There aren’t many large cities where you can show up, alone and clueless, and be pretty much guaranteed to have a total blast from start to finish. Okay, it helps to be armed with a bespoke itinerary by Lena Dunham. But even so, I can name Austin as one of those rare metropolises where the cool stuff is densely concentrated, the living is easy and good times just to fall into place.
Lena’s amazing To-Do List takes in all the stuff you really really need to do in Austin or people will laugh: Mexican food, vintage shopping, live music and an indie film theatre. But first it takes me to the Hotel Saint Cecilia, which, within minutes, is one of my favourite hotels in the world. Opened in 2008 by hip hotelier Liz Lambert, (who already owned the much-loved San Jose Hotel, a stylish revamp of an old motel) the Saint Cecilia is a singular, sultry and serene big sister, on a grand residential estate just off South Congress, a hipster focal point teeming with organic grocery stores, vintage stores, coffeeshops, taco shacks and music venues like the legendary Continental Club.