What do you think of when you hear someone say “airport Hilton?” I would assume that most people think of a generic rectangular-shaped property that has about as much soul as a cinder block.
The good news is that they aren’t all like that. My recent stay at the Austin Airport Hilton was definitely a neat (though still bland) experience.
A full review of my 1 night stay at the Hilton at the Austin Airport
Starting out with my first impressions is a great way to start a hotel review. You’ll be happy to know that I was slapped in the face with a really good one as I was driving up to this property for the very first time.
Right away, even before seeing it up close, the Hilton at the Austin Airport (AUS) immediately reminded me of the circular Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA.
It turns out that this building used to be the headquarters for the 12th Air Force (complete with nicknames such as “The Donut,” “The Little Pentagon,” and “The Roundagon”). It wasn’t build from the ground up to be a hotel.
Location map of the Hilton at Austin Bergstrom Airport. Trust me…you can’t miss it.
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. This kicks the snot out of the ORD Hilton!
This Hilton 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.
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.
An entire building shaped like a spacecraft, and this is the best they could come up with for the reception desk?
It wouldn’t surprise me if they ran out of budget during the construction and 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.
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…
A mini football stadium with a generic hotel bar at the center – that’s pretty much what it felt like in here.
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!
Imagine my disappointment when I walked into the room and found something even more bland than the room that I had at the Knoxville Airport Hilton. This is a circular building for crying out loud!
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.
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.
And quite frankly I’ve run out of captions for pictures of generic hotel beds. I’ve got nothing left!
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.
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.
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!
Perhaps a look outside the window will inspire my creativity? Nah, that ain’t helping…it’s pretty much the kind of view I would expect before walking into a room at the PHX Hilton Garden Inn.
Is that coffee maker sitting on 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!
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.
I’m just really happy that I’m just moments away from finishing this review. Here’s the toilet!
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 washes his face with sink water containing Del’s dirty underwear.
Cherish this pic folks, because it’s the last pic in this “I didn’t expect it to be so generic” Hilton Austin Bergstrom Airport Hotel review.
IMHO, 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 necessarily consider it to be walking distance to the main terminal (especially in that crazy Texas heat). 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.
My advice is to take the shuttle bus – it only takes 10 minutes, and your chances of ending up dead are far less.
Scott is the founder and author of SleepAndReview.com, and has been a frequent traveler since 2014. He never had any aspirations of being a hotel reviewer, but one thing let to another, and...well...here we are.