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Where to Stay in San Antonio: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018

Written by Carri Wilbanks

Whether you are on a family road trip, a romantic getaway, or a business trip, San Antonio is filled with hotels for all budgets and styles of traveler. But not all areas are created equal, and if you don't do some research, you could be stuck in a less than desirable part of town when it comes to accessing the city's main attractions. The area around the River Walk is by far the best place to sleep in San Antonio when it comes to sightseeing. Most of the best luxury and mid-range options are found right around the River Walk, including the Westin Riverwalk San Antonio and Riverwalk Vista. One luxury exception is the Hotel Emma, which is just a few minutes' walk from the River Walk and serves as the anchor for the culinary and cultural Pearl District on the northern edge of downtown. The River Walk area also has a few decent budget sleeps within a 15-minute walk.

Where to Stay for Luxury

River Walk

River Walk

Inside what was once a 19th-century brewery, today the Hotel Emma is a fabulous, eclectic luxury hotel, which serves as the anchor to the artsy, cultural Pearl District. Right on the river, the historic property features a range of South Texas elegant rooms, which are individually decorated and all very comfortable. Upgrade to one of the rooms with claw-foot tubs, terraces with fireplaces, and sitting areas if you're looking for some extra romance. The hotel also has one-bedroom suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and separate living and dining spaces. On-site amenities feature a trendy river-view restaurant, food market, library, and a rooftop swimming pool and fitness room. Parking is free, and bike rentals are available.

In the heart of the River Walk area, the Mokara Hotel and Spa is another top luxury pick. This elegant hotel features spacious rooms and suites, with high ceilings and hand-crafted wood and leather furnishings and accessories and, in many cases, river views from breezy balconies. Bathrooms have designer toiletries and Jacuzzi tubs. On-site amenities include a rooftop pool and cafe with sweeping city views, as well as a restaurant, workout room, luxe spa, and paid valet parking.

The Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio is right on the River Walk promenade and just under a 15-minute walk from The Alamo. This luxe property boasts bright and spacious rooms, which have a distinct Texan vibe, with handcrafted leather furnishings. They are beyond comfortable thanks to the brand's signature Heavenly Beds, which sit on equally chic wrought-iron bed frames. On-site amenities include the well-known Zocca restaurant with al fresco dining facing the river, a posh spa, and a lovely heated outdoor swimming pool.

Where to Stay: Mid-Range

Downtown San Antonio

Downtown San Antonio

Riverwalk Vista is a great choice in the mid-range price bracket as it has a super central location just across the street from the River Walk and less than a five-minute stroll from The Alamo. Inside a redbrick building that dates back to the 1880s, it is an elegant, but still family-friendly, property with stylish rooms featuring hardwood floors, comfortable beds, and mini-fridges. Some also feature lovely old exposed brick walls and views of the River Walk. Perks include a free continental breakfast and afternoon snack service, and guests have access to a nearby swimming pool and fitness center.

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is a wonderful upper mid-range hotel, which has been recently renovated and looks out on the historic River Walk. It's also just a five-minute walk from The Alamo. The hotel features a palazzo-style facade, and inside you'll find contemporary rooms that are spacious and comfortable, with Spanish colonial and Mediterranean flourishes. On-site amenities include an American restaurant with views of the river and a workout room. Parking is available for a fee.

A little farther afield in the Arsenal district, which is just about a mile from the popular River Walk area, the Residence Inn San Antonio Downtown/Alamo Plaza is still a popular choice in the mid-range price bracket. It is an especially good option if you're traveling with kids as it offers rooms ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom suites that all come with kitchens, sleeper sofas, and free Wi-Fi, among other perks. A complimentary hot breakfast is another plus as is the evening social hour with snacks on weekdays. Other on-site amenities include an outdoor pool and hot tub, a 24-hour fitness room, laundry facilities, and free parking.

Where to Stay on a Budget

The Alamo

The Alamo

Super 8 by Wyndham San Antonio/Riverwalk Area is a good budget choice, which is just a short drive from the San Antonio River Walk. This motel-style property features simple but modern rooms, which are clean and comfortable for the price. They come with free Wi-Fi, microwaves, mini-fridges, and coffee makers, as well as a choice of two doubles or a kind bed. Families will find it good value as children under 18 are not charged if staying with an adult. Amenities include a free continental breakfast and parking, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and coin-operated laundry.

Another workable budget pick is La Hacienda Inn Alamodome/Riverwalk, less than a 15-minute walk from downtown. It's a good choice if you want to get away from the big brand chains usually found in this price bracket and offers rustic, Texas-style furnishings. Rooms are clean and comfortable and come with flat-screen TVs and kitchenettes with microwaves and mini-fridges. Children under 18 stay free with an adult, which also makes it a good choice for families. Parking is also free.

Where to Stay for Families

River boats on the San Antonio River

River boats on the San Antonio River

Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk is a great family choice, which is right on the San Antonio River and just a few minutes' walk from the numerous restaurants on the River Walk. The hotel impresses from the moment you enter, thanks to an ornate Art Deco lobby with plenty of stained glass. The rooms and suites feature traditional Texas style, as well as modern amenities like free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs showing a premium cable line-up. Families also like them for their microwaves, mini-fridges, and coffee makers. There are also one-bedroom suites with separate living areas and pullout sofas. A hot breakfast is complimentary as is an evening reception with snacks. There is an outdoor pool on the roof, as well as an indoor pool and fitness center, and the property is pet-friendly.

Another popular option if you have kids is the Hotel Contessa, which offers all-suites accommodation on the River Walk, about 10 minutes' walk from The Alamo. The hotel features spacious suites with bold colors, Spanish colonial accents, and fun extras like granite-topped desks. They come with either river or city views. They also feature sleeper sofas in separate living rooms and free Wi-Fi. On-site amenities include a heated rooftop swimming pool and a hot tub with panoramic views, a luxe spa, Spanish tapas restaurant, coffee shop, 24-hour gym, and parking for a fee.

Where to Stay for Couples

Arneson River Theatre

Arneson River Theatre

The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a grand old property dating back to 1909, which comes with some illustrious history - it was the first hotel in the world to be fully air-conditioned and is where Lyndon B. Johnson spent his honeymoon. Today, it is still a romantic pick for couples. The rooms and suites are sleek and stylish, with super comfortable beds draped in Italian linens. Public spaces are filled with charming historic accents, like chandeliers and plenty of marble, and amenities include a restaurant serving Native American fare, a rooftop terrace and swimming pool, and workout room. There is no on-site parking, however, so it is best for guests traveling without a car.

Also a good choice for couples is the Menger Hotel, right next to The Alamo. The elegant Victorian-era property is just a few minutes' stroll to the River Walk and comes with romantic accents like wrought-iron balconies and charming period rooms and suites. The hotel is chock full of history and is where Teddy Roosevelt recruited Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. On-site amenities include a restaurant serving American fare, a heated outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, workout room, and spa.

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