Up, Up and Away We Stay

By Danielle Kaplan and Lance Avery Morgan

Sure, it’s nice to get away, yet with all the choices around you, why leave at all? We searched high and low for the best of this season’s coolest staycation opportunities in the region and here’s where we found to help you relax this winter…

SAN ANTONIO

Hotel Havana. With an abounding history that dates back to 1914 complete with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, this historic boutique hotel will tickle the fancy of history-buffs and luxurious guests alike. Renovated in 2010 by, again, Austin-based Liz Lambert of Bunkhouse Management, this 27-room structure features distinctive charm, antique furniture, plantation shutters and dark wood floors. Located on the San Antonio River Walk and within walking distance from many key event facilities, this hotel offers not only convenience but accommodates its guests endlessly. Whether looking for a night out on the town by starting at the Ocho Lounge, or for a quiet night in with the renowned pan-Latin inspired Ocho restaurant, guests will be able to create the perfect escape, even if you live just a short drive away. For more info on special packages, visit www.hotelhavanasanantonio.com.

Hotel Valencia. It’s a centerpiece of luxury nestled in the heart of the River Walk. Welcome to a place where classic meets hip and sophisticated old world meets modern conceptions. The 213 rooms boast chic, modern luxury, while the combination of ambiance and exquisite detail leave nothing left to the viewer’s interpretation. With the ability to create a romantic backdrop to a weekend getaway, the Citrus restaurant downstairs offers a vibrant menu, while the Vbar is ultra sleek and complete with lounge and bar. Treat yourself to a romantic stroll in the beautiful, open-air courtyard or in-room spa services to complete your getaway, or venture outdoors with convenient access to explore San Antonio’s rich history and culture. With easy access to the finest dining, entertainment and shopping offered along the famed River Walk and the promise of a tranquil and calming escape, this hotel has to ability to offer the best of many worlds. For more info on special packages, visit www.hotelvalencia-riverwalk.com.

Mokara Hotel & Spa. The former Watermark hotel is a relaxing retreat just steps from all the action of the River Walk. Known as San Antonio’s only Forbes Four-Star Hotel, there’s a reason that this is the chicest boutique hotel home to only the most sophisticated travelers. Enjoy first-class amenities, elevated service and luxurious accommodations before venturing to San Antonio’s only four-star spa for the River Walk Foot Fix and The Texas Tingle Body Wrap. Spend the day in the private sanctuary lounges or the heated rooftop before heading to the romantic riverfront Ostra restaurant, complete with their acclaimed Oyster Bar and exotic seafood menu. Enjoy a lighter fare at the Rooftop Café and enjoy breathtaking downtown views. For more info on special packages, visit www.mokarahotels.com.

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa. Step into the wilderness and enjoy life’s simplicities with this casually luxurious resort. Experience the timeless charms of the hill country while staying in plush rooms with exquisite views. Spend the day lazy the day away sipping strawberry daiquiris on the 950-foot Ramblin’ River area or relax at one of their three pools before heading to the world-class Windflower Spa or to play 27 holes of championship golf. Top off with an evening that will have a full selection of entertainment and dining options for something that appeals to everyone. Feel like you’re in a secluded destination as this resort puts you just out of steps from the bustling city. For more info on special packages, visit hillcountry.hyatt.com.

The Westin La Cantera Resort. It stands higher than any of its competitors, literally. With breathtaking views from one of the highest points in all of San Antonio and the seamless blend of recreation and luxury, this premier resort will take your breath away. Take a pick from spending the day at one of their six pools or three hot tubs, relaxing in their health club or receiving spa services, and playing tennis or golf at their 18-hold championship Resort Course at La Cantera. End your day at any restaurant, café or bar that the resort offers, or spend the night in with a full room-service menu. With easy access to shopping at the La Cantera Mall that contains a Neiman Marcus and with a friendly kids club, there’s an endless number of possibilities for how you spend the day with, or without, your loved ones. For more info on special packages, visit westinlacantera.com.

AUSTIN

Barton Creek Resort & Spa. This close-in oasis located west of the city is perfect for a day of relaxation at the spa and restaurant or a getaway week on the award-winning golf courses, tennis courts and everything else your heart desires. In addition to the spa’s wide array of treatments, from facials to massages, we love the new Rainfall treatment that takes you on a journey through delightful and intoxicating smells and scents. In fact, each scent will evoke a new journey, when you leave the spa you will feel as if you have around the world. Sound dreamy? It is. Plus, the secluded environment of the spa that is only 10 minutes from the heart of the city is worth the endeavor.  When you’re there, take in the scenic views from each window and let your mind escape to a gentler time before smart phones and the pressures of everyday life. For more information visit www.bartoncreek.com

W Austin. Think of it as Manhattan with a cowboy hat. Well, sort of. It’s been quite awhile since Austin got a big city hotel and this little city couldn’t be happier for the hospitality infusion. The hipster vibe of the newest addition to the city is certainly felt in the black, white and red guest rooms, all of which have stunning views flanked by glossy rock legend photograph artwork. The pool area, quite the scene at the WETBar, can transport you to Miami Beach and if you’re looking for nourishing  treatments check out the AWAY spa. Need a meal and a nighttime fix? No problem — see you in the hotel’s restaurant, Trace and then in The Living Room or the nearby and all-red Secret Room that casts a rosy glow on a cool evening. Don’t forget the Austin City Limits theatre on site for a concert, too. Austin, thanks to the W, might just have to change its moniker to Keep Austin Hip. For more info about special packages, visit: www.whotels.com/Austin

Hotel St. Cecilia. We are, after all, the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World, right? This B&B turned VIP hotelery is the latest brainchild of the area’s hospitality guru Liz Lambert. Named for the Patron Saint of music and poetry, the eponymous St Cecilia’s accommodations come complete with their own turntables and LP records you can check out for your listening pleasure. You’ll sleep on a Handcrafted Hästens mattress from Sweden, savor Rivolta Carmignani cotton sheets and Anichini towels and bask in La Compagnie de Provence bath products… a few examples of the attention to details you can expect here. Think of it as down-home luxury at its finest. The pool, with its thought-provoking neon signage, is the perfect summer setting near the bar that specializes in not only tasty, retro cocktails, but also conversation with world class guests who might astound you. For more info on special packages, visit www.hotelstcecilia.com

Lake Austin Spa. There’s a reason this spa is the jet set retreat of the rich and fabulous. Perennially voted one of the top five spas in the world, it’s a retreat for the senses and about 30 minutes west is all you have to travel to feel like you’ve landed on Planet Serene with its lush and sprawling grounds that provide million dollar views of Lake Austin. This health and fitness destination resort embraces a genuine spa environment that rivals La Costa, Canyon Ranch and any other venues that are also world-famous. Here you’ll really feel like you’ve gone a trip to beat the heat as you rest and revere in the spa treatments that will lull you into a deep relaxation for your entire stay. The men’s spa, full of advanced treatments, is serene and secluded; making it feel like your own private retreat during the week, especially. The massages, scrubs, and bungalows can provide a sparkling setting for a weekend romantic getaway to recharge and relax. Even the calorie-watching cuisine adds to the overall experience of feeling years younger and pounds lighter during your visit. For more info on special packages, visit www.lakeaustin.com

Travaasa The former Omega Institute at the Crossings is truly an Austin original. There’s plenty here with hiking, archery, and geocache treasure hunting, to name a few outdoor activities. From the Prickly Pear Challenge Course that offers you an unbelievable view of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve as you zoom over the treetops on their dual zip line, to creating a sense of self-awareness during equine experiences, this is a life-enhancing destination for folks who feel travel should be an adventurous. Part of Travaasa’s reawakening process includes the outdoorsy fun plus world-class spa services, food and beverages with local flavor, and breathtaking vistas just about everywhere you turn. It will be easy to share this weekend with someone special and bond over the experience in a place where you can learn, touch and do new things. It’s an experience the owners couldn’t find in their own realm, or at the local spa or gym, so they created it here. You’ll be glowing when you finish your retreat here where living life by intent, and not reaction, is a way of life. For more info on special packages, visit www.travaasa.com

Four Seasons The downtown luxury hotel with the name that represents sublime comfort is in the heart of the action of a bustling restaurant and club district. Still, it offers a tranquil opportunity to swim at the pool on the lake amongst the abundant foliage in the middle of a truly urban experience. The go-to place for presidents and potentates, the hotel offers so much more than anything of its caliber. It’s casual glamour at its best… from the spa’s nature-inspired materials  to the eight treatment rooms and relaxation lounge, to the nail salon and eucalyptus-infused steam rooms, it’s sure to soothe the day’s cares away. We recommend a Swedish or deep tissue massage in the privacy and comfort of your hotel room, too, before popping down to the grandly furnished lounge or for a bite to eat at the TRIO restaurant that offers a memorable and tasty lakeside dining experience. For more info on special packages, visit www.fourseasons.com/austin