“Security to the 34th Floor,” a JW Marriott Story

Earlier this year I was in downtown Austin for some continuing education at the JW Marriott Hotel and wanted to share a short tale and photos with everyone. As many of you undoubtedly know, I love a good high-rise hotel or condo. My singular goal when visiting is to try to gain access to as many places as I can and to get to the upper floors and explore. I have found that the best trick is to act like you own the place and if encountered proceed to act as if you are lost.

Having 34 floors to explore as well as a rooftop spa, I was on my way to some fun times and hopefully great pictures. I should mention that I was attending a full-day dental conference so I would only have short periods of time for exploration during breaks. Without going into too much detail, as it relates to the conference, breaks came early and often. 

My first excursion led me up to the third and fourth floors where I scoped out the views from the western facing portion of the building. I could see a pretty cool mural on street level of a neighboring buiding. I’ve seen posts around FaceBook and other social media sites of people taking upward focused selfies with the rainbow behind them. Pretty cool images and an interesting perspective from up here.

On another break, I made my way all the way up to the 34th floor and got some images of construction of the neighboring buildings and had my first run-in with security. I have always found that the best approach when dealing with security is to immediately be friendly and start making conversation then slowly proceed toward an elevator. 

First, security will always lead you to an elevator anyway, so heading that direction yourself instantly de-escalates any potential “situation.” Second, when engaging in conversation, I will always compliment the facility. At that point, the mouth-breathers from security will typically ask what you are doing on a particular floor, area or whatever. I like to tell them I was exploring and hopped on an elevator not realizing it was private. 

Typically, if you are friendly, this approach will get you a hand slap. Fortunately for me, I am friendly and had a badge for my conference visibly displayed, so obviously I had a reason to be in the building. Also, since I generally have a disheveled/lost “look,” it is easily understood that I am probably absent-minded and lost. I’m not going to say I am dishonest, but sometimes you just have to “play” to your strengths…

Having had a run-in with security so early in the day, I realized I’d better stick to the public areas. Seeing as though this was a “work-related” function, and that I had car-pooled; I probably shouldn’t get kicked out of the building.

At the final break I ascended to the spa level. Oh my God, the spa in this hotel is EPIC! Like most high-rise hotels with spas, the location is about 5 or 6 stories off the ground and opens to a really swanky pool with a skyline view. I was very impressed with this spa. Their facility had about forty loungers, massage tables and a really tasteful poolside bar (closed… it was January) as well as this really cool decorative grass feature along the northern wall which led to a more private lounge area. After snapping about forty-billion pics I enjoyed a few quiet minutes taking in the scenery and then went back inside to attend the remaining session of the conference.

Having said all that, I wish I had some more time to explore. On the ground floor there were a few restaurants and cafes as well as lounge areas. I would have loved to have had one of the specialty burgers from the “Burger Bar” and sat to people watch. If you have ever been to Austin, you know that people watching is world-class. I’ll be back.

Published by DW

Freelance writer, photographer and traveler who enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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