Escape Room Breakdown - Escape Hour Austin, Austin TX
What Even *Is* An Escape Room?
You're familiar with puzzles and you're familiar with locks. You've opened boxes, pushed buttons, and exited rooms, but what if you combined all these elements into a timed, themed adventure?
A question that pops up from time to time in the entertainment industry is "What exactly is an escape room?" The official definition is:
A room in which people are locked in, in order to play a game requiring them to solve a series of puzzles within a certain amount of time to accomplish a goal, typically finding the key to unlock the room.
Sounds like our kind of game. The inspiration for these live-action puzzles started decades ago with the introduction of text-based, mystery themed computer games. Over the years, an evolution took place. The concept and execution of in-person escape rooms finally hit US soil in 2012, after several years of success throughout Asia and Europe. Once people got a taste for cooperative, in-real-life gameplay, there was no stopping the growth! 2014 saw a boom in escape rooms across America, and they have been growing in popularity ever since! We wanted to take a deep dive into Escape Hour Austin, one of America's most groundbreaking escape room venues, located in Austin, Texas.
A Brief History of Escape Hour Austin
We got to chat with Kelsy, one of the owners at Escape Hour Austin, and asked her a few questions about their background, how Escape Hour Austin got its start, what some challenges were, and where the business is headed! Kelsy and Matt, former medical professional and general contractor respectively, took their people skills and design talents to a remarkable new level. Now successful escape room owners, they reflect on the last several years. Kelsy had this to say:
We’ve owned escape rooms for seven years and now have three locations! We’ve built, with the help of our talented staff and three sons, over 22 unique [escape rooms]. We love creating new experiences for our fans, and it’s really neat to be a part of peoples traditions for holiday experiences, especially.
Escape Hour as a company got it's start in Gig Harbor, Washington, with the Escape Hour Gig Harbor escape room venue. From there, Kelsy and Matt were able to take their efforts down to Austin, TX, where they purchased 15 Locks, an established escape room venue in dire need of help. Here's Kelsy on the background of Escape Hour Austin:
We had the opportunity to buy 15 Locks four years ago. [They] had five rooms at the time, and weren't doing the best. We decided to put all of our efforts into it. We switched the location to Escape Hour Austin, and made it our brand.
From there they really kicked things into high gear!
We redid the lobby, and redid the flow of almost all the escape experiences. The first experience we took out was a music themed room that wasn’t to our standards. We also built The Crypt!
Here are her closing thoughts (which we definitely agree with):
And now [this location] is about five times more successful as Escape Hour Austin than it was as 15 Locks. We’ve done a really good job solidifying our company in the Austin market and have made lots of fans over the last four years!
And their fans would say the same thing. Here's just a few of the hundreds of reviews for Escape Hour Austin:
Why is Escape Hour Austin Different?
Escape Hour Austin is More Than An Escape Room™, and from what we've gathered, they proudly (and rightfully) wear that company slogan. In everything from their online experience to their in-room experience, you know you're getting quality, immersive content whenever you interact with them!
Firstly, their policy of 100% private bookings across the board ensures you will NEVER be paired with strangers. We love this!
Escape Hour Austin also prides themselves on their connection with their customers, whether that is through their social media presence or over the phone answering questions.
Their Escape Hour Austin Facebook page and fan club is the perfect place to hang out and meet like-minded escape room lovers, discuss fun experience topics, and share your victories with others! And when it comes to making or changing your reservations, their user-friendly website makes the process pain-free (and visually appealing. The art is beautiful!).
Escape Hour Austin's Experiences
Speaking of Escape Hour Austin's experiences, here are the current adventures, and their unique features and challenges:
The newest experience at Escape Hour Austin, The Crypt takes adventure to the next level (literally). This escape experience is right for you if you love intense surprises, dark mysteries, and epic twists and turns. It is described as being immersive, mysterious, and adventurous.
Perfect for large or small groups, The Crypt offers a new take on the ordinary escape room, and challenged our expectations!
Maximum Capacity: 7 People
Check out more information on The Crypt here: https://www.escapehouraustin.com/the-crypt
Call of the Ancient
If you're in the mood for a Lovecraftian epic, Call of the Ancient is right up your alley. Intense and driven by a powerful story, we love everything about this escape room! It is described as being immersive, intellectual, and adventurous.
Maximum Capacity: 6 People
Read up on Call of the Ancient here: https://www.escapehouraustin.com/call-of-the-ancient
Dead Man's Cove
Who doesn't love a swashbuckling good time? Dead Man's Cove is a hidden treasure, and should be added to your list, especially if you've been enjoying the Pirate's Life. It is described as being adventurous, exciting, and inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean.
Maximum Capacity: 6 People
Check out all the information on Dead Man's Cove here: https://www.escapehouraustin.com/dead-mans-cove
In Lab Rats, you and your friends are the subjects of an experiment turned on its head. This escape room relies heavily on teamwork and outsmarting your strange captors! Described as teamwork-oriented, fast-paced, exciting, fun, Lab Rats is worth checking out!
Maximum Capacity: 15 people
All the details on Lab Rats: https://www.escapehouraustin.com/lab-rats
A Christmas Unremembered
Escape Hour Austin's first ever limited-time holiday overlay, this experience might be short-lived, but has already made a huge impact! A Christmas Unremembered is set to be vaulted sometime late February, so if you want a dose of Christmas cheer until then, you better hurry!
Maximum Capacity: 6 people
For more information on A Christmas Unremembered, check here: https://www.escapehouraustin.com/a-christmas-unremembered
Some Rooms Get Replaced
Over the years at Escape Hour Austin, their escape rooms have been improved upon, and sometimes that means removing entire experiences from their catalog and starting over. One of the experiences they ran for years recently entered what they call "The Vault," a place all good escape rooms go when they've ran their course.
The Manor was a spooky mystery set in — you guessed it — a manor. You followed the story of a cursed family, while navigating a dark and foreboding ambience. This tugged at our dark-academia-loving heartstrings, and showed how well Escape Hour Austin handled the eerie-but-not-scary genre.
This experience was removed to make room for their A Christmas Unremembered experience (see above)!
Special Events and Private Parties at the Escape Room Venue
Escape Hour Austin operates like all Escape Hour locations. And that includes special events and parties! There are a few things to consider and keep in mind when choosing to have a celebration at Escape Hour Austin: A special group is considered to be a group that exceeds the maximum capacity for a given experience. Room maximums are listed under each experience above for reference. If your group exceeds the maximums, you will be placed into two or more experiences, and you will play your rooms at the same time!
All reservations are 100% private bookings, regardless of the reason for reservation, so your event won't have strangers!
There is no dedicated space for presents, conferences or longer celebrations. The party is the escape room!
Pricing is tiered for all their experiences, so the more people you bring, the less each ticket costs.
If you have a group of 22 people or more, you qualify for a 10% discount across the board! If your group is less than 22 people, you'll still get the tiered pricing that applies to all groups!
Planning Your Special Group Reservation You must submit a Special Group Form on the Escape Hour Austin website to request a special group reservation! These are easy to fill out, and once you do so, you can expect a call within a day or so to get you scheduled. You can also call their business number and explain your reservation needs, and someone can help you directly over the phone! Find out more about their Special Group process here: https://www.escapehouraustin.com/special-group
Awards and Accolades
Over the years, Escape Hour Austin has received many recognitions! From TripAdvisor, to global escape room competitions, Escape Hour Austin has proven time and again that they are a cut above the rest.
Here are some awards Escape Hour Austin has earned:
Tripadvisor's Certificate of Excellence:
A word about the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence, taken from the Tripadvisor website:
Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence has been the mark of quality for hotels and attractions worldwide since 2010.
Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards:
What is the Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice award? Here's what the Tripadvisor website said:
The Travelers' Choice awards honor travelers' favorite destinations, hotels, restaurants, things to do, and beyond, based on the reviews and opinions collected from travelers and diners around the world on Tripadvisor over a 12-month period ... Travelers’ Choice recognizes businesses that earn consistently great reviews. Travelers’ Choice award-winners are among the top 10% of listings on Tripadvisor.
ESCAPETHEROOMers Gold Bullseye Award:
ESCAPETHEROOMers is a global escape room platform that hosts yearly competitions between escape rooms across the world! In 2022 Escape Hour Austin won Best Tech in and Escape Room for their advanced The Crypt experience!
Tripadvisor's Top 10%:
This one is pretty self-explanatory! Escape Hour Austin currently ranks as one of the 10% attractions in the world!
Morty Top Escape Room
The Morty community rated The Crypt at Escape Hour Austin among the top games in the world in 2022.
Morty is an organized database of escape rooms across the globe, with individual ratings from enthusiasts all over the world!
Become a Fan
After playing a few escape rooms at Escape Hour Austin, we were excited to get more involved. Maybe you're in the same boat.
For a quick way to get involved, follow this link to Escape Hour Austin's Fan Club page https://www.escapehouraustin.com/fan-club
Here's how to take your fandom to the next level:
Here's a way to get even more out of your Escape Hour Fandom. With two tiers to choose from, there is some flexibility in support levels. And with their Gold Tier subscription, you even get one free ticket a month, and the ability to Pre-Book any new escape rooms that they launch, before the general public!
More Than A Podcast™
Want to stay connected to Escape Hour happenings, while simultaneously being entertained with funny stories, lore, and behind-the-scenes tidbits? The Escape Hour Podcast is for you!
Check it out here: https://anchor.fm/escape-hour-us
The best way to stay connected is to Like their Facebook page. We've noticed a strong community of fellow escape room lovers, and the content is pretty engaging, too! With weekly discussion topics, announcements, games, and the occasional giveaway, we love taking the excitement of their escape rooms one more step.
Check out their Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/EscapeHourAustin/
Escape Hour's Passport Program
Hands down, one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the universe of Escape Hour Austin, is to jump on their Passport Program.
So, what is the Passport Program? It's a way to track all the escape rooms you do, and get exclusive discounts and benefits at Escape Hour Gig Harbor!
To get started, you just have to purchase a We The Enthusiasts passport that Escape Hour Austin sells right in their lobbies. From there, every time you bring your passport with you to Escape Hour Austin (or most escape room venues), you'll get an exclusive stamp for that specific experience!
You'll also get a stamp that says whether or not you escaped the experience, so you can keep track of all your attempts!
Here are some highlights, and what you get from being part of the Passport Program. These benefits only apply when you use your passport at an Escape Hour specific location:
Every time you play an experience you already have played, whether or not you escape, you will only pay half price! This applies every day except Saturdays, so play your retries in advance!
If you bring your passport to Escape Hour Austin on a Wednesday or Thursday, you automatically get $5 off per passport, per ticket!
And the great thing about this is that if you are retrying an experience on Wednesday or Thursday, this $5 off per passport, per ticket stacks with the 50% off you already get!
Feel like a shopping spree? With their Passport Program you get a discount every time you buy your favorite merch pieces in-store!
Exclusive Event Perks allow you access to events that Escape Hour Austin hosts throughout the year. This includes any pre-sales to new rooms that the venue puts on!
Plans and Goals for the Escape Room Venue
When we asked the owners what their plans were for the future of Escape Hour Austin, they gave us a knowing smile. Apparently, they keep things pretty hush-hush over there. We like their secretive ways, and every time a new room or program is announced, it is always a big deal.
We recommend doing what we do if you want the inside scoop on all future projects: keep a close eye on their Facebook page.
We can say this, Escape Hour Austin is constantly looking for ways to improve, and for new, groundbreaking advancements they can bring to the escape room industry. With several surprises up their sleeve for the years to come, we know we can't wait to experience them all alongside every other fan!
Our Times Just About Up
To sum everything up, Escape Hour Austin is the ideal escape room location. They offer numerous challenging rooms and award-winning immersion. They facilitate multiple ways to get involved and allow you to show your passion for escape rooms through their wonderful community of friends and fans!
For anyone curious about trying an escape room for the first time, or for those of us who simply can't get enough, Escape Hour Austin should be top of the list!
Life is about minimizing regrets, and we can tell you one thing for certain: You won't regret paying Escape Hour Austin a visit.
This blog calls the ESCAPE ROOM topic on our blog home. Browsing the ESCAPE ROOM Topic you'll find reviews and information about small businesses offering unique escape room experiences. We also provide valuable resources for enthusiasts. In addition to showcasing new escape rooms, we highlight some of the best and most innovative experiences. Our team is dedicated to finding the most thrilling and immersive escape rooms, and we provide honest reviews to help you choose the perfect adventure. So come back often to stay up to date and find your next great escape!