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Vacation Tip: Choosing Your Hotel

Apr 9, 2019 | Travel | 0 comments

Fresh from an excellent five-day vacation in San Antonio,
Texas, I’m going to write about a few of the considerations that made our trip
so enjoyable. Our group included me, my good friend Jeanne, my son Russ, and
two of his friends.

The first mutual decision Jeanne and I had to make was
selecting our accommodations. After some back and forth, we chose The Hotel
Contessa on West Market Street. Though it may have seemed a little pricey on
the surface, ultimately it was worth every penny spent. In fact, this hotel
cost the same as a recent three-night stay in a trendy Brooklyn hotel (which
shall remain unnamed), and the overall experience was far superior.

A few of the factors we took into consideration when
deciding where to stay included:

Does the hotel have a free airport shuttle?

Hotel Contessa did not. However, there was a Super
Shuttle that ran every fifteen minutes from the San Antonio International Airport.
It cost $12 one way-no reservation needed, and was simple and convenient.

Is there early check-in and late check out?

My flight got in at 12:30 so my room wasn’t ready yet.
The receptionist stored my luggage for me and I went down to the Cork Bar and
had soup and salad, then relaxed in the spacious lounge area until they called
me. Late check out is an option too.

Will you need to rent a car to get around?

San Antonio is a city on the move! Everywhere we
looked people seemed to be energetically heading somewhere-by scooter, Segway,
bicycle, cab, Uber, bus, river taxi, or on foot. Jeanne and I took the bus,
which was easy and inexpensive, walked to most of our meals, and took advantage
the hotel’s valet parking for Russell’s car. This cost $48, but that gives you unlimited
access to your vehicle all day (at no extra charge) and the valets were great!
Parking is tight in the city so if you can get by without a car, you’re better off.

Is the hotel centrally located?

Hotel Contessa is within walking distance to almost everything
you might need. The Riverwalk is literally right out the lounge door! If you don’t
want to take the city streets the whole way to your destination, you can walk along
this more scenic route, then use the stairs or bridges to get back to street
level. The Riverwalk offers plenty of opportunities for people watching, as
well as observing nature. Sitting on the hotel benches or at the tables out
back was one of our favorite ways to start and end the day.

Not only were there restaurants close by, there were
bars (fancy and dive) a 24-hour Whataburger, and a CVS that stocked anything vacationers
might need-including flip flops, liquor, and toiletries.

What room options are available?

With a room on the twelfth floor, we had a fabulous
view and were removed from much of the noise of the city. We booked a suite
with two queens and a pullout sofa in another room so it never felt too crowded.
It was also nice to have a room to hang out in other than our bedroom. The only
complaint was that the mattresses and bed linens seemed on the older side-not
as comfortable as what we would have liked.

Are amenities included?

These were some of the best parts of the hotel! The
glass elevator was a big hit and all of us had the best time enjoying the sunshine
and night skies from the rooftop pool, as well as making new friends of all
ages in the hot tub. What a fantastic way to unwind after a busy day on our
feet! The hotel has one of the nicest fitness rooms I’ve seen in my travels,
along with an onsite spa (we didn’t use either of those but other guests did).

Breakfast was not included, but that actually ended up
working to our benefit as it got us out of the room faster in the mornings. There
is a restaurant onsite (Las Ramblas), but some of the best meals we had in San
Antonio were breakfasts eaten out on the town. More on that later!

The concierge was extremely helpful with directions,
and making reservations. Other staff were more than willing to share their
recommendations about things to do, or not do, (like the Texas-size cinnamon roll!)
Maid service was consistent and efficient.

What we all liked best about Hotel Contessa was that
it had character. The atmosphere there was vibrant, as opposed to the more
sterile, flat feeling you often get in the chains. The employees seemed to genuinely
enjoy their jobs and guests from young families to seniors to business people to
friend-groups like ours were all welcomed equally and made to feel at home.

Five stars!

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