Being a Texan, I’ve spent my fare share of time in San Antonio–both as a child exploring the Alamo and reveling in the bright colors and festive sights on the Riverwalk, and as an adult. Now, I can appreciate the vibrant culture, but also some different things about the city … the food, drink, and hospitality.
One of the historic hotels in Downtown, the St. Anthony, was built in 1909 and is steeped in history. One of the first hotels in the city, it was originally called “Waldorf on the Prairie”, as it was compared to New York’s Waldorf Astoria but was in a city that, at the time, wasn’t a metropolitan city (hence “on the prairie”). It’s said to not only be haunted, but also the place where Southwest Airlines was first conceived on a napkin at the St. Anthony Club …. which happens to have been the first place in the city to buy alcohol by the glass in 1959. (Bc that’s the kind of history I care about.)
I’ve stayed at the St. Anthony hotel thrice now, and each time it has been a better and better experience. My first visit was before its renovation, which took place 2012-2015. While that seems like a long time for a renovation, they did it slowly and thoughtfully as to not disturb guests too much and retain as much of the history behind the hotel as possible. And the result was goooooood.
Quite candidly, pre-renovation, the rooms were quite small and felt … tired. Now, they’re anything but with all the modern amenities that you’d expect from a luxury hotel, but also little bits of history here and there. Each hall and room have pictures and textures taken from the wildly extravagant annual Fiesta Coronation ball dresses, and event held at the St. Anthony for many years now. The rooms have more muted colors–grays, blacks, and dark woods–with pops of emerald green, the favorite accent color of Dorothy Draper who redesigned the hotel in the 1950s.
Perhaps the best of the upgrades? The beds and linens. I slept incredibly well during my stay … and I nearly refused to get dressed after cuddling up in the robes and towels. Luckily, I had meetings to get me out of the room or I may still be there.
The hotel’s long, opulent lobby overlooks Travis Park and is absolutely stunning. The piano that was once played twice daily when the hotel was first built has recently been reacquired and it’s back resting in the lobby under the lavish chandeliers that adorn the length of the lobby. Throughout we see the Draper green and furniture that’s a perfect marriage of old world, antique furniture and modern pieces.
New amenities include a heated pool overlooking Downtown (complete with cabanas and a full bar), a new, incredible restaurant, Rebelle (full review coming soon), and a craft cocktail bar, Haunt. Haunt offers some unique cocktails named after the chimeras that roam the halls (and bathrooms and libraries) of the more than century old hotel along with some less complicated options.
The service throughout the hotel was impeccable, from the room service to the valet and hospitality at the restaurants and bars. Everything was clean, well kept, and tidy. (Confession: I usually carry Lysol cloths and wipe down a room upon checking in, but I didn’t feel the need this time. Saves some time, for sure.)
My favorite hotel indulgence is morning room service and spending a lazy morning wallowing in bed. The food arrived faster than expected and it was all perfect (and surprisingly less expensive than other setups I’ve enjoyed). Humblebrag, but actually true … I think the croissant was perhaps the best one I’ve eaten since I lived in Paris.
With rates starting around $200, the location and overall experience can’t be beat. I’m personally looking forward to a return visit … especially once the spa that’s slated for later in 2017 opens.
***Many thanks to The St. Anthony for hosting me!***