Lavish 4-Star Resort in Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country is lined with green hilltops and undulating valleys; the New York Times has compared the landscape to Tuscany. It's fitting that the Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa is situated on a property made up of Tuscan-style buildings with open verandas and arches. Nearby there's a spacious piazza with a sparkling fountain as the centerpiece. The property functions as its own small city, in fact; there's a spa, an upscale restaurant, and six manicured gardens on site. The palatial plot is set just 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio.
The full-service spa has 10 different treatment rooms, including 2 Turkish Rasul mud rooms and separate men's and women's relaxation rooms. You can also head to the outdoor pool area and soak up the Texas sun in one of the lounge chairs, or cool off in the jets of water that spray around its edges.
There's even a butcher shop and an onsite garden on the resort premises. They factor into the menu at Sustenio, the onsite farm-to-table restaurant. Celebrity chef Stephan Pyles uses local and sustainable ingredients to put a twist on classic Texan dishes. The result is a menu rich with homegrown flavor, such as bacon-wrapped Devine wild boar loin and local rotisserie heritage chicken.
When you're ready to retire for the night, you can settle into a classic king or two-queen room with marble accents and a private balcony.
San Antonio, Texas: Historic Missions near Picturesque River Walk
In the late 1920s, architect Robert H. H. Hugman designed an urban park around the San Antonio River—a space he envisioned as an American version of Venice, where people could shop and dine along the waterfront. Completed in 1941, the 2.5-mile river walk still serves as a vital artery in the heart of San Antonio as it wends its way past cafés, hotels, bars, and shops.
Located one story below street level, the waterway is flanked on either side by stone pathways, quiet waterfalls, and towering cypress trees. The winding river-walk path reveals little surprises along the way, such as picturesque restaurants, public art installations, and cardboard cutouts of Davy Crockett. A new extension connects the river walk to the four-story San Antonio Museum of Art, where you'll find more than 25,000 sculptures and paintings that range from Roman antiquities to contemporary art.
Also neighboring the river walk is the Alamo. Thanks to the 1836 battle that made it a symbol of Texas independence, the Alamo has become the most visited tourist site in the state. It's actually one of five historic Spanish missions clustered around the San Antonio River. The largest, Mission San José, lies just 5 miles south of downtown. Its famed rose window is once again on display following an extensive renovation.