Holy cats, did we have a nice time in San Antone this weekend!
My very dear in-laws agreed to take the children so that we could celebrate our tenth in the style befitting. So, quite some time ago, actually, I bought two tickets to see "Spamalot" at the Majestic Theater, and made reservations for a hotel on the riverwalk that we had always seen and admired, the Omni La Mansion del Rio.
Now, La Mansion is a very nice, three to four-star hotel hotel. It was built in the 1850's, and has really pretty wrought ironwork and big wood beams, French doors in all the rooms, that sort of thing. But, while it's definitely nicer than the Super 8's we typically stay at, compared to some of the other properties in the seriously turista environment that is the San Antonio Riverwalk, I don't think it's very high on the fancy scale.
However, we were definitely excited to stay there; I like hotels, particularly nice ones, and The Man...um, likes hotels when we aren't there with the kids, nawhutI'msayin'. But, we talked, and agreed that we just couldn't justify shelling out $50 more per night for a riverview room, so we just decided to go for the basic room with a king-sized bed and probably a view of a brick wall from the building across the way.
When I made our reservations online, I noted on the "comments" part that we were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. I figured that, hell, it's a classy joint, and maybe if the hotel wasn't fully booked, they'd throw us a bone and upgrade our rooms a bit.
So, about a week ago, I got an e-mail from a guy at the hotel, wishing us a happy anniversary, and wondering if we might like a complimentary upgrade...not at La Mansion, but at their sister property across the river, the Omni Watermark?
Now, in my perusals of where to stay, I had definitely checked this place out. However, it is a world-class, FIVE star hotel, and the rooms were WAY more, so I discounted that possibility completely. Needless to say, I said hell to the yes...though, still disappointed that we weren't going to get a river view room.
But, when we got there - after the valet quickly and discreetly whisked our car away to an undisclosed location - the nice man at the front desk greeted us by name, wished us a happy anniversary, and brought us champagne with raspberries. And, waiting for us upstairs, was another, complimentary, iced bottle of champagne...and, lo and behold, they did give us a river view room! With a ginormous sex jacuzzi tub, and a big comfy sex bed, and white fluffy sex robes with slippers...oh, dear readers, it was one little slice o'heaven. AND MY CHILDREN WEREN'T THERE.
We discovered quickly that one feels tempted to indulge in the habits of the rich when one is pretending to be rich, so we ordered their in-room breakfast on Saturday morning. (And, um, on Sunday morning, too.)
I must take this time to state that it is delightful...DELIGHTFUL, I say...to have a lovely hot breakfast brought to you at the time you specify, so that you can sit around and eat at your leisure, in your fluffy white sex robes, while drinking steaming mugs of expensive dark-roast coffee and reading the paper that was also brought to you, desired but unbidden, in a linen newspaper tote bag (so as not to be all ugly and newspaper-y, apparently).
I highly recommend the Watermark, if one can afford it, or if one randomly wins the charity lottery, as I did. It is lovely, classy, and romantic. The rooms are coolly modern, yet the hotel itself is in an old, interesting building. There is a whole host of spa services available (of which we did not partake; we are not financially DELUDED, after all). The whole organization is polished and well-run, and the service was unparalleled. Big thumbs up.
(Disclaimer: I will admit that it's likely that I'm just too used to the cheaper side of things, and that others might not consider it THAT nice of a hotel. However, as I don't really get out much, it passes for opulence in my world...and will have to do for now.)
Outside of the hotel, we ate a bunch, and did some good touristy things, many upon the recommendation of Shannon, our good friend (and Mizzou alum) who grew up there, and is currently married to this guy. Friday night we ate at Boudro's, which is a famous restaurant on the Riverwalk. It was...pretty good, but kind of not as good as the hype suggested it should be. Incredible black bean and white cheese soup, though, and really good prickly pear margaritas.
Saturday, we went to the San Antonio Museum of Art. It's very nice; better than anything we have in Austin, really. (And, it fit The Man's Beer Tourism ethos, as it is in the old Lone Star Brewery building.) We didn't make it even half the way through it before hunger got the best of us. Shannon recommended Liberty Bar...which is this place:
The building, which lists sharply to one side (the history written on the menu describes it as resembling "something assembled by drunken children who immediately changed their minds") has a long and storied history. That in and of itself was reason enough for me to visit, but an added bonus is that the food is really excellent, too. They make everything on site - breads, pastas, desserts - and the menu is interesting, and not too expensive. The service is pleasant, if a bit hipster-laid back. (That's also written on the menu...something like "Our floors are uneven, and so is our service.")
Later that night, we went to the Blue Star Brewery (and bike shop!) after which The Man looked like this:
That evening, we ate at Pesca, which is the Watermark's seafood restaurant. I had the best peppered ahi tuna steak I have ever had in my life, bar none. High marks to that place. Later on we saw "Spamalot," which was very cute. I didn't realize how much of it is taken verbatim from the movie; I enjoyed those parts almost more than the updates.
Today, we hit the pool and hot tub, then visited the Mercado, at which we purchased crap we didn't need, because that is what you do there. Afterwards, we ate at Tito's Mexican Restaurant down in the artsy King William district, wherein The Man had some mighty tasty poblano cream enchiladas.
And tonight? We're back in Austin, with still no children, all refreshed and lovey-like in front of a warm TiFaux. Best anniversary ever!
Here's some more pictures....this is the view from our room:
Here's The Man at the rooftop pool:
(It's kind of high. Up there, I mean. And the fence is not very high. It's kinda freaky for the height-phobic, if you're right there at the edge. It's one of those "hey, that's a cool view, BUT I think I'll step back now" things.)
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Holy cats, did we have a nice time in San Antone this weekend!