Texas Hill Country Fun
If you’re following my blog on Instagram and Twitter (@trvlinginspird) you probably noticed that we went to San Antonio in August. Sounds really hot, right? Well, the resorts in the Texas Hill Country are prepared to provide a lot of fun for the whole family. Texas Hill Country is an easy drive for our family, so we’ve been to several resorts in the area. We’ve stayed at the Omni Barton Creek which is closer to Austin. We’ve also stayed at the Hyatt Hill Country which is closer to San Antonio. Our recent stay at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country was one of the best so far. It’s important to note that we paid for each one of our stays in the Hill Country ourselves and my opinions are always my own. Now lets get to the details…
The property: Driving onto the JW Marriott property is almost like driving on to a college campus. The property is large and sprawling. That’s a word, right? Anywhoo, it was a busy summer weekend since we were staying Thursday through Sunday but it seemed like the staff was prepared. The huge driveway was full of parking attendants and there were tons of front desk staff so we didn’t have to wait at all. We splurged on two rooms connected with a living room that overlooked the hotel “backyard”. Even without the living room, I thought the rooms and bathrooms were quite spacious. Be aware that there is a nightly parking fee and a nightly resort fee.
The JW Marriott cushioned the blow of the resort fee by providing us with 2 small cards per room. They entitled the bearer to 2 free drinks at the lobby bar. They also listed discounts around the property at the spa restaurant, etc. We intended to remain on property for most of our stay and planned to get our money’s worth out of that resort fee. We were also provided with a schedule of events (some free and some not) for the hotel for the week. Some of the free activities we enjoyed were dive in movies, backyard sports and inflatable games, s’mores, and of course the waterpark. Other activities we paid for were golf and the spa.
Pool Activities: The waterpark area is the big draw here for families. The nice thing about the Marriott is that it has only been open since 2010. So the lazy river and 3 water slides still look very clean and new. Towels and inner tubes are provided. The adult pool is small, but equipped with a seating bench around the majority of the perimeter. There is another large pool area and they also have cabanas available for full or half day rentals. Even without a cabana, the wait staff is ever present and will deliver food and drink to your chaise lounge. I love that! There is also an open air restaurant in the middle of the waterpark if you’d rather sit down in a quick casual restaurant setting.
The only real negative to the waterpark is the lack of seating. People will stake a claim with their towels never to return. Apparently, the JW Marriott has listened to their customers and are adding another large section of seating and pools to the waterpark. Construction is expected to last through the winter and be ready to go in late spring or summer of 2016.
Dining: The waterpark crowds filter into the restaurants each night. So make sure you have reservations, or hop in your car and visit a restaurant close by. We chose to get room service one night because of this problem. You could also eliminate this issue by visiting during the week. One sneaky trick for breakfast and lunch is to visit the spa restaurant. Anyone, including children can eat there, and it was much less crowded at breakfast. It is also the only place you can get their home made granola. We had lunch at the waterpark a couple of times. The boys enjoyed the pizzas, but I thought the real gem was the home made guacamole I had with my quesadillas.
Golf and Spa: Hubby and a friend went golfing one morning during our visit. They were glad they got up for an early tee time, because the course was almost unbearable by the time they finished just in time for a late lunch. They said the course was fantastic and they were well tended to. I went to the spa with a friend the next morning. The spa staff was great about arranging for us to have manicures together so we could chit chat, and then we separated since she wanted a facial and I had a pedicure. I’m not a skin care person, but my friend was impressed and even bought a few things from the spa shop. I liked that the spa building is tucked away on one side of the property. We couldn’t even tell there was a waterpark full of children only a stones throw away.
My overall impressions of the JW Marriott hotel are great! The rooms, property and activities were fabulous. Kids will be entertained, and parents will be well fed and have an amazing time too. We can save a lot of money visiting the Texas Hill Country since we can drive. Fiesta Texas and Sea World are very close to this Marriott if you were so inclined. If you wanted to see the sights in San Antonio like the Alamo and the riverwalk, I’d stay on the riverwalk itself. Or maybe the perfect vacation would be a few nights on the Riverwalk and a few nights in the Hill Country and experience the best of both worlds? Either way, you win.