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Resort Spotlight: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

By Erica Lamberg

San Antonio is an amazing city and offers a true blend of fun, great weather and history for families to enjoy. The brand new JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is a beautiful property in San Antonio, Texasí second largest city. The lush resort is nestled in the enchanting Texas Hill Country community of Cibolo Canyons, where towering oaks and rolling mountains create a splendor of nature form every vantage point. The resort is only 12 miles from San Antonio International Airport and an easy 25 minute drive to downtown. There, families can visit tourist spots such as River Walk, the Alamo and other points of interest. There is also a Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park and SeaWorld both within a 35-minute ride.

The resortís magnificent landscape will delight families and creates a wonderful retreat for families to unwind and relax from todayís demanding lifestyle. The propertyís River Bluff Water Experience offers six acres of pools, water falls, a lazy river, and an abundance of poolside lounges to soak in the Texas sun. Whether adults choose to swim or relax, children can frolic about always under the careful eyes of lifeguards. JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is an ideal destination for a family vacation. The Texas architecture of the resort blends perfectly with the natural beauty of the area, lending to an aura of peace and tranquility.

One of the resortís best features is its exciting range of family activities and offerings. "The amenities on property offer something for every age with the six-acre River Bluff Water Experience, the Range Riders Kids Club and family friendly restaurants," said Mike Kass, Director of Marketing at the resort. "The location of the resort provides a short drive to a wide variety of outdoor adventures in the Texas Hill Country, Sea World San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the famous River Walk.Ē

Home Away from Home

The resort incorporates Texas hospitality throughout its guest rooms. The resortís 1002 rooms, including 85 generous suites, reflect the authentic style and flavor of Texas Hill Country. Custom designed furniture and finishes are evident at every turn, with plenty of dresser and closet space ideal for families. The bathrooms are gorgeous and feature both a soaking tub and shower.

The lobby and public areas offer ample opportunities for lounging and relaxing. There are game tables with chess and checkers and well as a billiards room. Lots of seating configurations with natural night make these spaces ideal for reading, socializing or enjoying quality family time.

Fun Days

Guests of every age in your family will enjoy the resortís six-acre River Bluffs Water Experience. There is a 650 foot rapid river ride that is thrilling for children and their parents; three water slides; and a 1,100-foot long lazy river. In addition, there are childrenís pools with standby adult seating, hot and cold plunge pools, a serene adults-only pool, whirlpools, and an expansive infinity-edge pool. There are umbrellas near every cluster of lounge chairs to offer shade or sun, depending on preference.

Also of note, there are lifeguards at every pool, outside each water slide and throughout stations of the lazy river. This added sense of security and professionalism creates a wonderful waterpark experience for parents and their children. Created for youngsters, the childrenís pool area features a zero depth beach entry pool with two kiddie slides, multiple spray activities, and plenty of seating for mom and dad. On weekends, children can watch rubber ducky races in the pool area.

Out of the water, the resortís oasis of outdoor fun continues. Nature lovers will have lots to explore on the propertyís 600 acres of rolling hills with an adjacent 100-acre bird sanctuary. Resort guests are invited to wander through these nature trails.

Kids Club

While Mom and Dad are playing golf or relaxing in Lantana Spa, children are in good hands in the Range Riders Kids Club. This year-round supervised childrenís recreational program offers arts and crafts, games, and Texas-related fun for children 4-12. There are half- and full-day programs available. During peak times or holidays, the resort offers special family programming. Daily activities might include arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt, music and Texas-inspired activities. Both half-day and full-day are fee-based programs.

Golf

Golfers have much to be excited about here. The resort offers TPC San Antonio, the newest addition to the PGA TOUR. There are two courses. The design powers behind these courses are: Pete Dye for the AT&T Canyons Course and Greg Norman for the AT&T Oaks Course. There is also a pro shop, and the club is private, only accessible to members and guests of the resort.

The Spa

While the children are enjoying the Kids Club program, parents can head to Lantana Spa, the JW San Antonio San Antonio Hill County Resortís 26,000 square-foot world-class spa. With 30 treatment rooms, including two coupleís treatment suites with fireplaces and outdoor private treatment rooms, the spa is truly a sanctuary of peace and tranquility. A variety of body treatments, facials and massages await. Between treatment, guests can enjoy the peaceful serenity of a heated, lagoon-inspired pool, several lounges, and healthy fare at Replenish, the spaís bistro

Restaurants Galore

Guests can choose from numerous options for dining experiences. Families can enjoy can breakfast, lunch and dinner at Cibolo Moon, a restaurant boasting Texas-style cuisine infused with Mexican influences. Also, the Tequila Bar at Cibolo Moon offers a knowledgeable staff to help guests find that perfect tequila drink. For a fine dining experience, 18 Oaks-- also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- is a traditional steakhouse with great views of the golf course. Children are welcome. Before or after dinner, try the Crooked Branch Lobby Bar, for cocktails and snacks. Live musicians appear on weekends.

Children may especially enjoy a stop at High Velocity Sports Bar, where walls of televisions showing games and sports programming are sure to keep their attention. Regional food and drink specialties are served.

While kids are having fun in the sun, they can also take a break at the Rivertop Grill for light poolside fare. Thereís a shaded pavilion for diners, and there are also servers throughout the pool area to bring your eats right to your lounge chair. There is also a Starbucks on property for an early-morning breakfast or snacks and beverages throughout the day.

If You Go:

* For more information about the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, visit the resortís website: www.jwsanantonio.com, call the resort at 210-403-3434, or contact your favorite travel agent.

* The resort provides a ďbest price guaranteeĒ on room rates and often offers family packages and other promotions throughout the year. Make sure to check the resortís website for current deals.

* Babysitting is available at the resort through an outside service. Contact for the resortís concierge for more details and make arrangements at least 24-hours in advance.

* On major holiday weekends, and during peak season, the resort often features an action-packed program of activities that the whole family can enjoy. These may include such activities as arts & crafts activities, live entertainers, Símores-making, story-telling, movies, and other fun activities. Be sure to check with the resortís concierge for program details and more information.

* Parents who are tequila lovers Ė make sure visit the Tequila Bar at Cibolo Moon.

* The greater San Antonio area is full of family-friendly activities and attractions. The concierge will be able to direct you family to great day trip options.

* A visit to Six Flags Fiesta Texas is worth the time. This 200-acre park features awesome rides, great shows, and incredible attractions, plus White Water Bay water park.

* The San Antonio River Walk is a must-see while in town. River Walk a public park open 365 days a year, lined with individual businesses composed of restaurants, hotel, attractions and more. The ambience is charming and it really makes for a great way to spend an afternoon or evening outdoors. Make sure to take a narrated barge ride on the river. One great dining option is Boudro's a restaurant that highlights regional heritage and offers a distinctive menu of Texas and southwestern specialties. The table-side guacamole presentation is a must-try.

* San Antonio Zoo is centrally located and offers families a wonderful assortment of animal to admire. There are also walk-through exhibits and a great gift shop. The Zoo is open year-round.

* Sea World San Antonio will sure to please kids of all ages. With amazing shows, exciting rides, and plenty of exhibits to explore, families can learn about ocean life and conservation. One day may not be enough; there is so much to see!

* San Antonioís weather is generally warm year-round, but it can get very hot during June, July and August. With special pricing deals during this summer season , families can surely keep cool in the resortís River Bluff Water Experience.


Erica Lamberg, a freelance writer, resides in suburban Philadelphia with her husband and two children. She writes a weekly travel column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, focusing on New England and Mid-Atlantic travel. She also has contributed to Gannett New Jersey, New Jersey Monthly, NJ Savvy Living, Montgomery County House & Home, Mainline Magazine and is currently the Philadelphia Family Travel Expert for Examiner.com.

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