San Antonio, Texas
Cassandra and I went to San Antonio, Texas to take in another NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. The Alamodome hosted this year’s Midwest Regionals featuring,
Kansa, Richmond, Florida State and Virginia Commonwealth. After a three hour flight from Atlanta, we arrived at the majestic Mansion Del Rio Hotel <http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/SanAntonioLaMansionDelRio.aspx> nestled in the heart of San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk. Travel guide “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” proclaimed the Mansion the “Crown Jewel of the Riverwalk” and raved about its Las Canarias <http://www.omnihotels.com/findahotel/sanantoniolamansiondelrio/dining.aspx> restaurant. This colonial style hotel is an amazing property. And our room was perched over top of the river.
After an exploratory stroll, we had lunch at the Rainforest Café before walking to the Alamodome to catch the action. We caught the second half of Kansas’s annihilation of Richmond. The second game was extremely exciting; #11 VCU staved off Florida State in overtime. The VCU student section brought a lot of energy. We quickly became fans and bought VCU shirts after the game.
On Saturday we took a riverboat cruise of the city. We stopped at Casa Rio <http://www.casa-rio.com/> for lunch. In 1946 Casa Rio was the first business to open its doors to the Riverwalk and is a popular tourist destination. Mariachis will romantically serenade you tableside for $20 per song. Casa Rio is a short walk from the Alamo <http://www.thealamo.org/> . The Alamo was a missionary until it was pressed into military service in 1836. That year General Santa Anna led a large Mexican Army into San Antonio. A small band of less than 200 Texans including Jim Bowie and David Crockett fortified the Alamo for an inevitable siege that would buy time for the U.S. army to regroup and counter attack. The brave Texans held Santa Anna at bay for two weeks before their eventual demise on March 6th. Though they lost the battle, their inspirational sacrifice was a catalyst for winning the war and immortalized the phrase “Remember the Alamo!”
San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S. and as such is home to some truly 5-star restaurants and entertainment. Saturday night we savored Las Canarias. Las Canarias is the place to be seen on the Riverwalk and is famous for its elegant hand-crafted Margaritas and tableside Guacamole that compliment its impeccable cuisine. It’s great to people watch from the balcony and watch the boats glide lazily along the river. The VCU & Kansas bands and cheerleaders rented barges and sailed right past our table as they rallied the fans. That evening we stopped at Coyote Ugly. <http://www.coyoteuglysaloon.com/sanantonio/> They made a movie about this place featuring Piper Perabo and this legendary cantina did not disappoint.
After brunch we went back to the Dome for the Midwest regional championship game. VCU pulled off the spectacular upset over #1 seed Kansas. We watched courtside as point guard Joey Rodriguez and coach Shaka Smart cut down the nets on their road to the Final Four.
Before we flew out on Monday, we had to try the Mokkara Spa <http://www.mokaraspas.com/sanantonio/index.html> – directly across the bridge from our balcony. This Spa was named top 10 in the world by Conde Nast in 2009 and is 17,000 square feet with 18 private treatment rooms, separate men’s and ladies’ private relaxation lounges, whirlpools, steam rooms and saunas, plus an outdoor poolside café with rooftop views of the city. Their signature treatment is a Summer Rain Massage. The Summer Rain is a full body pampering under the sparkling waters of a Vichy shower. This was the best spa service we have ever experienced – by a Texas mile.
San Antonio is a flourishing and vibrant city that did not seem to be affected by the recession. The weather is great (sunny and 80 while we were there), it’s safe and clean, has a major airport, the cost of living is relatively low and tourism is booming. They attract thousands of conventions each year at their facilities. The natural beauty of the trees, gardens and wildlife along the Riverwalk is an ideal city center. We are so glad we made this trip and recommend beautiful San Antonio to everyone! – The Rox