• Book Smart at Valencia Group Hotels This Summer

    POSTED July 10, 2015

Reading has long been one of my favorite ways to pass the time on a rare summer day with no obligations. Whether or not you share my enthusiasm for reading, by donating a new book—print or audio—to the Book Smart program at Valencia Group properties, you can reap the rewards.

Houston-based Valencia Group has kicked off their eighth summer of the Book Smart promotion. Hospitals, libraries and non-profit groups in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, as well as Kansas City, Missouri and San Jose, California—communities served by Valencia Group properties—have received hundreds of print and audio books for children.

The program rewards participating guests with a complimentary adult beverage including beer, wine or a cocktail. Book Smart kicked off on June 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2015. Books can be either print or audio, must be new and appropriate for kids up to middle school age. New for 2015, visitors can leave a monetary donation and hotels will purchase the book on the guests' behalf. The voucher or credit is limited to one per visit and can be redeemed at Monnalisa and Bistro Bar at Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE in Houston, Bar Rosso at Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO, the Vbar at either Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio or Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, CA and finally at the Water Trough at Lone Star Court in Austin.

"It's been exciting to see Book Smart grow each year," says Roy Kretschmer, executive vice-president of operations for the Valencia Group. "We feel this is a fun and easy way to involve guests, thank our frequent visitors and promote literacy while supporting key community organizations."

The three Texas organizations receiving books are the San Antonio Public Library, Recycled Reads—a mainly volunteer organization benefitting the Austin Public Library, and the Pi Beta Phi Patient Family Library at Texas Children's Hospital West Campus in Houston. Other recipients of books are the San Jose Public Library and Hands to Hearts of Kansas City, a non-profit that operates a bookmobile for at-risk children of the Kansas City metropolitan area. 

When you want to escape the lingering Texas heat for a few days in the fall, but you don’t really want to head north to more blustery conditions, Sonoma or Monterey, located northeast and south of San Francisco respectively, are fabulous options for short retreats or group getaways. And, lucky for you, if you live in or near Dallas, both destinations have direct flights from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, making your trip stress-free.

Wine Country: Three Days in Sonoma County


Airport-friendly hotels’ proximity and amenities add up for extra convenience for planners.


Born and raised in Bryan, about 90 miles east of Village of Salado, Chadley Hollas, Village of Salado’s director of tourism, says he came to the town with one goal: to help Salado become Texas’ best small destination. His favorite thing about his adopted hometown is the people. “They are quirky, creative and hospitable—a neat combination that makes for many good conversations,” says Hollas.