3 Choose Your Own San Antonio Adventure Stays to Book This Fall

And just like that, summer is over. Just kidding, just kidding – we have months of 90 degree temperatures left. Still, school is back and with September on the way, it’s time to start booking those fall holidays.

This year, with airlines struggling and the economy doing what the economy does, it might be time to consider splurging on a vacation. A change of scenery can improve mental health, while an extended break from work has been shown to improve physical health. In addition, there is no risk of lost luggage or flight delays.

It’s possible to live in San Antonio forever and not experience all the city has to offer, which is just one of the attractions of living in a big city. This fall, as the heat begins to drop, but before the holidays roll around, consider being a tourist in your own backyard with one of these choose-your-own vacations.

Bring the whole family to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
The magic of the JW Marriott is in its combination of water park and resort, making it an ideal vacation destination for families. Located in the foothills of the Texas Hill Country, this sprawling retreat offers nearly every amenity possible: golf courses, pickle ball and tennis courts, winding trails, luxury spa, on-site restaurants, Top Golf, and the list goes on. Adding to the fun, family-friendly atmosphere are special events like late-night fireside s’mores and petting zoos.

Where the JW Marriott really shines is the water park, a huge complex of pools, sandy beaches, towering slides, and a 1,100-foot lazy river circling it all. The slides range from children’s slides to the Canyon Oak Twister and Hill Country Plunge slides, both of which start 60 feet in the air and reach speeds of up to 20 mph. (Remember to keep your arms and legs crossed, what this author has learned from experience is not just a suggestion.)

If you need a place to get the adrenaline pumping, consider renting one of the resort’s poolside cabanas. Though it’s an added expense, the attentive staff makes sure everyone has clean towels, snacks, and cocktails while a personal fridge is stocked with bottled water and soft drinks. The cabanas also offer a personal mini-deck inside the larger pool with lounge chairs for the kids to splash around in while you relax.

Book your other half a romantic downtown getaway
San Antonio has no shortage of fabulous downtown hotels, but there’s something magical about Hotel Havana. The 113-year-old building has almost always been a hotel, starting around the turn of the century when it was used to house merchants from out of town who traveled to San Antonio to sell their wares. Today, the boutique hotel has an industrial, gothic vibe with creaky floors and a crimson carpet leading up to the grand staircase.

While there’s no pool at this Bunkhouse hotel (if a pool is a must, The Thompson is another favorite a few blocks away), it does offer Ocho, an on-site restaurant with a gorgeous wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, and an underground bar.

Make Havana your home base as you explore River Walk, Southtown, and King William. If you find yourself forced to take an e-scooter by your significant other, as I was during a trip to Havana last fall, use it to play tourist. Take it for a spin by the Alamo (note that the scooters are programmed to automatically slow down until it crawls around the famous attraction) and cruise through Hemisfair on your way to early evening appetizers and cocktails at Little Em’s Oyster Bar or the new-ish Up Scale, two Southtown hotspots owned by Houston and Emily Carpenter.

For dinner, book a late table at Shiro and take a Lyft (or scooter if someone forces you) to the north end of the River Walk for sushi and other Japanese fare. After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the river to the hotel for a nightcap. (Pro tip: use the restroom before leaving Shiro, otherwise you may walk quickly on the last half of the river walk and your romantic walk will be ruined.)

Live out your Eloise fantasies at Hotel Emma
Looking for a solo stay? San Antonio also has the perfect place for that: the Hotel Emma. At this point, the Emma needs no introduction; the hotel has won countless awards and ranked among the best for the past seven years. And the Aug. 25 news that Chef Jorge Hernandez is taking over the culinary program will only bolster its success. All this to say that Hotel Emma is nice. Very very nice. And there’s no better place to spend some time (and plenty of cash) than soaking in a giant tub at a four-star hotel with a professionally-brewed cocktail delivered straight to your room.

Hotel Emma is located in the heart of the Pearl, a tourist destination in its own right, but when you travel alone, you want to explore as much as possible. Head to Alamo Heights to refuel with a morning bite at Bird Bakery before heading to the McNay Art Museum. On the way back to the Pearl, detour to the St. Mary’s Strip for lunch at Singh’s (prawn bún with a side of chili oil and a Topo) and snoop around vintage shops nearby.

Recharge this afternoon with an in-room massage at Hotel Emma by Hiatus Spa + Retreat and the aforementioned soaking cocktail. For dinner, head to Scorpion, an impeccably designed cafe and natural wine bar on the East Side. Once back at the Emma, ​​get cozy in the fluffy bathrobes and an episode of reality TV. You deserve it.

About Elizabeth Smith

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