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“A luxury hotel/resort away from it all”

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JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
Ranked #16 of 354 Hotels in San Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
Hightstown, New Jersey
Level Contributor
77 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“A luxury hotel/resort away from it all”
Reviewed July 29, 2010

My wife's company was having a meeting at this hotel and since I had the time off and it was our anniversary (not to mention that San Antonio is one of my favorite places), I tagged along. We drove from Downtown San Antonio where we had stayed the night before to the northern city limits where this property is located. Do your research before driving here. The address was not in my GPS. My iPhone was able to give me an approximate location, so I was able to figure it out. The property is 3 miles from Route 281, down the road from some upscale stores and new construction. It is very isolated from everything. Downtown San Antonio is 20 miles away. If there is no traffic on 281, you can get down there fairly quickly, but you may want to budget 45 minutes for visiting downtown and I would not recommend this hotel if your sole purpose is to do the Riverwalk, Alamo, Hemisfair Park, La Villita, Market Square, and the Missions. There are a few restaurants, drug stores, and other typical shops within five miles or so of the resort.
When you pull up to the hotel, there are a multitude of employees ready to help you. They will help you unload your car and will offer you valet parking (very expensive) or you can self-park. I self-parked, as I am young and able bodied. If you are not so young and able bodied, they have a guy on a golf cart that will take you to and from your car from time to time. Check-in was easy and the bell-hop rode up with us, told us all about the hotel and showed us to our room. This hotel has complimentary self-service laundry with a flat-screen TV and a microwave in the laundry room and ice and soda machines on every floor.
The room was beautiful. There is a small marble topped bar on the right that hides your coffee maker and ice bucket. Next to that is a closer with iron and ironing board. On the left is a bathroom with bath, separate shower, toilet, and sink with ample counter space and mirror. We had a king room with a flat screen TV, input port if you brought your own DVD player, video games, etc. There was a couch (I believe fold-out), chair with ottoman, desk chair, pull out table for work, and a narrow balcony. Other rooms had a full balcony with a table and chairs. There was climate control in every room via central air. There was even an ipod dock/alarm clock! The only negative about the room was that the numerous pillows on the bed were not particularly supportive.
The highlight of the property, in my mind, was the "River Bluff Experience" which featured a main pool, kiddie pool, adults only pool, lazy river, action river/slide, and two amusement park caliber water slides. There were also plenty of lounge chairs, umbrellas, and poolside wait staff for food and drink orders. Lifeguards and waitstaff were very friendly. The drinks at the bar were typical resort/cruise pricing, but I found it a bit overpriced for San Antonio.
I ate many meals off of the resort, as I would rather have good local food at local prices, not resort prices. I did eat lunch at the spa restaurant one day. The food was tasty and I got free refills on my Diet Pepsi, however the service was very inconsistent. Our waiter forgot the lemon for my wife's iced tea, brought the wrong berry plate, then made it incorrectly in the kitchen the second time before getting it out to us on the third attempt. The food was not delivered all together, so it made dining awkward for a party of three. We also had an inexplicably long wait for drinks at the bar on the first night.
The resort is sparkling clean and aesthetically pleasing. There are plenty of people to help you and answer your questions. Despite being out of the way, almost everything you need is on site.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DSXM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,342 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Austin, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2010

What do you get when you cross the Hotel Overlook (from Steven King's 'The Shining') with a sprawling suburban shopping mall?

The J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country is a huge hotel/resort north of San Antonio, TX where you are charged lots of money to be made to feel uncomfortable. The attitude of the staff is for you, the guest, to conform to their wishes, not the other way around, which is practically the definition of bad service/bad management. I attended a gathering of the Texas Bar there from July 26 to July 29, 2010, and if you come to this place, bring your hiking shoes! The hotel is built right into the side of a steep hill, and you will be riding lots of escalators to get around. I can't imagine what handicapped people would do to get from one place to another in this Versailles-scale building (without the good taste of Versailles).

I noticed one staff member whose only job was to guard a table laid with snacks for one of the gatherings. Once I tried to walk out onto a balcony to get a view of the surrounding hill country. A staff member who looked like a G-man without sunglasses stopped me and told me that that part of the hotel was 'private'. I asked him, "You mean I can't walk over there (a few feet away) and look out over the balcony?" "No; it's private." I retreated and walked along some of the galleries where they want you to buy things; stuff like T-shirts with 'Made in Texas' printed on them. They even have a Starbucks!

If you want to spend $200+/night to be treated like a trespasser, this is the place for it! And a chicken-fried steak is only $18 at one of the six restaurants on premises--you get the idea. After my experience there, I decided I wouldn't stay there if it was free; who wants to pay money to be made to feel uncomfortable? But then I realized that I wouldn't stay there even if they paid ME $200+/night. REDRUM

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sam_Lander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2010

Let me first say that as you drive up to this resort, the image is striking. I honestly could not believe this was a resort in the San Antonio area. It is enormous! I was traveling for both business (a conference at the hotel) and pleasure, and brought my family along.

Resort-style Amenities: Waterpark, great - endless entertainment, even the evening movies on the weekends. Sportsbar was also neat, and they allowed you to come in with the kids because it was also a restaurant. Kids activities - perfect if your child needs something to do all the time. Crafts, gameroom...you can even find games like checkers, backgammon, etc all over the resort itself. NO PLAYGROUND. That would be my change. How about a non-waterpark place for the kids to blow off steam?

Room: A slight disappointment. Double beds? My husband and I couldn't even fit in the bed together. They tell you at check in "2 queens." Um, not. If that was a queen size bed, then the JW Marriott invented a new size of queen, and it fits only tiny people (I'm 5'4" and my husband is 5'11" - we are average size people!). The room had a sliver of a balcony, but a balcony nonetheless overlooking the golf course. Other rooms had a balcony with table and chairs (we were in 8331 - an accessible room). The in room internet was free w/ your resort fee but was wired (ehh), and the TV also accepted your portable DVD player on a media panel away from the TV. Oh, and lots of extra plugs for your chargers!!

Biggest fiasco was parking. You had to literally HUNT for parking. Valet complained about parking, guests complained about parking, it is a mess. If you happen to find a spot, it's far far away, and you have to walk about a mile to get back to your room location.

All in all, this was a great stay. Lots for the kids to do, great conference space. I just want to quickly compliment the staff - we had a several requests during our stay and I never had to wait more than 5 mins for ANYTHING. They were very accomodating, and I really appreciated it!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank christyankrom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wakefield ri
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2010

What I've learned from dealing with this and another Marriot hotel this past weekend is that the answer to almost any reasonable guest request is always 'no.' There is absolutely no built in flexibility. What I realized is that the staff did try to accomodate me but checked in with corporate and was told 'no.'
The staff had me call mariott customer service and the customer service person hung
up on me.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank teaandme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katy, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2010

We spent a family weekend here and thought the property was beautiful. The pool area was beautiful - kids loved it. Spa was great and husband enjoyed the golf course. The pool area could use additional maintenace people. We went down early one morning to the adult pool and couldn't swim because it was full of crickets. Live music was good and we enjoyed the lobby bar. Overall, our stay was great until we went to check out. I noticed a restaurant charge that obviously was not ours. The front desk staff seemed annoyed by this and went to look it up. He left me standing at the front desk for 30 minutes before coming back and taking it off my bill. He never offered an apology or even spoke to me for that matter. It really left us with a bad feeling.

Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank familytravel2010_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2010

Loved this new JW Marriott Resort! Give it a strong 2-thumbs up for young families that would take advantage of the on-site 6-acre water park. We stayed in mid-July for 2 nights -- King bed w/ balcony overlooking the resort/golf area. Room was spacious, exceptionally clean and well decorated. We heard no noise from other rooms. The bathroom had both a shower and separate tub. Flat screen TV and cordless phone in the bed area; refrig was also in the cabinet. We used points/certificates but would consider a 'splurge' in the future to enjoy this great resort again.

We traveled with an infant (4 months) and a five-year old boy. Ample shade by the kiddie pool to relax with the young one while the older could do the slides there (see photo) or be escorted by one of us parents to one of the larger slides or (very) lazy river (due to his being under height). Kiddie area has a zero depth pool so even the smallest can splash around. Larger slides are pretty fast but still safe for most kids above 5 years of age. Lifeguards were present everywhere but weren't all that attentive (young teenagers). Pool Bar attendant came regularly and brought us refreshing drinks -- good service, reasonable price for a resort. The water park required wrist bands but only at busy times (weekends) to keep non-registered guests out of the water park; I think this is an overall benefit to keep outsiders out and to allow paying guests to enjoy the resort's services. They did not require the wrist bands on Monday-Tuesday when we were there. Overall, the water park was fantastic given that it is a portion of a larger resort and not a dedicated full-feature water park like WaterCountry USA.

We ate each morning at the Cibolo restaurant - full buffet breakfast is about $20/person for adults and included omelet bar (particularly good), waffles to order, fresh fruit, smoked salmon, biscuits & gravy plus all the standards (cereal, yogurt, etc.). The warm cinnamon buns were delicious. Smaller buffet and regular menu items were also available. Good food, good service --- very, very family friendly. Outdoor seating available.

Aside from the obvious beauty & size and easy-to-walk grounds, some especially impressive features of the hotel were the free laundry room (w/ free detergent) (another guest shared our thought that these little touches go a long way), a clean community microwave in the laundry area, various crafts & activities for the kids, three Microsoft table-top computers (state-of-the-art) for playing touch-sensitive digital checkers and exploring the new technology, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, rocking chairs outside, on-site Starbucks & Hertz car rental and a nice shop or two. We did not golf or use any spa services.

I've read some reviews suggesting this resort is not family or child friendly. We saw the extreme opposite. Kids, strollers, etc. were welcomed everywhere. We looked out our balcony and saw one boy flying a kite on the large back lawn (which bumped up against the golf course which also had some kids running around). Another grandfather and young boy were tossing a football. Still others were climbing the manicured garden fountains. We did not see or sense a single reprimand the entire 48 hours we were there. Overall, this was very good as the kids were just being kids and not destroying anything in their play.

We ate one dinner at the sports bar. We were surprised at how good the food was. The young staff was very attentive, courteous, etc. Again, very kid friendly with some tables having a TV literally in the booth --- our son loved watching cartoons while the rest of the restaurant had sports programs on. We tried room service once --- pretty pricey at about $25 for a small pizza.

Parking is somewhat a challenge given the incline on which the parking lot is built. The hotel offers free electric golf cart type rides to/from cars for those that need it. Valet parking is an option but probably not cheap. Taxi to the airport was about $35.

On-site Starbucks opened at 6am - very nice. Business center was operated by Kinkos; accessible off-hours with a room key. They had all the basics and then some.

I was up very early in the morning and enjoyed strolling the inside and out of the resort. Snapped some photos (see attached).

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank PackTheBagAndGo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 19, 2010

This is one of the most beautiful hotels we've ever been in. We were greeted with top notch service. The only complaint about our room was the 2 double beds we had. They were comfortable and linens luxurious but it's hard to share with a 6'4" hubby. We wished we could have had a queen and double bed for our family.

Every meal our family had in the Cibolo restaurant was wonderful and our server Brian was the best! Breakfast buffet in huge and had the best home made muffins I've had. Everything is made fresh and from scratch.

The pool, lazy river and slides were a hit with all of us. Seemed a little strict on the rule for entry though. You must wear a wrist band to enter and if you loose it, you're told it can't be replaced. REALLY? The poolside music was a good mix that was pleasant but on Saturday we had a live singer who sang a long list of country hits. We quite enjoyed him until hour #4 and then it was just too much.

Smore's were another interesting thing. They told us we could only have ONE and even marked our hands with a blue Sharpie to keep us honest. Almost funny for a 4 star hotel to ration Smore's.

Even with the little "issues" I still want to go back. Maybe some of the rules will be relaxed and some staff trained a little better on customer service.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank travelmomma6839
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

Property: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
Address: 23808 Resort Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78261-2018
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Texas > San Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in San Antonio
#8 Business Hotel in San Antonio
#9 Luxury Hotel in San Antonio
#11 Family Hotel in San Antonio
#15 Romantic Hotel in San Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 395
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa has firmly established itself as the city's premier luxury destination and the renowned resort in Texas' Hill Country. Rated 4-Diamonds by AAA, and just 12 miles from San Antonio International Airport (SAT), our luxury resort features the 36-hole TPC San Antonio golf course, home to the Valero Texas Open, Lantana Spa, a six acre water park and seven restaurants. Our restaurants are sure to please with Texas BBQ, genuine Mexican cuisine and private dining rooms for groups. Our rooms offer cozy beds, scenic views, soft robes & large bathrooms. Guests will also enjoy the open lobby with free Wi-Fi. Whether you're seeking a peaceful respite, productive conference or fun-filled family vacation, our luxurious Hill Country resort will not only exceed your expectations but redefine them altogether. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jw Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Hotel San Antonio
Jw Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort And Spa

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