The Menger in San Antonio

Sunday, December 23, 2012
 Last weekend I got to check 'San Antonio in December' off my wish list.  I wrote about the full weekend yesterday-filled with Christmas decor, and the usual color that comes along with this festive city, with a side of twinkling lights and luminaries in celebration of Christmas.  I've always loved San Antonio, and I've been visiting since I was a little girl.  It's a living history lesson you 'have' to experience as a Texan-whether it's official on the birth certificate, or you've just had the good fortune of moving down/over/up to the state.  The Alamo is where a big chunk of the heart's state beats.   As a young(er) girl, my Mom took me down I-35 to visit the place her parents had taken her, and their parents before them.  When I was little, I remember staying at the Menger.  It's about as close to the Alamo as you can get without actually having to be removed from the property by security when the site closes.  The hotel has been sitting on this spot for over a hundred and fifty years and it's been the stopping spot for many US presidents.  It's history is rich, and it's walls and halls echo it's story.  It's made the list of one of historic hotels in America.  If you've known me for a nano second, you'd know this appeals to me.
 I'll stop and say I booked a room, knowing I was headed south, but then I wrote the manager and I said-I'm planning on staying at your hotel.  I'm planning on blogging about your hotel.  He wrote me back and he comped my room for doing what I was  already planning on doing,  how cool is that?   I appreciate someone who appreciates my appreciation.  Or something like that.   If you've also known me for that same nano-second, you'll know I don't do a lot of advertising, and I've yet to do any reviews-I want to be able to be real and  not obligated to say I love it unless I really love it.  I really love it.  I've shared things I've loved with no compensation.  I share it because I love it-and there are a lot of things I don't love, so when I find something worth eating/making/buying-I want others to know!   My hotel room was booked regardless, at an incredibly affordable price considering the location and the quality-it's hard to not want to stay here.  And I have before.  And I will again.   The price is right, and the location couldn't be better.  It's next to the Alamo, two blocks from the river, across the street from the wax museum.  The carriages and trolleys take off from one side of the hotel, and the River Center Mall is it's next door neighbor. 
When you aren't at one of these stops, the hotel itself is worth a look.  In fact, when I was walking around taking pictures, I wasn't the only one and I ran into a few people I chatted with about the history that were visiting the halls, sitting in the lounges, and soaking up it's history because it's a site worth visiting, though they weren't staying for the night. 
I love the lobby areas.  It's a maze of sitting areas, antique furniture...
 Large windows, old chandeliers, and wall paper that give testament to the time period in which she was born and raised.  Tables inside and out for leisure, balconies, and patios for socializing.
They have various restaurants, unusual shops from the tourist stops, to unique toy stores, an antiques store, an Alamo visitor center, a bar (not changed much from 1859, the oldest operating bar in Texas), where Roosevelt recruited his Rough Riders once upon a history book, and my personal favorite-an ice cream shop. 
The other thing I love about old hotels are the ceilings.  From the foyers to the room, they are high.  And I think....I'm glad I don't have to pay the bills, but there is something really luxorious about that extra space!  I wouldn't mind being able to house a tree this big. 
 Here is the ceiling from one of the main foyers.  Stained glass and moldings, and iron work are one of my weaknesses.  Combine all three and I need a 12 step program to leave.
 The room's ceilings are all at least 12 feet with ceiling fans, four poster beds and everything else that says-I'm old and an authentic beauty.
They also have quite a few places to hang out outside the hotel in courtyard gardens overlooking historic spots, like this chisolm trail marker. 

 Lots of seating...
 And a large pool area many of the iron clad balconies overlook.  They have a spa, and workout room, it was too cold for the pool, and I was too lazyfor the workout room....maybe next time!
 You can grab a carriage right outside the hotel. 
 Or sit and eat Hagan Daaz for dinner and just appreciate the other people appreciating the carriage and trolleys while you get in your fill of dairy for the day. 
OK, one other side note I'm going to mention just because it seemed to be a big deal with all the people hanging out in the halls, and on most of the sites I happened across when booking my stay-there are a lot of ghost stories attached to the hotels.  It's apparently 'the most' haunted hotel in Texas.  I'll take their word for it, and if you'd like to meet a ghost, there are groups offering that service as well, or save yourself the group fee, and stay in a room and go on your own hunt.   I'm not into ghost stories, but I'm into old hotels.  I just found a great room, and a great weekend. 
I'm a fan.  I'll be back. 

1 comment

Giggles said...

My husband has a conference in San Antonio in February and The Menger is where we will be staying. I can't wait