You deserve an escape this year, at the ZaZa hotel: because you totally deserved this level of comfort – Food
Time to get away from it all, isn’t it? An escape from the mundane, crushed, everyday world of work – even when (or maybe especially when) this daily grind is complicated by the latest variant of COVID-19 and all that it entails?
This pandemic does little to ease the frayed nerves of a modern human, tell you what, and here’s a whole new year in which to take positive steps to take care of yourself.
Now, of course, traveling by plane might be out of the question right now – but those big old jets don’t matter. A change of scenery is always good, even if it’s only a few dozen kilometers away – or just in another more chic part of your local environment. And not just change for a few hours – although, if that’s all you can handle, give it a whirlwind and more power – but for a night, quite a shift through unconsciousness and vice versa, before to come back, refreshed, to the same old same old.
It’s no big secret that hotels in and around Austin weren’t built just for outsiders to fill up during SXSW.
You knew that, right? You’ve been downtown, noticed the fanciest places and cheap beds, at least from the outside, and you’ve probably had a drink in some of the nicer bars associated with the best hotels, maybe dined at some of the excellent restaurants there? And you also know that there are, for example, resorts along the Colorado River – architecturally expansive venues where conventions, family reunions and fabulous weddings take place?
Here is your escape, citizen. There is your reprieve, however brief, from the mind-numbing dross of daily drudgery. There is, if you choose wisely, your little piece of heaven on Earth: it’s waiting for you downtown, or it’s just beyond the city limits.
What about that article you’re reading now? This will give you an example of one of these options – the downtown option.
[And here’s where we cover the beyond-Austin option.]
This article will focus on the ZaZa hotel, located in the heart of our ever-changing city.
Welcome to the reception of the hotel ZaZa
“I spent the night at the ZaZa Hotel in December,” says Brenner, your Austin Chronicle general reporter.
“Not for Christmas,” he says, “but because I was going to attend the American Cancer Society fundraiser in Fair market several blocks. And I was going a little crazy, you know, day after day and night after night in the same damn house – no offense to my wife or our house, okay? – and I wanted to enjoy a whole night – and maybe, okay, a slightly drunk night – in town, without having to return to Pflugerville until the next day.
[Note: Of course Brenner lives in Pflugerville. He’s not a doctor or a lawyer or a tech bro. He’s a print journalist, FFS. Which, these days, translates to Cannot Afford To Live In Austin.]
“I mean, I had been to ZaZa before,” he says. “They had this grand opening a few years ago, invited a bunch of media, asked everyone to come and check out the new place. I brought Tim doyle like my plus-one. It was fucking incredible. “
[Note: Doyle, recently contacted at his Nakatomi Inc powerhouse of posters and graphic design, corroborated: “Definitely – fucking incredible.”]
“So, yeah,” Brenner said. “A night in the city center? I thought ZaZa would be the perfect place. I mean, it’s not cheap, right? Place like that, it’s not a little squat off the access road, there ain’t, like, Tom Bodett going to leave the damn light on for you or whatever – which would be a little scary, anyway. But if you can afford it, if you want to indulge yourself, then ZaZa is your hotel blueberry. Nobody “leaves a light on for you”, because it is always lit – you know what I’m saying?
He pauses to collect his thoughts, emphasizing the arrangements from the recent night.
“The place is beautiful, but not in a boring corporate way. I mean, yeah, it’s owned by a corporation – it’s a Hotel, to the right? – but there’s a lot of fierce styling going on. The lobby is all chic and modern, of course: it’s like the living room you would have in your mansion if you could afford a mansion, like you won the lottery or something. And you walk down the halls and there’s some quirky artwork on the walls – it’s those awesome portraits of rock stars, actors, and cultural icons, etc., not the usual array of abstract pastel bullshit that you get. you find in most places. And – ah! There’s a little alcove off the lobby, a handy little niche that has hookups for your laptops and the like, and there’s this little sign that says BUSINESS CENTER. But the first thing you see, framed right there on the wall, is this large Albert Watson photo-portrait of Steve Jobs. Hilarious! But also maybe just a little inspiring? They’re all about the cult celebrity pop celebrity stuff at ZaZa, but they’re not lacking in humor. They definitely have this style.
[Note: Naturally, the company’s website doesn’t fail to concur: Combining the luxurious ambiance of a theatrical resort with the comfort and style of a boutique hotel, Hotel ZaZa invites travelers to a unique sensory experience. Our luxury art hotels strike the perfect balance between refinement and relaxation, where extraordinary design meets complete functionality for business and leisure travelers alike.]
“And the room itself,” continues Brenner, now on his third espresso, “it was like renting a well-designed piece of heaven. I stayed in a regular room, not one of the suites. really chic, and, again, it’s not just that it was comfortable or what people call well adjusted. That’s the carpet, the desk, the giant video screen, the bathroom – damn it, that bathroom! so beautifully tiled and immaculate, and the shower alone was bigger than the entire bathroom in any regular hotel – the whole room was so much what I would like my own house to look like, you know? And the bed, wow, was that some kind of nanotechnology cloud that was scientifically formulated for perfect sleep? Because that’s totally how I felt.
This seventh-floor * chef’s kiss * restaurant is called Group Therapy.
[Note: A better reporter might have researched further and been able to provide the threadcount of the bed’s blazing-white cotton sheets for you, reader. A better reporter might’ve already mentioned that Group Therapy, the full-service restaurant next to the pool on the seventh floor, serves such good food – those lamb lollipops with the feta and honey were exceptional, for instance, and who knows where you’re ever going to find a better iteration of the suddenly-popular-again espresso martini (the dark chocolate espresso martini) that the bar serves up so well?]
“Also, it’s important to note the people who work there,” Brenner continues. “Because no matter how nice a place is, if the staff aren’t up to the job, what’s the point?” And the people at Hotel ZaZa were wonderful. They were like that on opening night years ago, and they were like that last month: helpful, attentive, informative – but not in a too stilted or creamy way, you know? I mean, I’m walking down the street, I’m just a grizzled, slightly buzzing schlub from a newspaper in an ill-fitting jacket, and it wasn’t like they were professionally polite to a stranger – it was was like a lovely friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while, welcoming me to the neighborhood. You know what I mean? Like they or they were happy to be there, and they were happy I was there too. He puts down his empty mitasse, smiles at the memory of it all. “Isn’t that how service should be?” “