The Driskill Hotel: Austin’s Luxury Hotel with a Mysterious Haunting Past

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 19 January 2024
  • Time to read: 8 min.


Located in the heart of Austin, Texas, the Driskill Hotel stands as an iconic landmark that embodies elegance, history, and a touch of mystery.

With its grand architecture and luxurious interiors, it has been a symbol of opulence and sophistication for over a century.


The Driskill Hotel holds a rich and captivating past, filled with opulence, intrigue, and captivating tales. Founded in 1886 by Colonel Jesse Driskill, a successful cattle baron, the hotel was built to showcase the grandeur and prosperity of Austin, Texas. It quickly became a symbol of elegance and sophistication, attracting renowned guests from all over the world.

Throughout its history, the Driskill Hotel has been a witness to significant events and has played host to notable figures. Presidents, dignitaries, Hollywood stars, and famous musicians have graced its halls, adding to its prestige and allure. However, beyond the glamour and prestige, the hotel’s legacy is also intertwined with intriguing stories and legends that have captured the imagination of guests and visitors.

One such legend is the story of Colonel Driskill himself. It is said that after facing financial setbacks, the Colonel lost ownership of the hotel and later passed away in 1890. Some believe that his spirit still lingers within the walls of the Driskill, occasionally making his presence known through ghostly encounters and unexplained phenomena.

Another enduring tale is that of the “Cattle Baron’s Suite,” where a prominent guest allegedly took his own life under mysterious circumstances. Guests and staff have reported strange occurrences in the suite, such as sudden drops in temperature, inexplicable sounds, and an eerie feeling of being watched.

These legends, along with others, have added to the hotel’s reputation as a place of both beauty and mystery. Visitors often find themselves captivated by the Driskill’s rich history, marveling at its architectural grandeur and wondering about the untold stories that reside within its walls.

Today, the Driskill Hotel stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of opulence and intrigue. It serves as a reminder of Austin’s vibrant past and continues to enchant guests with its timeless elegance and the whispers of its captivating history.

Driskill hotel
Driskill hotel | Credit: gustavofolivares

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

The Driskill Hotel is renowned for its paranormal activity, with numerous documented events and ghostly encounters reported by guests and staff over the years.

These chilling experiences have added to the hotel’s mystique and cemented its reputation as one of the most haunted places in Texas. Let’s delve into some of the documented paranormal events that have taken place at the Driskill Hotel:

Haunted Grand Staircase – Senator’s Daughter

Step into the opulent Driskill Hotel, where the walls hold secrets of a spectral presence. Meet Samantha, the mischievous young poltergeist who haunts the Mezzanine’s Grand Staircase, delighting guests with her ethereal dances.

Back in 1887, during the Texas State Capitol’s stay at The Driskill, tragedy struck when a Senator’s Daughter lost her ball and tumbled down the fateful stairs. Since then, Samantha’s spirit lingers, often spotted near a fifth-floor portrait of a young girl with flowers. Paranormal enthusiasts marvel at her playful nature, as she engages with children in spirited games, earning their affectionate whispers of “Samantha.” While no tangible link connects her to the portrait, her presence leaves an undeniable mark on the hotel.

Elegance and the supernatural entwine in The Driskill Hotel, where history and hauntings weave an unforgettable tale. Embark on a journey to this historic gem, where the allure of Samantha’s ghostly dance awaits those daring enough to explore her spectral realm.

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Wandering Colonel Driskill

Colonel Driskill, a figure of history, finds eternal residence within the hallowed halls of the Driskill Hotel. As the esteemed hotel owner, he greeted guests with charismatic charm, his lips adorned with billowing cigar smoke. Though the hotel adopted a strict non-smoking policy, the lingering aroma of cigars continues to bewilder visitors. Is it the spectral essence of Colonel Driskill himself?

One fateful night, a vigilant security guard toiled tirelessly, when suddenly, a robust scent of cigars enveloped the air. Determined to apprehend the mysterious smoker, he leaned over the balcony, only to hear a chilling male voice ask, “Got a match?.

“Whipping around, the guard found himself in eerie solitude. Overwhelmed by the uncanny encounter, he left his post, forever haunted by the enigmatic presence of Colonel Driskill.

Ghostly Dwelling On 5th Floor – Peter Lawless

Meet Peter Lawless, a former ticket agent for the Great Northern Railroad, drawn to The Driskill in the early 20th century after his wife’s passing. Little did he know that his connection to the hotel would transcend mortality.

For an astounding thirty-one years, Lawless made the fifth floor his dwelling, and even in death, he couldn’t bear to leave. Guests frequently catch glimpses of his full-bodied apparition, stepping out of elevators, stealing fleeting glances at the time, and then vanishing before their eyes. Not only visitors but even the housekeeping staff has felt his spectral presence. The tingling sensation precedes the appearance of a distinguished older gentleman with black hair, donning dark pants, a crisp white shirt, and a timeless pocket watch. Yet, in an ethereal twist, Lawless fades away as swiftly as he materializes.

Some claim to have witnessed Lawless’s spirit leaving The Driskill, as if attempting to escape his restless afterlife, only to meet an eerie fate in front of a bus.

Driskill hotel
Driskill hotel | Credit: gustavofolivares

Haunting Foundation of Native American Tribe

Once, long before the bustling Sixth Street emerged, the land belonged to Native American tribes who cherished the sacred springs that flowed at the intersection of Sixth and Brazos Streets.

For the Apache, Tonkawas, and Comanche, this artesian well held immense cultural significance, believed to harbor both willing and unwilling spirits within its waters. As if drawn to the mystical energies, The Driskill Hotel was erected atop this hallowed ground, becoming a beacon for the paranormal. With streams converging at this very spot, perhaps it’s no wonder that the hotel now stands as a hotspot for hauntings, intertwining the ancient spirits with modern mysteries.

The Tragic Bride – Room 329

In the early 1990s, a heartbroken bride sought solace in the opulent Room 329 of The Driskill Hotel. Devastated by her fiancé’s abrupt wedding cancellation, she turned to a reckless spree of shopping and indulgence. But as her despair deepened, she chose a haunting end to her pain.

In a harrowing act of desperation, she took her own life, leaving behind a legacy of sorrow within the hotel’s walls. To this day, guests claim they catch glimpses of her tormented spirit, wandering the halls with bags in tow, eternally reliving her last moments. Room 329 remains a poignant reminder of her tragic tale, forever imprinted on the history of The Driskill. Her restless presence serves as a chilling reminder that even in the lap of luxury, sorrow can leave an indelible mark.

The Enigmatic Painting: Haunted Vision

Perched on the fifth floor of The Driskill Hotel, an unnamed painting commands attention. Based on Charles Garland’s “Love Letter” and brought to life by Richard King, this artwork holds an unsettling allure. It portrays a young girl clutching flowers and a letter, her innocent facade concealing a darker tale.

Legend has it that the painting depicts the tragic fate of U.S. Senator Temple Lea Houston’s four-year-old daughter, who met a dreadful end within the hotel’s walls. Ghost hunters claim that an eerie energy surrounds the piece, causing an unsettling sensation for passersby.

Ghostly Mirror Reflection

Amidst the whispers of time, a haunting tale emerges at The Driskill, revealing the spectral bond of Lady Bird and Lyndon B. Johnson. This eerie duo’s ghostly apparitions have left an indelible mark on the hotel’s legacy.

In the dim-lit corridors, guests report captivating encounters with the late president and his adoring wife. Mirrors come alive with their reflection, and curious eyes catch glimpses of the past as if time stands still. Witnesses speak of moments frozen in history, as the undying love of Lady Bird and LBJ bridges the gap between worlds. The echoes of their romance reverberate through the halls, a testament to the enduring power of affection.

It is important to note that while the Driskill Hotel has embraced its paranormal reputation, offering ghost tours and paranormal investigations, guests can still enjoy a comfortable and luxurious stay. The hotel’s staff is committed to providing exceptional service and ensuring a memorable experience for all guests, whether they are seeking thrills or simply looking to appreciate the hotel’s historical charm.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

Renowned for its rich history and rumored hauntings, the hotel has been featured in numerous television shows and documentaries that delve into the world of the supernatural. Notably, it took center stage in the popular series “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel Channel, where investigators explored its chilling ghostly legends and eerie tales.

In the realm of literature, The Driskill Hotel has found mention in books such as “Haunted Austin: History and Hauntings in the Capital City” by Jeanine Plumer, delving into the city’s enigmatic supernatural lore, with the hotel serving as a captivating chapter.

Even today, The Driskill Hotel remains a sought-after destination for history enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike. Its enduring presence in pop culture and media attests to its timeless allure as a historic gem brimming with mystery and spectral intrigue.


The Driskill Hotel stands as a captivating destination that marries opulence, history, and the allure of the supernatural. Its past is steeped in tales of both grandeur and mystery, offering guests a unique and unforgettable experience.

Whether one is drawn to its elegant interiors, curious about its paranormal reputation, or simply seeking a glimpse into Austin’s rich history, the Driskill Hotel promises to leave an indelible impression on all who visit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Driskill Hotel located?

A: It is located at 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701.

Q: Is the Driskill Hotel really haunted?
A: Yes, the hotel has gained a reputation for its paranormal activity and has been the subject of numerous ghostly encounters.

Q: Can guests experience the paranormal activities?
A: Some guests have reported paranormal experiences, while others may have a peaceful and uneventful stay.

Q: Are there any specific haunted rooms or areas in the hotel?
A: The most frequently reported paranormal encounters occur in the grand staircase, the historic bar, and certain guest rooms.

Q: Can guests participate in ghost tours or paranormal investigations?
A: Yes, the hotel offers guided ghost tours and paranormal investigation experiences for those interested in exploring its haunted history.

Q: Does the Driskill Hotel have any famous ghost stories?
A: Yes, the “Lady in Blue” is one of the most famous ghostly legends associated with the hotel. Her apparition has been seen by many visitors over the years.

Q: Is the Driskill Hotel open to the public?
A: Yes, the hotel welcomes both guests and visitors who wish to experience its rich history, exquisite architecture, and world-class hospitality.

Q: Can I learn more about the hotel’s history during my stay?
A: Absolutely! The Driskill Hotel offers informative materials, guided tours, and knowledgeable staff who are happy to share fascinating details about its history and notable guests.

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