers, after last year’s poll resulted in only 45 percent of outsiders viewing Texas in a positive light.

"This survey demonstrates the durability of the brand of Texas as being pro-business, family-friendly, and a premier travel destination," he said.

But, does it?

Only 845 people were surveyed… by a public relations firm that's charged with "Branding Texas." So take that with as big of a grain of salt as you’d like.

The full report and its methodology is available on their website.

Photo courtesy of HomeToGo

Austin animal lovers live in one of the most pet-friendly cities in the U.S., report says


In addition to being National Moving Month (yes, it’s weird), May is also National Pet Month. To commemorate the month, experts from vacation rental marketplace HomeToGo have released their 2023 report of the most pet-friendly cities in the nation, and Austin made it into the top five.

Austin ranked No. 4 on a shortlist of 25 American cities that had the highest ratio of pet-friendly offers on HomeToGo, compared to a total 100 of the largest cities nationwide.

Some of the main attractions that Austin’s pups enjoy the most include Banger’s Sausage House on Rainey Street, where their menu includes dog-friendly sausages, and the Domain, where dogs are allowed in a majority of stores, and restaurants and bars have pet-friendly patios.

Other off-leash havens for pets include Auditorium Shores and its neighbor Zilker Park, with perfectly wide-open spaces suitable for keeping your pet active. Austin is also a well-established no-kill city, with some very active shelters, and we have a growing roster of mobile vet businesses.

Ahead of Austin was Boston (No. 3), Seattle (No. 2), with Portland, Oregon taking the No. 1 spot for the United States’ most pet-friendly city. Coming in at No. 5 is Washington, D.C.

In a comparison of only Southern cities, Austin ranked No. 2, with Tampa, Florida outranking the Texas Capital. Rounding out the top four are Tulsa, Oklahoma (No. 3), and Orlando, Florida (No. 4).

The only other Texas cities that made it onto HomeToGo’s shortlist was El Paso and Dallas, ranking No. 20 and No. 22, respectively.

The top 10 most pet-friendly cities in the U.S. are:

  • No. 1 – Portland, Oregon
  • No. 2 – Seattle, Washington
  • No. 3 – Boston, Massachusetts
  • No. 4 – Austin, Texas
  • No. 5 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 6 – Louisville, Kentucky
  • No. 7 – Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • No. 8 – Charlotte, North Carolina
  • No. 9 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 10 – (tie) Denver, Colorado and Atlanta, Georgia

The full report can be found on hometogo.com.

Photo courtesy of Downtown Austin Alliance

Downtown Austin Alliance presents Future of Downtown

Downtown Austin Alliance presents the Future of Downtown: Downtown on Demand. As downtown’s steward and champion, they are bringing the best parts of downtown to Fareground to celebrate 30 years of the Downtown Austin Alliance with their community partners, stakeholders and future leaders.

The event will highlight findings from their annual State of Downtown report and new strategic plan, share wisdom and inspiration from their keynote speaker and showcase the vibe of Austin through local artists, rockin’ musicians and more. There will be light bites, drinks, and live music.

Photo courtesy of IWG

International coworking space sets up newest Austin outpost at The Domain

Make Spaces

There is some glamor in the freedom of a remote worker’s lifestyle. But running out of yoga pants, subsisting on leftovers, and realizing you haven’t used your voice once all day is not as cute. Spaces The Domain, coming to Austin in 2023, may break these remote work curses for many Austinites, as professionals settle into the new norm in one of the best cities for remote workers in the United States.

Spaces The Domain is presented in collaboration between workspace conglomerate IWG and Domain property group Simon; Spaces is in 466 locations worldwide and counting. The Austin area is already flush with coworking spaces (including three existing Spaces locations on Congress Avenue and near Braker Lane), but this one combines a huge global network with one of the most hospitable locales within city limits.

WeWork, the leading coworking space in the United States, seems competitive on pricing (with a more complicated pay-as-you-go system, although Spaces is still relatively affordable compared to many Austin competitors), and is also situated in The Domain, where a huge portion of Austin’s workforce lives, preferring not to drive downtown or farther to get some work done. Spaces, however, is not at the heart of a ridiculously well-publicized scandal represented by Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway, which turned many viewers off to the default company.

Spaces promises a custom design to suit the existing building and area, pointing out nearby businesses like Cap City Comedy Club, Punch Bowl Social, and a number of hotels in a press release. Workstations will remain customizable “with ergonomic furniture, private areas, adjustable-height desks, meeting rooms and 24-hour access.” Although Spaces may come at a small premium compared to nondescript smaller offices, the company’s size makes its system much more transparent and customizable when shopping around.

The release goes on to describe a potential savings of more than $11,000 per employee, per year, centering business heads over individuals like freelancers or solo entrepreneurs. Still, the pricing plan pans back to individuals, with unlimited, non-site-specific memberships ($255 per month) and even smaller commitments. The least expensive, a five-day monthly pass ($109) comes out to $21.80 per day — certainly more than a coffee, but likely less than a worker would spend buying a well-balanced lunch in a less-crowded restaurant, and without the awkwardness of having to relocate after a few hours.

“The Domain has always been a leader in innovation and bringing a co-working space to the property is another testament to our commitment to the live, work, play and stay environment we have curated for the north Austin community,” said Simon exec Patrick Peterman in the release.

More information about Spaces (not including Spaces The Domain, which has not yet been added) is available at spacesworks.com.

UT Austin/Facebook

Austin declared the No. 1 college city in America in new report

Studies Show, Study Here

It might be a bit reductive to call Austin a college town, but that's what makes it so good. It certainly benefits from the creativity and industry of college living, but there's a lot more to do than go to gentrified lunches and cool, underground shows. (If you exist outside of Sixth Street, anyway.)

Recognizing this special balance, financial website WalletHub has declared Austin the college city in the United States for 2023, beating out some obvious contenders like Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being the best city overall, Austin also tops the large cities list, and is one of only two Texas locales represented in the top 10 of any category; the other is College Station, No. 6 on the small list.

The most represented state, perhaps not surprisingly, is Florida, with four cities in the overall top 10. The top 10 college cities for 2023, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Austin
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Gainesville, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Provo, Utah
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Miami
10. Raleigh, North Carolina

And how did Austin make the grade? WalletHub looked at key metrics across three categories to determine the rankings.

Austin scored best, No. 12, in the “social environment” category, determined by metrics like students per capita; breweries, cafés, and food trucks per capita; and safety issues like vaccination and crime statistics.

Its ranking at No. 21 in the “academic & economic opportunities" category puts it in the 95th percentile, even above Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, famous for their Ivy League prevalence.

And perhaps unsurprising to those who currently reside here, the Capital City ranked worst in "wallet friendliness,” at No. 204 out of 415.

Elsewhere in Texas, El Paso did well on the overall list at No. 36, followed by Houston (No. 64), Dallas (99), Fort Worth (153), and San Antonio (169). Notably, cities that tend to fall lower in similar studies ranked relatively well among college towns.

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Space-inspired screenings invade Austin Film Society ahead of Wes Anderson's upcoming release

Asteroid City

Yes, Wes Anderson was born in Houston, but we like to claim the UT graduate as our own here in Austin. With his latest film Asteroid City set for release in just a matter of weeks, the anticipation is high. Thankfully, Austin Film Society (AFS) is helping locals get ready.

On June 9 and 10, AFS will screen a series of three films the Texas director cites as influences on his new project. The series is free and will culminate with a special sneak preview of Asteroid City on June 10 at AFS Cinema.

Set in a fictional American desert town circa 1955, the film follows the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention. Organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition, the convention is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.

In true Wes Anderson form, the large ensemble cast features both previous collaborators (Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Adrien Brody, among others) and newcomers in the Anderson universe such as Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Maya Hawke, and more. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May to rave reviews.

The trio of AFS screenings leading up to the sneak peek will include On The Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan, on Friday, June 9, at 5 pm, followed by Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind at 9 pm. The series continues on Saturday, June 10, with John Huston's The Misfits at 5 pm before the Asteroid City preview screening at 8:30 pm.

A new book about the mid-century cinematic influences on Asteroid City will also be available for purchase throughout the weekend series. Edited by Jake Perlin and published by Pushkin Press, Do Not Detonate Without Presidential Approval focuses features essays, photography, and a new conversation between Perlin and Wes Anderson.

This series of films is free, and tickets will be available to the public on Tuesday, May 30. To reserve tickets to these events, click here or visit austinfilm.org.

Lil Yachty, Jenny Lewis, and more join summer schedule for ACL tapings

Summer Sounds

Summer at Austin City Limits isn't just about the festival. The music is flowing in at the Moody Theater, where four diverse new acts will be taped for the world's ongoing enjoyment, even if Austin is too far to visit.

The taping schedule for Season 49 already includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, and Jorge Drexler, but more is coming. The more recent announcement brings in rapper Lil Yachty, singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis, jazz duo Domi and J.D. Beck (stylized DOMi & JD Beck), and Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. The latter duo will be accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, to mark the guitarists' first appearance in a decade.

Lil Yachty beckons to the mainstream youth of 2023, having built a career on recognizable red braids and an absurdist sense of humor in his melodic flows. Still only 25, he is gaining acclaim through his creative approach. Domi and J.D. Beck take an equally, if not even more wacky approach, combining their jazz sensibility with high-profile artist features like Snoop Dogg and Mac DeMarco.

Jenny Lewis and Rodrigo y Gabriela are the more long-established acts — Lewis, a former child actor, known for her honest lyrics and campy style, and the guitar duo known for blending disparate styles like nuevo flamenco and heavy metal. Their appearance with the Austin Symphony will expand the instrumentation of their latest release, In Between Thoughts…A New World.

Austinites can see the live performances if they win passes through KLRU, the PBS station that airs Austin City Limits. Tapings will later be available on KLRU and YouTube.

  • June 28 — Lil Yachty
  • July 7 — Rodrigo y Gabriela
  • July 8 — DOMi & JD Beck
  • July 26 — Jenny Lewis

City of Austin offers bonuses to meet lifeguard staffing shortage

Just keep swimming

It's that time of the year again! Pools are getting busier on the weekends, and that means the demand for lifeguards is on the rise. Right now, the City of Austin is offering pay bonuses to help fill its shortage.

The City currently operates 45 public aquatic facilities, including Barton Springs Pool and Deep Eddy Pool, as well as 22 neighborhood pools and 11 splash pads.

In an effort to fill over 500 lifeguard positions at pools and summer camps, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department has changed its bonus structure. The new structure is tied to the number of hours worked.

To receive the bonuses, an employee must earn a minimum of $20 an hour work between May 21 and August 12 to be eligible for any bonus payouts. For example, lifeguards will receive a $250 bonus for 200 hours of work, and 300 and 400 hours of work will add another $250 bonus.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.