BEE CAVE, Texas -- Two of the largest and most reputable golf resorts in Texas can be found just west of Austin. But if you're in search of something smaller but as new as it gets in central Texas, there's a new option for golfers visiting the city check out.
The two major golf resorts, Omni Barton Creek and Horseshoe Bay, have four and three 18-hole courses respectively and both have undertaken major renovations that are currently ongoing. Meanwhile, downtown Austin has opened a smattering of new hotels like Fairmont and J.W. Marriott, so it's understandable if you missed the opening of the Sonesta Bee Cave just west of town.
Sonesta, about 20 minutes west of central Austin on Highway 71, is a stylish and smaller option (195 total rooms) that has no golf course on site but offers complimentary shuttle service and stay-and-play packages to nearby Falconhead Golf Club in Lakeway, as well as also has limited group access to Flintrock Falls, one of the four private clubs at the Hills of Lakeway Country Club.
There are appeals to staying on the city's outskirts if you don't want the hustle and bustle (and more expensive rooms and parking) of the urban core. Not only are you closer to Lake Travis and other Hill Country attractions like Hamilton Pool, but you can still get a little taste of Austin. The Sonesta is part of the Hill Country Galleria Mall, the epicenter of commercial activity in Bee Cave. It's all walkable from the hotel and there are a few local Austin businesses here so you don't have to zip into downtown to get a taste. The complex is surrounded by a 2.3-mile walking trail and anchored by a Whole Foods, as well as Austin's own Amy's Ice Creams. For drinks, Gingerman is a popular brew pup found all over Texas.
But if business or events like University of Texas football, SXSW or Austin City Limits Music Festival pull you in, you can be in the city in about 20 minutes.
Guests certainly don't need to leave the hotel for dinner or drinks. There is a nice outdoor pool area, but the highlight of the property is Meridian 98, a stylish and lively rooftop bar and restaurant, which features "Texas tapas" as well as craft cocktails and an outdoor deck that has live music Wednesday-Friday. The space was molded in the style of a London pub but the views out the back of the patio are distinctly Hill Country.
The hotel, a 20-mile straight shot west from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, is also built for corporate groups with 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space on the ground floor, and groups looking to sneak in a little outdoor time have a few solid options for golf.
Golf near Sonesta Bee Cave
Sonesta provides stay-and-play golf packages to Falconhead Golf Club, a popular pick for the best semi-private course in the Austin area. The course was designed by the PGA Tour and features a gently rolling property with fairly generous fairways and long views of the Hill Country.
Falconhead is the sole public-access golf course in Lakeway, which is home to the 72-hole Hills of Lakeway Country Club, owned by ClubCorp. The Hills Course is top billing while the Flintrock Falls course, designed by Nicklaus Design, is a suitable second fiddle. Small greens and holes carved through rolling, forested hills make it a suitable tour-type challenge.
Falconhead is the sole public-access golf course in Lakeway, which is home to the 72-hole Hills of Lakeway Country Club, owned by ClubCorp. The Hills Course is top billing while the Flintrock Falls course, designed by Nicklaus Design, is a suitable second fiddle. Small greens and holes carved through rolling, forested hills make it a suitable challenge, and the Beyond Lakeway, nearby courses include the private Spanish Oaks Country Club, or the membership/muni hybrid, Grey Rock Golf Club. You can also head north on FM 620 to get to River Place Country Club, which has public tee times midweek.