River Oaks Courts


An illustration of a steaming mug of coffee and a pastry

This historic 1930s landmark motor court, composed of 11 cottages, was painstakingly restored to its full midcentury glory in 2022. The property is surrounded by native gardens and has a social club and restaurant as well as an art house and café that serves locally roasted coffees and baked goods. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $179.
14349 SH 16, Medina.
830-246-2222; medinariveroaks.com

illustration By Lauren Tamaki

Lake Austin Spa Resort


An illustration of two people in a blue kayak with red paddles

Guests can indulge in water and wellness activities at this all-inclusive adults-only resort on Lake Austin. Sip vino at sunset on a wine cruise or try wakesurfing or paddleboard yoga. Daily hikes and group fitness classes pair perfectly with a spa treatment or a guided floating meditation. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $550 (meals included).
1705 S. Quinlan Park Road, Austin.
512-372-7300; lakeaustin.com

illustration By Lauren Tamaki

San Antonio
and Austin

A large stone building illuminated at night with lettering reading "Hotel Emma"
Hotel Emma Photo by Michael Amador
Large industrial fixtures and brick walls inside of a hotel lobby
Inside the Hotel Emma Photo by MIchael Amador

Hotel Emma

San Antonio

An illustration of a glass of wine on top of a stack of books

Located at the site of the old Pearl Brewery, this hotel was named for the brewery’s matriarch. It oozes with historic charm and was a key part of the reimagination of the Pearl District. Enjoy a complimentary welcome cocktail in the hotel’s library and imagine what Emma might have thought of her impressive legacy. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $575.
136 E. Grayson St., San Antonio.
210-448-8300; thehotelemma.com

illustration By Lauren Tamaki

Hotel Valencia

San Antonio

An illustration of a group of people on a riverboat tour

While many hotels in San Antonio embrace Spanish design, Hotel Valencia is perhaps the most charming option on the River Walk. Wrought-iron detailing, rich wood paneling, and a weekday paella station at the hotel’s restaurant Dorrego’s are among its draws. Some rooms feature balconies perched over the River Walk. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $174.
150 E. Houston St., San Antonio.
855-596-3387; hotelvalencia-riverwalk.com

illustration By Lauren Tamaki

The Kendall


As host to cattle drovers and notable personalities including Robert E. Lee and Dwight D. Eisenhower, The Kendall has figured prominently in our state’s history since 1859. Designated a Texas Historic Landmark in 1976, the hotel was updated five years ago and features 34 charming rooms and a Southern-inspired restaurant, Peggy’s on the Green. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $175.
128 W. Blanco Road, Boerne.
830-249-2138; thekendalltx.com

Austin Motel


South Congress Avenue has undergone quite the transformation in recent years, but this motel, boasting one of the street’s most iconic signs, maintains its connection to yesteryear with vintage furnishings, bold artwork, and funky wallpaper. Pay a visit to the gift shop to take some kitsch home with you. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $160.
1220 S. Congress Ave., Austin.
512-441-1157; bunkhousehotels.com/austin-motel

La Cantera Resort & Spa

San Antonio

In between appointments for a gemstone facial or a detox mud wrap at La Cantera’s Loma de Vida Spa, cozy up in your spa robe and slippers while rocking in a chair overlooking the rolling hills surrounding the resort. Try a wellness class or experience a transcendental sound bowl meditation—followed by an equally mind-blowing dinner at Signature Restaurant. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $249.
16641 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio.
210-558-6500; lacanteraresort.com

Magnolia Hotel Bed & Breakfast


An 1840 building that once served as a stagecoach stop and saloon is now a popular ghost-hunting site. Guests who dare to stay the night have full access to the historic inn’s five rooms—and there’s no extra charge for otherworldly company. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $199.
203 S. Crockett St., Seguin.
512-571-2706; hauntedmagnoliahotel.com

Rich wood trim and flooring is accented by a red painted wall and a large portrait painting of a woman in a black dress
Ornate details at The Driskill Photo by J. Griffis Smith

The Driskill


Built in 1886, Austin’s oldest hotel was a favorite of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had his first date with Lady Bird there. One of a few hotels on Sixth Street, the Driskill is home to grand dining rooms, a lobby with a stained-glass dome, and marble pillars. It’s still a favorite haunt of movers and shakers. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $183.
604 Brazos St., Austin.
512-439-1234; driskillhotel.com

The St. Anthony

San Antonio

An illustration of a ghost holding a martini

Many San Antonio hotels are alleged to be haunted, but the St. Anthony’s elegant, historic environs are a fitting setting for scaring up a good time. The bar, Haunt, serves cocktails named for the hotel’s resident ghosts, the Jilted Bride and the Lavender Lady. Bartenders are also happy to spook you with sordid ghost stories. —Cynthia J. Drake

Rooms start at $199.
300 E. Travis St., San Antonio.
210-227-4392; marriott.com

illustration By Lauren Tamaki

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