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A new and improved River Walk and a revamped historic hotel return the Texas town to its former glory.
In 1909 local cattle barons opened the St. Anthony Hotel, the city’s first upscale place to stay, which became a fast favorite among the rich and famous. This fall the landmark wraps up a $40 million renovation and reopens as part of the Starwood Luxury Collection. Modernized rooms, a rooftop lounge, and a restaurant from the chefs behind Feast—a top-notch joint in the King William neighborhood—glamorize the downtown standby (thestanthonyhotel.com). Or try the quirky riverfront Hotel Havana, owned by Liz Lambert, who is behind Austin hotels San José and Saint Cecilia. At just under $700 a night, the split-level Penthouse Suite is a worthy splurge (havanasanantonio.com).
Get your red meat fix at Bohanan’s, San Antonio’s best steakhouse, before retiring to the bar for a digestif. On weekends the South Texas Jazz Quartet starts at 9:30 p.m. Along the River Walk, local favorite Biga on the Banks is beloved for its warm service and sophisticated menu, which includes grilled Texas quail and Grand Marnier soufflé. And you can’t go wrong at the restaurants that flank the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus, especially Il Sogno Osteria and Sandbar Fish House & Market, run by James Beard–nominated CIA grad Andrew Weissman.
San Antonio’s biggest attraction remains the Alamo; tour it before venturing to the Menger Hotel, where Teddy Roosevelt assembled his motley crew of Rough Riders. A replica of the House of Lords pub, the Menger Bar, which opened in 1887, is the ideal place for a Texas brew. Afterward, explore the King William Historic District. Colonized by wealthy German merchants in the late 1800s, it became Texas’s first historic residential neighborhood, ensuring the preservation of its opulent mansions. Finally, stroll or cycle along the recently extended River Walk. To the north the Pearl Brewery, near the San Antonio Museum of Art, boasts hip shops and restaurants, and to the south paved trails twist and turn, ultimately landing at centuries-old Spanish missions (thesanantonioriverwalk.com).