Last Updated on December 4, 2016 by Jody Halsted
To say my family rarely stays at a resort is an understatement. We are very budget conscience and this type of stay would be something we would need to save a couple of years to do. About this time last year I purchased about a dozen raffle tickets to help some friends raise money to fund their international adoption. When I won the grand prize (a 5 night stay at any Marriott in the US, Central America or Caribbean and two airline tickets) the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa had just opened. We purchased flights for the girls and began making our plans to visit.
It's almost a shame this resort is so close to San Antonio. If it weren't so close to such an amazing city you wouldn't even think about leaving the grounds. There is really no need. From relaxing lounge areas, a cozy library and pampering spa to beautiful grounds, two PGA golf courses, an incredible pool and delicious restaurants the resort is a full vacation unto itself. My family may not have a lot of resort experience but the JW Marriott Hill Country seems to have gotten everything right.
The resort is set on 600 acres on the edge of San Antonio. The land was originally part of a massive ranch and it is easy to forget how close to a city you are as you wander the grounds.
Entering the resort has a “lodge” feel as you pull into a carport built of enormous beams. Rocking chairs are situated between the driveway and the doors, perfect for relaxing as you wait for your car to be retrieved. Sheltered valet parking is $25 per day. Free parking is nearby.
The lobby is large and open with scattered leather couches, tables and touch screen game tables. Far from being an area you want to escape from, this was incredibly relaxing and a favorite “go to” for the girls.
Our deluxe room had a king bed and a pull out couch. The bathroom was enormous with a separate shower and bathtub. We also had a balcony which overlooked the TPC Club House and one of the golf courses. The deluxe room is the smallest available. It was comfortable, if a bit cramped, for our family. The desk even had a plug-in panel with enough outlets for all our electronics! The only bad thing: a daily internet charge. (My very biggest pet peeve.) I was able to view the Executive Suite which would be perfect for a family. It has two rooms- a bedroom and a living area with a pull out couch and the same enormous bathroom.
The Luxury Suites are truly luxurious and the grand River Suites are beyond that. Incredible.
River Bluffs Water Expereince
My girls couldn't wait to play in this water park! Far beyond your hotel pool it is easy to spend days on end here. Three separate pools – kids' pool, adult only infinity pool and large leisure pool- are circled by a lazy river that can be entered by twisty water slide or steps. Comfortably cushioned lounge chairs and umbrellas are abundant and cabanas are available to rent at the leisure pool. If you're after a bit more excitement climb the Water Tower and try one of two tubed slides.
Towels and life jackets are available for guests at the pool area. There is also no need to leave if you are hungry. The Rivertop Grill has family friendly food and beverages. You can choose a table in the open restaurant or order from your lounge chair.
Range Riders Kids Club
This quickly became my daughters' second favorite place on the resort. Beyond giving Doug and I time alone, the girls had so much fun! They created mosaic Texas, decorated cowboy hats and flip flops, played games, watched movies and got to choose their meals from the kids menu. My youngest had so much fun and has asked to live in the kids club, while my eldest has decided she wants to work there when she is older.
A few weeks after returning home Brenna received a birthday card from the kids club. It reminded her of the great fun she had and the thoughtfulness impressed me.
Range Rider's Kids Club is for guests aged 4-12 and fully potty trained. Available Thursday thru Sunday, $12.50 per hour per child. Advance registration is recommended.
We enjoyed three of the restaurants on the property. The Rivertop Grille in the River Bluff Water Experience, Cibolo Moon and 18 Oaks.
Rivertop Grill served easy appetizers and sandwiches, perfect for eating poolside. Doug raved about the fish tacos and my Margarita chicken sandwich was delicious.
Doug and I enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Cibolo Moon while the girls were at Kids Club. The seemingly endless buffet included fresh fruits,cheeses and meats, muffins, bagels, biscuits and gravy, eggs, pancakes… Chefs were on hand to create omelets and waffles.
Cibolo Moon has indoor and outdoor seating and, as the main restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
18 Oaks is located in the Club House adjacent to the two TCP golf courses. It is also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have a chance to enjoy dinner there, I highly recommend it. We had such an incredible experience that I had to share it in a separate post.
I wish I could have spent the entire day here. It was such a relaxing environment and I felt positively pampered from the moment I entered! A variety of spa services are offered and a scheduled service allows you access to the spa including the relaxation lounges (women's, men's and co-ed), steam rooms (men's and women's), the spa's pool area and the spa's fitness center. The Replenish Spa Cafe serves meals designed to compliment the relaxing environment.
For more about my time at the Lantana Spa check out my review at The Spa Gals.
Golf, Shopping and Convention Center
We don't golf and we weren't at a convention, so our views of these areas were rather limited.
The TPC San Antonio is a private club and only accessible to members and guests of the resort. The Oaks course hosts the Valero Texas Open. You will find 18 Oaks in the Club House.
While the girls were at Range Riders Doug and I explored the far reaches of the resort. We browsed the fun shops- everything from swim necessities to jewelry, clothing to trinkets- and wandered to the convention area. The tri-level meeting area was busy when we visited but the spaces I peeked into seemed well appointed. I absolutely adored the glass art on the ceiling.
I Hope to Return
Like I said at the beginning of my post; we don't visit a lot resorts. Many seem to hit a high note in one area, be it spa, golf or family, but so few seem to be able to get it all right. The JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa does. This is a perfect family vacation spot; one my entire family hopes to return to!
Disclosure: While the majority of my trip was covered by the raffle the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort did provide the Kids Club time for my girls, one of our lunches at Rivertop Grill, a spa treatment for me and our dinner at 18 Oaks.