Despite the challenges created by both the pandemic and the state’s weather and power crisis earlier this year, Texas’s hospitality scene appears to be on the rebound. Over the past year, the Lone Star State has seen a growth in luxury travel offerings, with the opening of a slew of new museums, wineries, restaurants and five-star hotels and resorts. Among the latter were such notable arrivals as Auberge’s Commodore Perry Estate urban resort in Austin and the design-forward Thompson Dallas. This month, the trend continued—and Thompson’s Texas portfolio expanded—with the opening of the Thompson San Antonio. Delayed a week because of the storms, the Arts District hotel is bringing an elevated level of hospitality to the riverside city.
“San Antonio has craved new luxury hotel products, in particular a hotel with immersive restaurant, bar and nightlife experiences,” Thompson San Antonio general manager Ted Knighton tells Robb Report. With what Knighton describes as “a cutting-edge design, locally driven experiences and dining, over-the-top suites with private terraces, and a spa with a ‘sanctuary with secrets’ concept,” the hotel is poised both to reimagine the historic city’s luxury hotel landscape and to capture its vibrant contemporary spirit.
Set on the northern banks of the famed River Walk, the newly built 20-story tower welcomes guests to a lobby constructed with natural parotta wood, black granite, brass and rusted Corten steel, and centered on a custom-designed floating staircase wrapped in handstitched leather. Among the hotel’s curated house art collection is an original Red Balloon Dog sculpture by Jeff Koons, a limited-edition piece by Lucio Carvalho, photography by Lynne Douglas and a large wall sculpture by Koray Akay made up of 6,000 individual wood pieces.
The 162 spacious guest rooms have been outfitted with bespoke furnishings, equestrian-inspired design touches, regionally sourced snacks and drinks (including Austin-crafted Saint Liberty Bertie’s Bourbon Whiskey), personal water bottles (to be refilled at hydration stations throughout the property) and floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing views from the city skyline out to Texas Hill Country. The 33 suites also have wet bars and freestanding soaking tubs, while the Penthouse Suite boasts a private terrace and pool table. Elsewhere, shared amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and an expansive Mayan cenote-inspired fourth-floor pool deck—exclusive to hotel guests and owners of 65 on-site Arts Residences condos—with a 2,000-square-foot swimming pool, lounge areas, al fresco bar, resident DJs and private cabanas with VIP service.
In addition to the pool bar and a lobby lounge, the drinking and dining options include Landrace from San Antonio’s own chef Steve McHugh, a James Beard Award finalist. Offering both indoor and riverfront terrace seating, plus a semi-open kitchen, the restaurant highlights Texas-grown and -farmed ingredients—from quail eggs and black garlic to goat meat and edible flowers—and coal- and wood-fired cooking techniques. Up on the 20th floor, the Moon’s Daughters indoor-outdoor rooftop restaurant and bar will serve a Mediterranean-influenced menu and panoramic views along with regular live music, pop-up events (such as aerial performances) and DJ sets.
As Knighton tells Robb Report, suite guests will enjoy VIP access to the Moon’s Daughters, as well as access to specially curated experiences. All hotel guests and condo residents will also be able to tap into the Thompson Tastemakers, the in-house team of local experts who come equipped with insider knowledge and in-the-know connections. Another plus: the on-site Thompson Spa, home to four treatment rooms and one couple’s suite overlooking the River Walk. In addition to an extensive menu of services that include the famous HydraFacial and Texas-inspired orange blossom-and-cedarwood mani-pedis, the spa has “secret” off-menu seasonal and custom treatments that can be enjoyed by those who know to ask. Rooms start at $349 a night, suites at $900 a night.