JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

By Sandra Ramani / September 14, 2011

Opened this past January, Texas’s first JW Marriott resort is a 1,002-room, 600-acre property set just outside of San Antonio, at the gateway to the state’s picturesque Hill Country region. The hotel’s arrival has created something of a stir in the area, for while San Antonio certainly has its share of large hotels, few things come close to the scope of this newbie, which features two PGA TOUR 18-hole golf courses, seven dining options, and a 30- treatment room spa, along with extensive event and conference facilities. It can all be a little overwhelming at arrival—and make one wonder how something of this magnitude could possibly be eco-friendly.

Happily, it is—and in lots of unique ways. In terms of the big picture, only 15 percent of the JW’s land has been developed; the remaining 85 percent will remain a nature and bird reserve featuring a sanctuary for the endangered Golden Cheek Warbler. The resort’s LEED-certified buildings were constructed using local materials (including the same limestone found at The Alamo), and interior walls are supported by recycled steel studs instead of wooden ones. Seventy percent of the hotel’s power needs are met with “windtricity,” the golf courses use a closed-loop water recycling system, and the guest rooms boast smart air-conditioners, biodegradable pens, and low-flow showerheads and toilets. From the restaurants to the gift shop, there is a strong commitment to using products grown or made within 150 miles of the resort, and to supporting small businesses and producers. There are some fun green touches, too: electric car drivers enjoy special parking (complete with outlets for plugging-in), and the soft gray blazers worn by managers are made from recycled plastic.

The Lantana Spa, as well, is committed to offering the most indigenous, natural experience possible. Past a limestone rotunda, the 26,000 square-foot standalone sanctuary—done-up in a stylish, warm palette of greens and browns—features over two dozen treatment rooms, plus a hydrotherapy tub, gym with yoga and Pilates studios, outdoor swimming pool, and an aromatherapy inhalation lounge scented with lavender and cedar wood. (There’s also an excellent gift shop stocking a well-curated selection of home, beauty, and lifestyle items.) While waiting in the cushy relaxation area, guests are encouraged to partake in a “knot ritual,” during which they tie seven knots into a piece of ribbon—each one representing a worry to be discarded—before placing it in a communal bowl. It’s a thoughtful way to begin the experience, and a fitting lead-in to the spa’s ritual-based, relaxation-oriented treatments.

Along with JW Marriott signatures like the Active Organic Facial (using Naturopathica products), Restorative Organic Massage (which includes a foot scrub and scalp rub), and Kerstin Florian skin treatments, the menu includes services that reflect the area’s rich Mexican-American heritage and that use native Hill Country herbs. Among the most popular—and most nourishing—offerings is the Spirit of the Curanderos Energy Spa Journey, a 105-minute homage to the curandero, or traditional shaman. After a quick exfoliation with herb-infused mineral salts, clients are treated to a tension-releasing body massage incorporating wild-crafted, organic lavender oil and heated stones, followed by warming body wrap and scalp massage. It’s a simple service—the components are pretty straightforward, and it all takes place in one room—but one that definitely leaves guests feeling mellow. Luckily, the property is strewn with daybeds and rocking chairs just made for post-spa contemplation (or naps). www.jwsanantonio.com

Sandra Ramani

Sandra Ramani

Senior Contributing Editor at Organic Spa Magazine
In addition to serving as OSM’s Senior Contributing Editor, writer/editor Sandra Ramani covers travel, wellness, and lifestyle topics for such publications as Travel + Leisure, Robb Report, Premier Traveler, AFAR, Bridal Guide, Elite Traveler, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also the author of “Day Trips from Dallas / Fort Worth,” now in its second edition. Recent assignments have found her sleeping in the Sahara, hopping helicopters in New Zealand, and making this new friend in Bali.
Sandra Ramani

Latest posts by Sandra Ramani (see all)