Things you likely associate with San Antonio: The Alamo, the River Walk, and killer Tex-Mex. Next up may be golf courses and amusement parks. Spas probably don't make your top five (unless you're a wellness junkie or simply in the know), but they deserve a spot high on the list, as San Antonio is actually a great spa town. The beautiful Hill Country surrounding the city is home to several grand destination resorts where wellness, leisure, and tranquility are the names of the game. Here are four of our favorite hotel spas in the rolling countryside outside of San Antonio -- and one right on the famed River Walk, within walking distance of restaurants, shops, tourist attractions, and historic sites.
1. Loma de Vida Spa at La Cantera Resort & Spa
Built on the highest point in the Hill Country outside of San Antonio, the stunning La Cantera Resort & Spa offers incredible views of the surrounding region from nearly every point -- especially its vast and outstanding spa. The 25,000-square-foot, 2015-constructed Loma de Vida Spa is perched on a hillside below the main resort -- a position that allows for ample sunshine, divine breezes, and epic vistas. Guests are first clued in to the spa's level of detail in the dressing rooms, where they have their pick of robes (long or short) and sandals (thonged or sliders). Even the locker areas impart a Texan sense of place, with sleek wood walls and the outdoors on view through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Spa facilities are superb; they include a heated indoor pool flanked by experience showers and a Himalayan pink salt sauna, a fitness center and yoga studio, and an outdoor infinity pool and hot tub. The 15 treatment rooms include two private, two-person Sky Lofts set away from the main spa building. These are bookable and perfect for special outings, as are private garden cabanas and an outdoor grotto area. Treatments are leaps and bounds beyond typical day-spa fare in terms of quality and creativity -- they range from mud massages with Tuscan spring water to hydrating oxygen facials with collagen and hyaluronic acid. A health-food outlet prepares salads and acai bowls, and offers cocktails, wine, bubbly, and beer.
2. Windflower Spa at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa
While Loma de Vida is meticulously modern, the spa at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa is classic Texas. The stand-alone Windflower Spa, surrounded by 300 acres of rolling resort land, resembles a traditional Texan ranch in the country. Wood-spoke wagon wheels dot the grounds, and tin roofing and a weathervane crown the wood-and-stone building. A stone patio with rocking chairs, ceiling fans, and rustic wood pillars greets incoming guests, who then enter a great-hall-style gift shop and reception area with vaulted wood ceilings, round iron chandeliers, and a roaring fireplace. The 21 treatment rooms -- where massages, facials, and body treatments are performed -- keep up the down-home vibe with hardwood floors and beds fitted with patchwork quilts. (There is also a full-service salon for nail work and hair services.) Before or after treatments, guests can lounge on the back porch, or make use of the steam room, sauna, whirlpool, and outdoor pool.
3. Lantana Spa at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
With 1,002 rooms and 2,800 acres, JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is the largest JW Marriott in the brand. Not surprisingly, the hotel's Lantana Spa is proportionate to the resort's overall extensiveness. The lavish wellness facility features 32 treatment rooms and indoor wet areas (hot tubs, eucalyptus steam rooms, dry saunas, and relaxation rooms) off of the men's and women's locker rooms. Outside, there is a co-ed pool area with a hot tub and first-come, first-serve cabanas. The spa's boutique sells products from the Texas-based FarmHouse Fresh and Kerstin Florian (a skin-care line used in many of the spa's facials), as well as body products made from local lavender. The spa's cafe and fitness center are located on the same level as the boutique.
4. Mokara Spa at Mokara Hotel & Spa
You don't even have to venture to the second-floor spa to benefit from this boutique hotel's soothing and spa-like atmosphere. Mokara Hotel & Spa is the sort of place where bellmen open doors and scoop up luggage, receptionists offer chilled water, and room service staff deliver free pots of coffee or tea to the rooms at any time of day. Naturally, this relaxing vibe kicks into high gear at the signature, 17,000-square-foot spa, which features separate men's and women's relaxation lounges with plush furnishings, whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms. All hotel guests get free access to the wet areas, and those who opt for treatments can choose from customized facials, more than a dozen massages, body treatments, manis/pedis, waxing, and hair services (including cut and color).
5. The Spa at Eilan Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection
Like the nearby La Cantera, Eilan Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection is a beautiful destination resort hotel in San Antonio's tony northern suburbs. Its full-service Spa at Eilan is large and lovely, with Rasul steam rooms with eucalyptus (and apply-yourself body scrubs, masks, and butters), therapy baths, a large indoor lap pool, and a whirlpool. The spa's in-depth treatment offerings run from blowouts, brow tinting, waxing, and makeup to anti-aging facials, reflexology, and lavender body wraps. The huge fitness center features separate rooms for cardio and weight-lifting equipment, as well as a studio for yoga and other classes.
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