Take advantage of new amenities and restored accommodations at these resorts and hotels around the state. From historic buildings to newer spaces, you'll find updated menus, increased guest room inventories and more activities for your guests to enjoy.
THE ST. ANTHONY, San Antonio
The St. Anthony first opened its doors in 1909 and has been restored to its original grandeur with a recent, award-winning renovation. The St. Anthony is located in downtown San Antonio, a short walk from both the San Antonio River Walk and the Alamo.
The hotel was honored in 2015 as one of seven historic preservation projects recognized as “Preservation’s Best,” an award sponsored by Preservation Action, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust Community Investment Corporation. Renovations of the hotel began in 2013.
The St. Anthony is a National Historic Landmark and was the first hotel in the world to be fully air-conditioned.
The renovation balanced maintaining and restoring the St. Anthony’s original architecture and décor elements while ensuring contemporary comforts. The plumbing, wiring system and more were overhauled. “We tried to reuse and reinvent everything that was in the hotel,” says Clyde Johnson IV, co-owner of The St. Anthony.
The original Venetian tile floors were unearthed in the St. Anthony Club, a formerly private club that features live music and a historic bar. The hotel offers 15 meeting venues with 31,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting spaces. The renovation helped open up the floor plan to better accommodate larger groups.
“When we bought the hotel, the space didn’t flow very well,” says Johnson. “You can close off the ballrooms now and have several functions going on at once or you can have a large party with up to 1,800 people.”
The St. Anthony’s dining options include the Haunt Lounge, named playfully for San Antonio’s haunted history; The Loggia, which serves breakfast and lunch crafted by chef Mike Mata; Rebelle, a restaurant featuring European techniques with locally sourced produce and Texas-raised beef; and the Pool Bar. The rooftop bar was completely redone as well.
The revitalization of the St. Anthony has garnered a great response from the community, Johnson says. “Prior to us owning the hotel, it had gotten run down,” he says. “In the 40s through the early 80s, the hotel was revered as one of the great social places in San Antonio. When we brought it back, the response was overwhelming by the community.”
During the renovation, the previous 352 rooms were reduced to 277 to provide more space in both the bedrooms and bathrooms. The staff, some of whom have worked as the hotel for more than 20 years, provides an exceptional level of service, Johnson says. “They love the place. They go out of their way to make our guests feel welcome. They’re accommodating and uplift everyone at the hotel,” he says. “It’s a great team and a great atmosphere.”
CHOCTAW CASINO & RESORT, Durant, Oklahoma
The Choctaw Casino & Resort, located in Durant, Oklahoma, has recently completed extensive renovations, adding more rooms, a spa and an entertainment facility including a movie theater, bowling and laser tag. The resort is located about 90 miles north of Dallas.
The Choctaw Casino & Resort’s new Grand Theater is a 3,000-seat venue, allowing the resort to host big conferences or concerts. The theater is part of more than 100,000 square feet of meeting and conference space at the venue. The theater opened last year with Aerosmith as its first performance, and the casino is also hosting Lady Antebellum, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Duran Duran, Kevin Hart and Amy Schumer in 2016. The casino boasts more than 4,100 slots and table games with 70 TVs.
The Choctaw Casino & Resort’s new Spa Tower has added 286 rooms to the resort’s inventory, which now totals 786 rooms. The tower also includes a 23,000-square-foot spa, with a collection of services offered in nine treatment rooms, including two couples’ suites with a whirlpool and couple’s rain shower. Guests can also enjoy a co-ed relaxation lounge and reflection waters with a waterfall mineral bath, along with the steam room and whirlpool tub in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms. The spa opened in October 2015.
Also new to the resort is an entertainment complex, called The District, which includes a bowling alley, a two-story, 3,600-square-foot laser tag facility, 41 arcade games and a four-screen movie theater that can seat 633 people. “A company might use laser tag as a team-building event,” says James Dry, director of sales and events. “Our largest theater can be used for a general session in the morning, and the group can have access to the movie screen for PowerPoints or other presentations.”
The Oasis Pools, which includes four pools, a water slide, oasis deck with fire pits and private cabanas, were also part of the renovation. “When you step out into it, it looks like a resort that’s in Cozumel or Cancun,” Dry says.
The Choctaw Casino & Resort took over the food and beverage service from a third-party vendor last year, allowing the resort to have more control. A major initiative has been the rollout of Certified Angus Beef on property for all steaks and hamburgers, Dry says.
The renovations made to the AAA Four Diamond resort have been well-received by guests and groups, according to Dry: “We’re already booking for 2018 and 2019.”
HOUSTON AIRPORT MARRIOTT at George Bush Intercontinental
The final phase of the Houston Airport Marriott’s multimillion dollar, total hotel renovation was completed in January. The hotel connects guests to airport terminals via an underground tram and is located inside the airport grounds.
The Houston Airport Marriott’s 34 meeting rooms, 573 guest rooms and common areas were renovated with new carpet, wall coverings and new furnishings. There was also a total Internet overhaul. “Our renovation was a true transformation, including everything from lighting, sound, carpeting and curtains, and even new air-walls to ensure our guests can stay focused on their event,” says General Manager Suzy Hart.
The Houston Airport Marriott’s guest rooms now have new décor, furniture and linens. The rooms have a new tile entry way and thicker mattresses, and rooms will soon provide Internet TV so guests can access their video streaming accounts. Guest bathrooms have new plumbing fixtures, larger mirrors and enhanced lighting.
The hotel’s 30,000 square feet of flexible meeting space have new furnishings, carpet and wall coverings, as well as upgraded A/V systems, new sound systems, lighting and furniture. There’s also a new business center, new pool area decking and a new chef’s garden near the pool deck.
The airport’s front entrance and lobby have been redesigned, providing space for one-on-one or larger group meetings or socializing.
The Houston Airport Marriott previously featured a round restaurant at the top. Now a new all-day restaurant, Flight’s Lounge & Grill, is located on the lobby level.
“We have guests who have been staying at the hotel for 20-plus years, and they walk up to the front desk and ask if they’re in the right place,” Hart says. “Our hotel provides groups with an atmosphere that lends itself to work and play.”
THE ADOLPHUS, Dallas
The Adolphus, one of the oldest hotels in the country, is completing a $65 million, hotel-wide renovation. The renovation marks the most significant changes to the hotel since it opened in 1912. The Adolphus, located in Dallas’ financial district within walking distance to the Dallas Convention Center, has a storied history and has hosted several prominent figures such as Queen Elizabeth II.
“The renovation will completely redefine the experience for the guest on many levels,” says Richard Ross, director of sales and marketing. “It puts the hotel in a completely new light with a reimagined brand for the next 100 years.”
The hotel recently refurbished all 407 guest rooms and suites. All of the indoor meeting spac - es have been completely redone, with new board - room tables and banquet chairs. The business has been completely refurbished, and a renovation of the 19th-floor ballroom, a space original to the building, will increase The Adolphus’ meeting and event space to 27,000 square feet. The ball - room provides beautiful views of the city below.
The next phase of the renovation focuses on the hotel’s restaurant outlets and social lobby spaces, with an overhaul of the entire catering and event program. “We will create a more residential and intimate experience in the way we present our food and beverage offerings,” Ross says.
The hotel currently includes all-day restaurant The Rodeo Bar and Grill, which offers barbecue and Tex-Mex fare, and has reintroduced its lobby bar and afternoon Tea at The Adolphus. A new coffee shop and a Mediterranean bistro will open in 2017. The French Room, the only restaurant in Texas to maintain an AAA Five Diamond Award for 25 consecutive years, will reopen in 2017 with an updated menu and new bar and salon. The res - taurant will also feature art by Texas artists.
A rooftop pool and bar opened in June on the seventh floor, complete with cabanas and fire pit all with views of the Dallas skyline. The Adolphus’ seventh floor has also been completely reworked, adding a pool, spa and wellness center.
The Adolphus is also opening a new, 5,000-square-foot spa and salon in September via a partnership with Red Flower products. Next to the spa will be a fitness center with aerobic and strength training equipment.
HYATT REGENCY LOST PINES RESORT & SPA
Following its 10th anniversary, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa has renovated its indoor meeting spaces, including ballrooms and boardrooms. The resort offers 60,000 square of indoor meeting space and 240,000 square feet of outdoor function space.
Kim Britton, director of sales and marketing, says the hotel looks for opportunities for guests to take advantage of its 405-acre resort grounds. “The biggest piece of our meeting space is complemented by our wilderness setting,” she says. “We really work hard to bring nature to our guest experience.”
The color palette for the renovation takes its inspiration from the resort’s natural surroundings, with French linen, deep blues and rich greens. “There’s a sense of calm that it brings to you,” Britton says, “yet you look out the window and the bright green speaks for itself. It’s letting the outdoors in.”
The resort will receive new carpeting, paint, hardware, wall coverings and finishing, as well as new light fixtures in function spaces and corridors. Renovations of the indoor meeting spaces are part of a multimillion-dollar project. The Hyatt Regency’s dining spaces and menu have also received an upgrade. Other resort renovations include new pedicure stations and fresh flooring at Spa Django. The Wolfdancer Golf Club now has a bunker renovation, a new fleet of golf carts and the Harvey Penick Academy.
The resort’s kitchen renovations include more storage, which will create a 50 percent increase in cooking output and a 300 percent increase in refrigeration and storage space. The kitchen of the Firewheel Café has tripled in size. Adding an herb garden has allowed guests to interact more with the resort’s chef, who picks herbs daily as he plans the menu. “It opens up creativity and conversation, and many guests embrace that,” Britton says.
The Hyatt Regency has also added 11 new shade sails for its pool, as well as new pool furniture. Britton also recommends catching some shade under the resort’s pecan trees. Canopied under the resort’s trees are a variety of yard games.
Britton says, “This is an area that we really worked on renovating to give spectators a deck to watch the games or look out and see the Colorado River.”