Restful Refinement in Panoramic Hill Country
Schnitzel and sauerkraut are on the menu, but the view from the windows—rugged hills covered with scraggly grasses and succulent plants under a vast open sky—seems better suited to a western than an Oktoberfest celebration. But Castroville's German and French roots have been proudly celebrated for more than 20 years at the Hotel Alsace & Spa's Alsatian restaurant, located about 27 miles west of San Antonio.
Perched on a knoll overlooking miles of scenic Hill Country, the hotel's 38 guest rooms are linked by gradually curving walkways shaded by a long bonnet roof. French doors in each room open onto private balconies offering panoramic views of the visually rich landscape. Earth-toned décor echoes the outdoors in everything from deep-brown comforters atop queen beds to naturally textured, travertine-tile floors. Every morning, a complimentary waffle-and-breakfast bar simultaneously serves up nourishment and banishes nightmares of a dystopian future in which waffles have become extinct.
At the onsite Spa Alsace, where Groupon users receive a 10% discount, guests can unwind with an array of soothing treatments, including hot-stone massage ($90 for a 50-minute session) and facials tailored to individual skin type ($55–$115). This Getaway also includes a two-person credit for the Alsatian Restaurant's salad bar and lunch buffet, a daily changing smorgasbord that ranges from authentic Alsatian beef bourguignon to all-American fried chicken and meatloaf.
Castroville, Texas: Alsatian Inflections in Small-Town Texas
The self-billed "Little Alsace of Texas," historical Castroville stands in novel and charming contrast to nearby San Antonio's Tex-Mex culture. Founded by Alsatian immigrants in 1844, the town contains dozens of carefully maintained historical structures. The oldest of these, The Steinbach House, actually began its life in Alsace in the 17th century before being shipped to Castroville in 1998 and reopened as a museum complete with period furniture and confused serfs. A roughly 30-minute drive brings travelers to San Antonio and its world-class Latin cuisine, museums, and lively River Walk.