Lost in San Antonio: The Best Little Spa Treatment in Texas

Featured, Featured Getaway, Spa & Beauty, Texas — By on May 6, 2010 at 6:00 am

By Amanda Pressner
LG Executive Editor

There are plenty of times in life—and in San Antonio specifically!—that a Lost Girl really can have too much of a good thing. Despite the locals’ protests to the contrary, it actually is possible to overdo it the city’s world famous tacos, to stuff oneself to oblivion on crispy-sweet sopapillas and nut pralines, and to get completely sauced on margaritas so generously poured, so over the top, the glasses they’re served in should probably double as bird baths.

But while Jen, Meg, Courtney and I could certainly reach our limit (and go well beyond!) on the city’s incredible food and drink, there were three aspects of our San Antonio adventure that we simply couldn’t get enough of: Downtime, pampering and relaxation.

Since we’d be on the move for most of our five days in Texas, the four of us decided that we’d slow things down for an afternoon by booking treatments at The Watermark Spa, a 17,000 square foot oasis that’s one of the few of its kind in Texas to earn a four-star rating by Forbes Travel Guide in 2010.  Besides offering a broad range of treatments for men and women in their 20 room facility, the spa also offers guests access to its rooftop pool and cafe (where you can get light snacks and refreshments) and complimentary Kundalini yoga classes on weekends.

Our commute to the spa was easy—just a five flight elevator ride down from our rooms in the Watermark Hotel.

The four of us assumed that we’d been very cleverly sneaking into the spa’s large whirlpool and steam room area every day around 4pm, but upon officially checking in, we learned that these amenities are actually open to any guest staying at hotel. Rather than hitting our favorite watering hole yet again (that would be the oversized hot tub, not the bar!), we decided to chill out in the cozy, oval-shaped The Sanctuary Lounge until our names were called. In just a few minutes, we’d be taking advantage of what the spa is best known for: The incredible skill of its therapists, several of whom are so highly requested, they’ve developed their own cult following among locals.

While the Watermark’s full-service spa offers a broad range of treatments, including their award-winning Texas Tingle Body Wrap, Purple Sage Salt Glow and the Ultimate Hydration Facial, the LGs and I opted for their signature massages. Since I love both Swedish and Shiatsu techniques (I crave the mellow relaxation of the first but still need the second to work out those kinks!) I was psyched when my therapist Paul offered to do a combination of the two during my 50 minutes on the table.

I’ll admit: It often takes me at least 20 minutes to stop thinking of my to-do lists during any kind of treatment, but the second the massage began, all rational thoughts fled the room and perhaps the city altogether. For once, even my overactive brain accepted that the best possible use of my time would be to stop and enjoy what can only be described as freestyle massage choreography in the hands of one very skilled, very in-tune therapist. I do not toss out the following statement frivolously: This was one of the very best massages I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a few over the years. My only frustration: The rubdown didn’t last nearly long enough, and that I try as I might to soak up the moment, it ended long before I was ready. Yes, Paul was just that good.

I was therefore dumbstruck to realize, a half-hour later, after my friends and I had reconvened in the hot tub yet again, that Meg had actually been assigned the spa’s #1 most-requested massage guru. How could that be? How much better could her treatment possibly have been??

Briefly, I considered racing her back to the reception area to duke it out for the next available appointment time, but I never got the opportunity. Just as we changed back into our bathrobes, we had the good fortune to meet another spa guest—Shelley Miles, host of San Antonio Living on NBC—who invited us to talk about our soon-to-be launched book on her morning talk show. Hmmm…promotional opportunity vs. serious hedonistic pleasure at one of the best spas in Texas? It was a tough, tough call.

In the end, we opted to do the television spot (there are just certain offers that you can’t pass up–even for a killer rubdown!) but we vowed to make a beeline for the spa (or one of the two below) the moment we returned to the Lone Star State.


While the Watermark may be the best place to get pampered along the San Antonio Riverwalk, there are two other fantastic spas worth visiting during your trip to the Mission City. Check out:

Windflower Spa

Windflower-The Hill Country Spa, which is beautifully located among 300 acres of wildflowers and green meadows, was designed to pay homage to nature’s four seasons and its ever-changing cycles. When you spend afternoon here, you’ll be immersed in the holistic healing powers of the earth (something that’s nearly impossible for city girls like us to do on a regular basis!). It’s suggested that you arrive at least a full hour ahead of your scheduled treatment time in order to take advantage of the facilities. While you can opt for 60 minute facials, massages and wraps, the signature “rituals” last anywhere from 2 1/2 to 7 hours–they practically guarantee that you’ll leave Hill Country feeling like a brand new woman.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country

This brand new resort had JUST opened to the public during our trip in April, and try as we might, we couldn’t book an appointment at its spa–rumored to be one of the largest in the country. The property is located 20 minutes from downtown S.A. and is situated among crystal clear streams and towering oak and cedar trees in Cibolo Canyons.



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