San Antonio: When You Find Yourself Saying ‘Been There, Done That’, Try It Again
I moved to Texas almost seven years ago, and one of my favorite activities has always been taking weekend road trips throughout the beautiful Lone Star state. I quickly fell in love with Austin (which has not waivered one bit), Dallas became one of my favorite spots and San Antonio started out strong but quickly fell off my map. Literally.
San Antonio’s River Walk is one of the most touristy and interesting places in Texas. The history, the walkable and quaint little town, the authentic Mexican restaurants – all reasons I loved San Antonio. “Paseo del Rio” is the Spanish translation for River Walk, or literally “Walk of the River,” but once you’ve walked the river, you run into the proverbial, been there, done that. After a few trips, it sort of lost its luster.
I thought I had experienced all that San Antonio had to offer, but like many other times in life, I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong – the River Walk is a great area but the older I get, the more “precious” my time gets. I’m always on the hunt for something new – a new experience, something refreshing. Then I found that about 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio sat a great little area – The Shops at La Cantera, which boasted some of my all-time favorite stores. Nestled within the rolling landscape of Texas Hill Country were not only these great shops, but a slew of lavishly luxurious hotels, including Eilan Hotel Resort and Spa.
Driving up to the roundabout outside Eilan immediately brought about a sense of elegance and relaxation. The valet quickly greeted me and took my keys and I walked into what felt like another world. Eilan was just my kind of style. The design of Eilan was just so elaborate and yet so friendly, it was hard not to relax and feel special all in one deep breath. As their website states, the property was “developed with the utmost respect for the environment,” which was clear throughout every inch of the immaculate property.
Once leaving the ornate lobby, I was in for another delight – my room! The perfect size and nothing over the top, but the bathroom was one you’d see in Architectural Digest or some other design boasting magazine. The giant “wet room” was a combo of multiple directional shower heads next to a freestanding tub and was plenty big enough to throw a party – if that’s your scene.
The signature onsite restaurant, Sustenio, led by celebrity chef Stephen Pyles was another notable for the trip. The flagship restaurant offers a diverse selection of dining options – from in-room service, private and intimate corner tables, booths in the bar near TVs (for sports!), and even a huge private dining area for parties.
Dinner was beyond impressive. I started with a deliciously blended ceviche with Sea Bass, Avocados and Tomatillos and then followed up with the main course, which consisted of Bacon Wrapped Devine Wild Boar Loin with Pumpkin-Candied Ginger Tamales and Pickled Blackberries. For dessert the Stephan’s Heaven and Hell cake (Angel Food, Devil’s Food, Peanut Butter Mousse, Milk Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Purée) was the perfect end to a perfect night.
Eilan Spa could have quite possibly been the highlight of my stay. The serene vibe of the spa, just steps away from the entrance lobby, was peaceful and yet still inviting. The steam rooms and waiting areas and wonderful massages made it impossible to want to leave, but eventually I did. The hotel also had a virtual golf room, which was where I spent a good portion of my Saturday night. The only other hotel I’ve stayed in with a virtual golf room was Hotel 1000 in Seattle, and both were such a fun experience.
Eilan Hotel Resort and Spa is just one of two hotels in all of Texas that is part of The Leading Hotels of the World Collection, and one of San Antonio’s only LEED silver status hotels.
The service, the amenities and the overall feel of Eilan was a great new way to experience a city I thought I’d fully experienced before. Eilan was a gentle reminder that even when you think you’ve been there, done that, there is still much more to experience in life.
ÉILAN HOTEL RESORT & SPA 17103 La Cantera Parkway | San Antonio, Texas 78256 | (210) 598-2930 | www.EilanHotel.com
Jayme Lamm is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Houston focusing on travel writing and is in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Be sure to follow Jayme’s travel and sports adventures on Twitter @jaymelamm.