San Antonio Travel Guide
This soccer team so badly needed a place to stay they traded a player for hotel rooms.
That's what happened with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League who traded Walter Restrepo to the San Antonio Scorpions for a "a transfer fee." According to the NY Post, that transfer fee actually ended up being hotel and transportation arrangements for the Strikers to play San Antonio this summer.
Now, thanks to Restrepo, the Strikers and their coaches and medical staff can stay at The Crockett Hotel for free, instead of having to pay about $169 a night for each room, saving them in total about $4,056.
The Crockett is designated a Historic Hotel of America and is located right on San Antonio's Riverwalk. The rooms are pretty basic but the place does have free WiFi and complimentary breakfast. Yet we noticed rooms starting at $109 a night and not $169. We hope the Strikers didn't get ripped off. Also, we hope that player doesn't take this transfer too hard. And hey, there's always The Bachelor!
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Texas Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Beer / Hotel Design / → All Tags
There's two exciting things about this place, though: first, it's going up in San Antonio's historic Pearl brewery, which was originally built in 1881 and was an actual, functioning brewery all the way up until 2001.
These days, the Pearl brewery is a 22-acre mixed-use development project that's being hyped as San Antonio's next big foodie destination, with a slew of great restaurants (Il Sogno Italian Osteria, NAO New World Flavors, Blue Box Bar), shops, an amphitheater, and even a CIA campus (that's Culinary Institute of America, not, like, government agents).
Second, the hotel will be designed by Roman & Williams, the creative geniuses who brought us the Ace Hotel (as far as we know, this will be their first project with Kimpton), meaning we can probably expect a lot of exposed ceilings and rich tile and wood textures.
Details are few as of now, though we're guessing Kimpton will play up the Pearl's 'reclaimed,' 'industrial' vibe, since that seems to be all the rage these days. We admit, the brewery's original smoke chimney (pictured), which is still intact, is pretty awesome, and is a unique design feature any hotel would envy.
Another reason we plan on checking into this hotel when it opens next year? Beer!
Happy Veteran's Day! We hope you take a minute today to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served for our country. And if you happen to be a veteran or a current military employee, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa (the largest in the world) wants to pay tribute to you with discounted room rates.
For November and December, the rate for government and military employees is just $99. Usually rates start range from $249 to $379. The offer can be booked now through December 30 for stays between November 20 and January 2, 2011.
The hotel also has special packages that include golf on one of the two TPC PGA Tour golf courses and breakfast for $199.
Mokara Hotels / Omni Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / Hotel Spas / San Antonio Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
But rather than create new hotels, Omni decided to rebrand existing hotels instead, starting with the Watermark Hotel & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. The rebranding was to have been completed by April 1 but according to this press release, the Mokara transformation is now officially complete. Here's what's inside:
The Mokara Hotel & Spa experience begins before check-in as guests will receive a personal phone call prior to arrival to note preferences, make spa appointments and dinner reservations or assist with other arrangements. After a gracious welcome, guests will enjoy complimentary signature beverages, coffee delivery and Wi-Fi access for the duration of their stay. Soon, guests will also be treated to a special arrival amenity as well as the choice of bath salts and the option of a bath butler. Nightly turndown will enable guests to unwind with sleep masks and lavender spray for linens along with a daily wellness tip.
The largest JW Marriott opened back in January with the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa but the hotel's official grand opening was held over the weekend and personally attended by Mr. J.W. Marriott, Jr. aka Bill Marriott.
Here he is cutting the ribbon with Eyal Ofer of Miller Global (the resort's developer) and Tim Finchem, the Commissioner for the PGA Tour.
Hotel Rebranding / Mokara Hotels / Omni Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Spas / Hotel News / → All Tags
We tend to think of San Antonio being fairly laidback, but Omni Hotels is set to change all that, by launching their new high-end Mokara brand by rebranding the city’s Watermark Hotel & Spa, from April 1st.
The Watermark will be the first to fly the Mokara flag, but more Omni properties will follow—the focus will be on rebranding existing hotels more than developing new builds.
Texas does everything big, so it's a fitting setting for the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, the world's largest outpost of the brand. The super-big resort, set along 600 rolling acres in Texas Hill Country, makes its debut on January 22.
When we say big, we aren't kidding: the resort will have 1,002 rooms, including 85 suites; two 18-hole PGA Tour Tournament Player’s Club golf courses; a 26,000-square-foot spa complete with a fitness center and studio that will offer classes; and seven restaurants and lounges.
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Four Points Hotels / Starwood Hotels / San Antonio Hotels / → All Tags
We suppose Texas is the place to roll out the new looks for the big brands: first, Le Meridien got its new identity goin' in Dallas and now Four Points by Sheraton has unveiled the brand's "refreshed" new identity down in San Antonio.
Today's opening of the Four Points by Sheraton San Antonio Northwest also marks the launch of the brand's first "prototype hotel," displaying the brand's "rejuvenated, contemporary look, complemented by classic and comfortable interior design elements refreshed for today’s self-sufficient traveler."
The San Antonio property is actually the first of three "prototypes" opening across North America this year; those new hotels are the fruits of a five-year brand refreshment project (not to mention the result of the $1 billion Starwood poured into the brand to get it lookin' up-to-date.)
Looks like Yotel isn't the only "modern" brand that can go on an expansion binge. InterContinental has announced plans to open its third Texan Hotel Indigo in San Antonio. The new property has an ambitious opening date of "early 2008."
The Hotel Indigo at the Alamo will take up residence in the Gibbs Building downtown, but it won't be the first hotel to repurpose a downtown building. The Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio River Walk opened in a renovated Art Deco bank this past February. If the PR spin is to be believed, though, the Indigo might be a touch more classy:
Hotel Indigo at the Alamo will feature renewable elements such as vivid murals, area rugs, plush duvets and slip covers that will change periodically. Public spaces will be transformed seasonally through changing artwork, music, flora, murals and directional signage.
Sounds nice, but will it offer that signature Indigo smell?
· Narrow Drawers and Cold Wooden Floors are Modern at Hotel Indigo [HotelChatter]
It's been a while since we checked in on the Hotel Pets craze but we are happy to report that today this trend of having dogs or cats on staff is still alive.
And again, it seems like doggie concierges are leading the pack here. At the San Antonio Fairmount, Luke Tips, the Labrador with a hotel appropriate last name, is on staff as "Director of Pet Relations" and has his own business cards, complete with e-mail address, and fax, phone and toll-free numbers.
"People who've stayed at the Fairmount often call to see how Luke's doing," says front desk manager Lani Fulgencio, giving the Labrador an affectionate pat. "He's definitely in charge around here and helps guests feel at home. Sort of a canine concierge."
So what does Luke do? Well, he meets and greets you when you check-in (or sniffs and licks). Since he actually sleeps on a dog bed in the lobby he also doubles as a nighttime security guard. Now, he is learning to deliver newspapers to certain hotel suites and you can take him out for walks around the courtyard or for a jog at a nearby park. You also have the privilege of giving him a nice hair-brushing session, which makes you wonder who is serving who here?
· Luke, the Labrador, a natural as hotel's canine concierge [My San Antonio.com]
Ideally located right on the River Walk, the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio brings you right to the steps of the action along with a jazz bar, ice-cream shop, Aveda spa, and fitness center. But who really cares when you're covered in bed bugs.
Trying to stay PC in the green world, the Hyatt is promoting the new linens every 3-day scheme. We're not sure if this is the reason why the beds are full of bugs that will leave you smothered in small bumps or if its just plain old disregard in the housekeeping regime. But just when we thought the bed bugs were hotel hell enough, things took a turn for the worst when the realization of just how paper-thin the walls were.
Conversations could be heard word for word from either side of the bedrooms, not exactly a helpful factor when you're trying to sleep and fend off bugs. On top of that screams are non-stop from down below at the River Walk itself (think Hard Rock Cafe Crowd and Music.)
As for the hotel bar, a mango-mojito sounded great but in truth tasted like Perrier with a little mint and this was at a point when no alcohol could overcome our sour mood from the costly WiFi and insect infestation. Whether or not you want your WiFi in your room, the lobby, or the business center, it's going to cost you. Even entrance to the jazz bar has an entry fee (which was waived upon the suggestion that we go elsewhere.)
Overall, the hotel was like an Playground that allows for easy access to the River Walk, but a noisy and itchy one at that. Now, where's our calamine lotion again?
· Hyatt Regency San Antonio Reviews [TripAdvisor]
Ibiza is one of the hedonistic party hotspots of the world and anytime you've got a place like this, the hotel situation can be questionable.
Many people come to Ibiza not for hotel peace, rest, and relaxation, but just for 24/7 dancing and drinking. That's where the all-inclusive hotel comes in and we get really nervous. If we wanted to go to Cancun, we would have. But before we get up on our high horse, we gave Hotel Fiesta Tanit--what else would it be called, a chance.
Hotel Fiesta is indeed an all-inclusive resort and happens to be one of the top guest-approved hotels. We were not the only hotel snobs to question the all-inclusive resort:
Always been suspicious of all inclusive deals, never thought you'd get value for money. Changed our minds now - can't believe how cheap it was! 8 in our party, ages from 14 to 55. Everyone absolutely loved everything about the place, nothing to moan about at all. Food was superb and well presented, amazing amount of choice and something to suit everyone. Rooms and all public areas were spotless, armies of Spanish cleaners in their blue uniforms swarming all over the place in the mornings.
On top of all these great reviews, is the killer view backdrop surrounding the hotel. Forget partying, staring out at the view is entertainment enough. But we really can't forget about the all-inclusivenes. We are still very weary about this whole idea. Further research justified our fears. We found a numerical list of alcohol dos and don'ts and the rules of the all-inclusive status. Numbers 3-5 were the worst of the bunch:
- To make use of this facility, when requested by the hotel staff, guests will have to show proof of being holders of the OPTIONAL DRINKS PLAN arrangement (shown by the bracelet which holders should have always on).
- Under this scheme, drinks should be drunk in the area where they are ordered; they cannot be taken to the bedrooms.
- Guests are not allowed to accumulate drinks. Before ordering another drink, the previous should have been finished. 6. The OPTIONAL DRINKS PLAN is personal and CANNOT BE TRANSFERRED to another person.
So there you have it, if you are ok with wearing a hotel bracelet that shows you off as an all-inclusive hotel guest while in Ibiza then by all means, book this place. We're going to have to sit out however, until they get rid of their version of the ball and chain.
· Hotel Fiesta Tanit Reviews [TripAdvisor]