Good Texas Vibes

by Rona Berg

Set along a bend in San Antonio’s famous River Walk, the Hotel Contessa is a fresh face in this increasingly sophisticated city. Every Friday, guests are greeted with a Texas-sized margarita—topped off with Prosecco—upon check-in, setting the tone for what will be an utterly effervescent experience.

Contessa is situated close to the charming King William Historic District, with restaurants and cafes, an easy walk from downtown. A short distance away, along the San Antonio River, the Briscoe Western Art Museum serves up a slice of Texas history. The Contessa makes it easy to immerse yourself in a Lone Star vibe, especially at Ambler, the signature restaurant and bar that features a range of unique agave cocktails, along with delicious entrees from breakfast tacos to Texas brisket, and live music four nights a week. In true Texas fashion, the Southwestern-style rooms are large—all suites—with plenty of room to spread out and relax.

The four-room jewel of a Spa is a soothing, calming environment, with dim lighting, trickling water and an expansive menu of face and body treatments geared toward grounding and relaxation, such as a stellar Chakra Balancing Massage, with Shankara, the exquisite Ayurvedic brand. The Contessa spa director, Gigi Guiette, oversaw a gut renovation, and the spa is now on track to expand once again. Guiette has gone to great lengths to select local brands—including tea, tinctures and essential oils—from the nearby Hill Country. “I wanted to incorporate local, women-owned businesses, highlight them, and intertwine them with treatments,” she says. The pool and fitness center are up on the roof, with panoramic views of the city.

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