Last weekend, I had the good fortune of taking my sister to spend a couple of days and nights at the new and most extraordinary JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
(Yes, that’s the official name, but the locals call it “the JW.”)
It’s enormous – more than 1,000 rooms – and we needed at least 48 hours to explore and absorb it. But even in a brief visit, it’s just a dream, unless you don’t enjoy big, gorgeous retreats where the staff treats everyone (not just travel writers) like VIPs.
Here are five things my sister and I loved about our visit.
- The dry-aged New York strip at 18 Oaks, the up-market steakhouse at the Golf Clubhouse, with spectacular views of the 18th greens of the two (yep, two) TPC golf courses. We ordered it black-and-blue, and the kitchen obliged with great skill. Our server, Melissa, brought not just one but all of the custom sauces offered with steaks. Our favorites? The chimmichuri and the horseradish cream. With our steak, the Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet-Syrah (a lovely Texas wine) proved a good match.
- A day in the Lantana Spa. Nearly a week later, I’m still feeling the serenity served there in generous doses. Sandy gave me the manicure of the decade, the Texas Wildflower Signature Manicure. Mmmm. And Celia gave my sister the Saving Face Facial, which had her purring like a kitten all weekend. After the treatments and before lounging by the quiet spa pool, we enjoyed a lovely tuna salad and a lemony hummus with soft pita wedges.
- Swimming pools galore. We hung out mainly at the adults-only pool, sipping frozen concoctions brought to us by a very sweet waiter named Michael. Dipping into the water, we swam over to the infinity edge to gaze at the golf course and the magnificent rolling, rugged hills beyond. Families were certainly enjoying the River Bluffs Water Experience, which offers a 650-foot-long rapid river ride; three water slides; 1,100-foot-long lazy river; hot and cold plunge pools; and much more.
4. Early evening in High Velocity. The mega-sports bar (one of seven dining/drinking venues) with more multi-media offerings than I can comprehend was just perfect for watching the Final Four.
- There’s a long, long, long, very tall jumbo screen that will be ever so popular for watching Tiger’s grand return during the Masters this weekend. A whole lotta beer on tap includes Rahr brews from Fort Worth, and there is every kind of bar nosh you can think of.
5. Artwork. Throughout the JW, there are loads of archival photography of historic San Antonio, ranches, longhorn and more. But our favorite pieces of art were of contemporary nature, specifically the brilliant glass artwork by San Antonio’s own Gini Garcia. Her largest pieces are floral shapes suspended from the ceiling in the meetings wing of the building, and the bluebonnets leave a beautiful memory in the mind’s eye.
Run, don’t walk, to this place. www.jwsanantonio.com.