This was my first time visit to San Antonio and we picked both the hotel and destination to try something different. Riverwalk Vista is an historic hotel that is operated to preserve some of San Antonio's heritage. Don't expect all the amenities and slick features that come with newly built resort hotels. If you go in with the right expectations you will have a great visit. There are a few things that may put you off and you should be aware of before booking. They include:
a) the entrance - you have to climb a half dozen stairs and use the intercom to get in when you first arrive. It's a bit confusing and not that easy to spot if you haven't been there before. Depending on the hours you keep there is also a good chance you will run into one of more homeless people on the sidewalk near the entrance. A couple times I also had to walk over a pool of vomit. To give the hotel staff credit, it never took them more than a few minutes to clean up any of the messes I spotted. The entrance is right beside the McDonald's restaurant which attracts a few people that either beg for handouts or just hang out. No one I encountered was aggressive or engaged in objectionable behavior but some people won't be that comfortable with this aspect of the location.
b) I was in room 311, whenever I entered I picked up a slight musty odor. I generally didn't notice it after a few minutes but it always hit me when I first came in.
c) Furniture - in keeping with the historical nature of the venue was old and a bit eclectic. I wish I had a couple more drawers available to me, I'm one of those travelers who moves in and unpacks my suitcases right away so I like to have quite a few drawers available for my use. The refrigerator could have been a bit cooler but that is nit-picking.
What will you love?
a) the shower - great water pressure, easy access and plenty of space
b) breakfast - not really fancy but tasty and a bit different than the normal hotel supplied breakfast.
c) cookies & wine - be sure to go whether you like cookies and/or wine or not. This is a great chance to meet other guests, share your experiences, tips and get input from the staff. It's very social and if you don't partake you will lose out on the best part of the Riverwalk Vista experience.
Some of the recent reviews commented on the noise, I didn't find it any noisier than other downtown hotels I've stayed at.
1. The staff are great, be sure to take advantage of their local knowledge and let them help you get the most from your trip whether it's making reservations for you or finding someplace or something you need.
2. You are very close to all the major attractions in the Riverwalk area, unless you have a disability or medical condition there are enough attractions within waking distance to keep you busy for a couple days. If you want to travel outside that area a really good option is to buy a day pass for the via buses. $4 gets you 24 hours access, the routes are easy and both the drivers and information hosts are happy to help you out.
3. For shopping I hit Paris Hats, which is an iconic dealer for everything Stetson and more. The shop has lots of character (includes historic dirt, a few areas could definitely use a good cleaning) and the staff are very knowledgeable. If you buy a hat make sure you ask to go in the back and watch them shape it for you! For clothing Penners on E. Commerce gave me great service including same day tailoring for no extra charge on shirts that were quite reasonably priced.
4. The Botanical Garden was a great trip and the restaurant there was worth the stop. (Use the bus to get there!)
5. Check out what is going on at the Majestic Theatre, there is always something and it's a nice break from wandering the riverwalk area.
I spent most of the five days I was there walking so I didn't miss having a fitness center. The room was spacious and had plenty of character. The supplied bathrobes are nice and the in-room safe is easy to use. Overall, I had a great time, and if your priority is a friendly, social atmosphere and something that isn't a cookie cutter experience you will too.
Wander all the common areas and soak up the history on the walls and be sure to speak to everyone.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.