We knew we wanted to take a mini-vacation over long holiday weekend, so we set our sights on nearby San Antonio Hill country, an easy 3 1/2 hour drive from Houston. Getting into the country offers a breeze in the air and a respite from the bustle of the city. We checked into the luxurious JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa and THIS is the view from our room. I know…I’m surprised I ever left that balcony, too, but the resort offers so much more in addition to its views that we just had to check it all out.
The resort is absolutely gorgeous and set away from any major development. The view of the hills and surrounding area are mostly unspoiled, besides some low-rise condos that are built nearby, but no major buildings or high rises to block your view. Being off the beaten path is a GOOD thing though – there is so much to do for families onsite at the resort. We received a calendar upon check-in with a full selection of activities for the whole family – every day at every time there is something going on.
Of course our boys wasted no time getting down to crafting. We did some Sand Art one afternoon outside of Range Riders, the onsite kids club for kids ages 4-12 staffed by sweet, cheery and helpful counselors. The next afternoon we did some painting in the lobby and brought home two seriously cool paintings we are going to hang on the wall in our playroom.
Spending time outside without the stifling humidity was so good for all of us. The summers are so hot in Houston that we’ve been spending too much time inside in the air conditioning. It just felt so good to be outside breathing the fresh air and feeling the hill country breeze. The boys (all three) had a hilarious game of bag toss going on the lawn.
All of this fun and I haven’t even mentioned the main attraction of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa: the six-acre water park featuring amazing pools, including the Lazy River and two slides. There are three main pools, a kids pool, a family pool and an adults-only pool. We just peeked at that one and spend the majority of our time at the family pool and floating around on the Lazy River. Our routine was to get up first thing in the morning and head down to the pool and swim all morning before enjoying lunch poolside. The menu offers a healthy selection and the food is yummy and comes out quick. There are seven restaurants total at the property, including a Sports Bar and a fine dining option, so we enjoyed all of our meals onsite. Besides eating at the pool, we loved Cibolo Moon for dinner (which has THE best & healthiest kids menu of any restaurant we’ve ever been to!) and the Crooked Branch lounge for a snack and cocktail.
After lunch, we’d usually take a little nap in our beautiful room. It was clean, comfortable, and had everything we needed for an upscale getaway, including the gorgeous view of the expansive property. We would wander the grounds all afternoon and still find new gardens, pathways, nooks and crannies to explore. Some of our favorite spots was near the Sunday House (a very cool room available for meetings or events) where the organic garden is planted and near the fountains at the pond near the spa. It is the perfect place to take family pictures!
Our room faced the main courtyard and overlooked the pools. At night time there were plenty of children running around and having fun on the large yard below us, but we weren’t affected at all by the noise. If you prefer a quieter room, request to face the interior courtyard overlooking the spa and the wedding pavilion. The property also has an entire wing where with a beautiful conference center where you can hold large or small meetings, but the week we were there it seemed to be pretty much full of families doing the same thing as us – enjoying a little fun in the sun.
Spending time at the JW Marriott was a great time to disconnect and REconnect. Nothing says summer better than roasting s’mores on an open fire after a long day at the pool and playing outside. On one of our evenings we took the boys to the Kids Night Out at the resort’s Range Riders program. The theme was Junior Chef and they were able to spend the evening playing games, making crafts, eating dinner and watching a movie while we headed to the Lantana Spa to enjoy the beautiful facilities and indulge in some quiet time at the outdoor pool. The Lantana Spa is also where the fitness room and classes are located. I took a fantastic class called Bands, Bars and Balls and was sore for two days.
Although we could have stayed for a week or longer, a few days getaway at the JW Marriott felt like a true vacation. We had SO much fun and highly recommend it if you are in the San Antonio hill country or surrounding area. We can’t wait to go back!
Author: Candace Thomas