Being in the city over Labor Day weekend for a convention, I chose this hotel (over the ‘official’ convention choices) because of other glowing reviews, and it lived up to – and actually exceeded – my expectations. From the registration desk through the main floor hallway to the ‘Rincon Alegre Lobby Bar’, the décor was a perfect blend of Spanish and the southwest, with brightly colored artwork on the walls reflecting that theme. Check-in was quick and efficient. My room was on the 18th floor, one of those designated for ‘Honors’ guests, on the side of the building overlooking the convention center, facing the Tower of the Americas, two Marriotts and the Rivercenter Mall; upgrading to the other side with a view of the city and (to an extent) the Riverwalk itself was prohibitively expensive.
My next pleasant surprise was the elevator call touch-pad (ok, I like tech stuff). No up or down button, but an iPad style touch screen which lit up when it detected motion near it, and displayed the floor numbers. After touching the desired floor, the screen then displayed the elevator cab ID (A through D), along with both visual (arrow) and verbal cues to the cab. Inside the cab, there were no floor buttons – ignore the touch screen and get in the wrong elevator, and you went where it, not you, intended. In my six nights, even with a fairly large number of guests on Saturday, this computerized system only twice had as many as two stops between the lobby and my floor – amazingly efficient! As for other unexpected tech, the guest computers tucked away in the corner of the lobby were Macs.
Aside from the positive reviews, one of the things which had attracted me to the hotel was that every room had its own private balcony, and though each was comfortably sized and provided with a table and chairs, I spent brief minutes on mine, for a photo op only, because the daytime temperature each day was within a degree or two of 100F, with humidity. San Antonio in August is not outdoor weather except perhaps for inhabitants of the sunny side of Mercury! I should note that the hotel does have a pool – outdoors – though I had trouble imagining its use when the sun was on it!
My room was reasonably sized, especially for a downtown city hotel, and its décor was as pleasing as the lobby and main floor areas. The room had a flat-screen TV, and a mini-fridge, which – given the unused lock on its door - appeared to have once been a mini-bar. I was able to fit 5 quarts of Gatorade and another 20 oz beverage in it, but I’d been warned that it was not cold enough for medicinal (or, uh, ice cream, sigh) storage. I also appreciated the high-intensity reading lamp for each of the room’s two beds, the motion-activated light in the closet which provided an automatic soft illumination upon entry or late-night bathroom visits, and the mini safe in the closet (big enough for a small camera and accessories, for instance)
I had breakfast each morning at the hotel’s River’s Edge Café, the only hotel restaurant I visited (with the convention, I was out of the hotel from breakfast till late night). The Café is directly on the Riverwalk, and at 8AM each morning, I was able to sit window-side (inside!) to that scenic waterway (there were tables outside directly beside the water, but even at my early hour, the outside climate was sweat-inducing). There’s both a menu and a buffet, neither inexpensive; the latter was my daily choice for the enormous variety of food. I love pancakes for breakfast, and though they are on the menu, they only once appeared at the buffet – but amazingly, I was able to ask for them directly, and I got personal freshly made pancakes each morning as part of my buffet. I should note that without exception, the wait staff was friendly, efficient and attentive, even offering me a ‘to go’ coffee each day when I’d finished eating.
The hotel, as I’ve indicated, is on the Riverwalk, and one could leave the Café and directly start a leisurely stroll along the waterway – though even at 9AM after breakfast, it was sweat inducing (note my ‘not in summer’ theme?). The hotel is directly across from the convention center, and a fairly short walk SE to HemisFair Park and the Tower of the Americas, and NE to the Rivercenter Mall, where one can find numerous restaurants and retail shops, a multiplex movie theater and IMAX; the Alamo is just beyond the mall. Of course, the entire length of the Riverwalk is lined with restaurants, and (summer note especially) both a Haagen-Dazs and Ben&Jerry’s.
My friends were staying in other major hotels in the immediate area, and though their lobbies were ‘grander’, this Hilton looked and felt warmer and more intimate. I was thoroughly pleased. (Apologies - 'added' photos in review sequence but TA apparently likes to rearrange things)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Explore San Antonio from the Hilton Palacio del Rio and enjoy our San Antonio hotel’s contemporary, hacienda style setting. Spectacularly situated on the banks of the famous San Antonio River Walk, this San Antonio hotel offers 485 Guest Rooms with private balconies and a range of thoughtful amenities including modern 37-inch HD TVs, high-speed internet access and a connectivity center. Unwind with a great night’s sleep in a comfy bed and admire breathtaking panoramas across San Antonio. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Palacio Del Rio Hotel San Antonio
- Hilton Hotel San Antonio
- Hilton San Antonio
- Palacio Del Rio Hilton
- San Antonio Hilton