There are many reasons to visit Texas – history, nature, adventure, and glamour – and this certainly is reflected in the variety of hotels available for the picking. The Lone Star state is filled with not only luxurious but unique stays. Most domestic visitors already have their favorites in the major cities such as Dallas, Austin, and Houston, but what about the rest? We uncover five under-the-radar spots that are garnering popularity and in addition, recommend the best overnight experiences within them.
Fort Worth – The Harper
Fort Worth is the best place to go to experience the Texas you see in the movies. The destination is a charming little step back in time, despite being the 12th largest city in America. Visitors absolutely can’t miss the cattle drive in the Stockyards National Historic District, which happens twice daily. Then there’s the world’s largest honky-tonk, Billy Bob’s Texas, and the famous 1908 Cowtown Coliseum where you can get tickets to witness weekly rodeos. In terms of where to stay, downtown’s The Harper by Kimpton is the hotel of the moment and the most exciting hangout in the area. Summer 2021 saw its opening within a stunning 1921 landmark building near Sundance Square. Check-in on the top floor lobby and you’ll immediately notice the chic social spaces such as the sweeping bar Refinery 714 and Italian restaurant il Modo. Rooms are modern with a rustic feel, adorned with local art and handcrafted furniture, and suites feature a deep soaking bathtub with Atelier Bloem amenities that are incredibly soothing after a day of exploring in boots and a Seager cowboy hat. Tips: join other hotel guests at the lobby bar for complimentary ‘social hour’ every day if you want to add to your Fort Worth party, and if you’re venturing to nearby Dallas (35-minutes drive away), then check out sister property The Pittman.
Fredericksburg – The Trueheart Hotel
This adorable town with German roots is celebrating its 175th birthday; so expect a wave of festivities with Oktoberfest and Christmas wrapping. Fredericksburg is most famous for wine and days of grape-filled exploration are inevitable. Don’t miss Southhold Farm and Cellar – a beautiful vineyard and farm perched up a hill which you’ll need a reservation for. Wine aside, we suggest cycling Gillespie County via Ranch Road 1. LBJ’s Ranch Loop is a good route to take if you love wildlife and wish to discover our 36th President and his “Texas White House”. In terms of where to stay, accommodations such as In Town Villas make for perfect vintage local-feel stays, complete with a kitchenette. Otherwise, delicious hotel perks can be found at The Trueheart Hotel. Both are within walking distance to the heart of Fredericksburg, Main Street, where 150 shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants await. These stores aren’t your typical American high street finds, but rather artisan cuties carrying gifts and fashion that’s unique and characteristic to the region. When you’re shopped out, refuel at the current dining sensation, Hill & Vine.
San Antonio – Canopy by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk
San Antonio is the city to visit if you like a splash of Texan glamor, and for that, you’ll need sparkling new. The Canopy by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk opened this year on the iconic riverwalk to rave reviews. Here you’ll discover 195 boutique rooms with colorful local art, sauna-style black and white tiled showers, and many have towering balconies overlooking the core of the action. Supreme stay aside, this is also best for social activity – there are two mega-hit hangouts in their own right. There’s Domingo under the lobby, along the water; a lively restaurant any day of the week serving the finest flavors of south Texas, and upstairs there’s the Otro Bar, with an agave-forward beverage program and breezy terrace that shimmers with San An’s in-the-know crowd. Off-site, be sure to borrow a complimentary Canopy Bike and ride up to the Pearl District, where you must visit Best Quality Daughter for the number one Char Siu in Texas. Chef extraordinaire’s, Jennifer Dobbertin, and Quealy Watson have built a state-wide following for their generously portioned Asian-American cuisine within this pretty pink Maison. For casual fare, stroll to Pearl’s food hall for Mi Roti and tuck into Caribbean street delights like butter chicken roti and masala fries. As for the finish, how about a mini workout? Hopscotch is the immersive art experience that’ll have you dancing, jumping, running, and more (you’ll see), margarita in hand.
Cat Spring – BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch
Instead of Houston, get some R&R in Cat Spring, one hour west. The small town is home to some of the most friendly, forward-thinking folks in the state, especially at the BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch. You can rent one of 14 cabins and cottages, and experience peaceful life on a stunning 350-acre working ranch. This is a B&B experience elevated – each accommodation option is unique in size and shape, antique furniture, decor, fireplaces, and bathtub or hot tub. The Grand Safari Tent, for example, transports guests to a Texan-Africa with striking animal print touches and artwork, plus you have the bonus of (safely) hearing wildlife trotting by at night, which is fun. In the morning, opt-in for a private exotic safari with the resident expert guide, who will navigate you on UTV through a forest of bison, deer, emu, and more, or select from alternative activities like hiking, fishing, or horseback riding. If you’ve ever dreamed of living on a Texan ranch, with all the perks, this is it.
Barton Creek – Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa
Though technically in Austin, we’ve rounded off with Barton Creek. This suburb is an easy 20-minute escape but feels somewhat like a trip to The Hamptons, full of prized real estate, pristine lawns, and serene views over the Texas Hill Country. When in Barton Creek there’s only one place to stay, the Omni. You have here 4,000 acres of vacation playground, including 493 freshly renovated guestrooms, a variety of resort pools ranging from family-friendly to adults-only, a Mokara full-service spa, and four championship golf courses. It’s a retreat, it’s luxe, it’s wedding heaven, and it’s Austin charm without downtown noise. Guests will wander manicured greenery and firepits, and enjoy views from some of the fabulous on-site dining options such as Texas Spice at breakfast to cocktails at Crenshaw’s at sunset. Couples may want to retreat to their suite for the ultimate in romance and privacy, for a large dining table and premium views overlooking the rolling hills await (along with fireworks display if you’re lucky). Even couples with kids can let the little ones loose downstairs at the s’more station, to enjoy quiet time. Omni Barton Creek is a beautiful way to top off any Texan road trip, and we highly recommend it as an overnight before heading to Austin Bergstrom International.
Pro-Packing Tip: The Texan Essentials
It gets VERY hot down south, with temperatures hovering at 100 degrees in July and August. Austin’s YETI has the game-changer of all coolers; the sleek, V Series Stainless Steel Cooler. It, no lie, keeps everything you need to be chilled for weeks (exact duration may vary depending on a number of variables). By contrast, in the winter or nasty shocks of February, it’ll keep items hot too. Storage space is huge inside thanks to thinner vacuum-insulated walls, so go nuts with bottles of Texas Hill Country Wine (get them from Fredericksburg), Talia di Naoli frozen pizza (Texan getaways ALWAYS require Neapolitan pizza), or Barkin’ Creek pooch treats (for those traveling with their four-legged friends).