If you’ve never visited San Antonio, or it’s been awhile since your last trip, you’ll want to check out the recently renovated St. Anthony Hotel. She’s not the newest kid on the block. In fact, she was the first luxury hotel to open in San Antonio, Texas, back in 1909. Fondly referred to as “the jewel of Texas,” the St. Anthony was dreamed up by two wealthy cattlemen who put their heads, cowboy hats and hearts together to give this dusty town a hotel worth its weight in gold – or should I say marble? Italian marble and Corinthian capitals collide with modern day conveniences to make this historic property shine. And you can’t beat the location – steps from the Alamo and the popular River Walk.
The rooms are spacious, especially when compared to dorm room sized New York hotel rooms. At 342 square feet, two people will have plenty of room to move about without bumping into one another. The bathrooms are large, as well. Our room had a shower, but suites offer shower and separate bath. Rooms feature Elemis spa amenities. All rooms include free wifi, 42 inch tv and generous work space, but there are some oddities such as no in-room coffee maker; you’ll need to head downstairs, but the coffee is worthy of the trek. Also, you’ll need to request room service if you require ice. Fortunately, the staff is attentive, so the response time is fairly quick.
When in Texas, wear your cowboy boots. A free perk of the St. Anthony is a complimentary shoe (or boot) shine. The streets are no longer dusty, but if you head to the San Antonio Rodeo & Stock Show, as I did on this visit, you’ll want your boots to look good.
After a day of sight-seeing our touring the Alamo, you’ll want to cool off in the rooftop infinity pool. They have a bar up top, lounge chairs in the pool and offer city views. If it’s not too hot and you want a place to chat or read a good book, there are couches on the top deck as well.
Once the sun sets on this Southwestern landmark, grab a cocktail at Haunt Bar and head to dinner at Rebelle. Chef Stefan Bowers – who happens to hail from my hometown of Oakland, California – is dishing up some wonderful creations such as grilled Texas quail, rosemary and red pepper spiced lamb shank, herb crusted Crystal Valley Farm chicken breast, charred meyer lemon polenta and feast charred beets (pictured above.)
If you prefer to lounge indoors, head to the lobby and check out the library, relax by the Hamburg Steinway piano – you can read about its storied history and Russian ties in the hotel’s book or ask concierge for the story. Meet for drinks in the St. Anthony Club, make a grand entrance at Peacock Alley or do like many celebrities or presidents before you and say, “meet you under the eagle at the St. Anthony.”
Sometimes called the Waldorf on the Prairie, this larger than life hotel with grand bloodlines and friendly doormen and bellhops might be just the ticket for your next visit to San Antonio. Rates at The St. Anthony hotel range from $189 up to $5,000 for the palatial Presidential Suite. The St. Anthony Hotel is a Luxury Collection Hotel. You can check and compare rates at Expedia, Travelocity or other booking sites.
Review by Nancy D. Brown, Bay Area Travel Writer and historic hotel lover. I was a guest of The St. Anthony while covering the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo for another online publication. All photos courtesy Nancy D. Brown.