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Texas' Hill Country is marked by quiet pockets of natural beauty and charm that have drawn the region comparisons to both Napa and Provence: think cypress-lined creeks, spring-fed rivers, golden-hued hills, and fields of bluebonnets, lavender, and neon-colored wildflowers as far as the eye can see. Whether you’re looking to explore the region’s many wineries, stroll around charming small Texan towns, or simply eat as much tasty BBQ as your stomach can handle, you’ll need a fabulous place to lay your head during your travels. These are, without a doubt, the best hotels to stay at in Hill Country.
Best Overall: Sage Hill Inn & Spa
Nestled on nearly 90 acres of rolling hills, shimmering lakes, and swaths of candy-colored flowers, the Sage Hill Inn & Spa is beloved among locals and out-of-towners alike for its picturesque beauty and lovely accommodations. Though this boutique bed-and-breakfast is just a 20-minute drive from the bustling outskirts of Austin, near the adorable town of Wimberley, it feels like a serene, private oasis that’s about as far away from the city as the moon.
The Sage Hill Inn has 16 individually decorated rooms, including several luxury suites and a smattering of private cottages for those who need the extra space. At the main house, guests can chow down on a decadent, three-course meal (both breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate), indulge in a treatment at the revamped Garden Spa facility, or take a relaxing soak in the new 14-person hot tub on the pool deck (talk about the perfect post-Hill Country hike activity!) The sunsets here are particularly breathtaking—evenings are best spent with a glass of local wine in hand, while you and your loved ones enjoy the peaceful views.
Best Budget: Firehouse Hostel
Budget-conscious travelers should opt to stay at the Firehouse Hostel in downtown Austin, for easy access to the Hill Country’s many delights. This international hostel-meets-craft cocktail bar offers a cool, unique ambiance and plenty of fun amenities — all at half the price of most other lodgings in town. Firehouse is located inside of Austin’s oldest fire station, right across from the historic Driskill Hotel—it’s within walking distance of the Capitol, the bars on Sixth Street, and several great eateries and shops.
Accommodations here are simple yet sparkling clean: Take your pick of several dorm and suite options, all of which are outfitted with air conditioning, fresh towels, in-room lockers, and comfy bedding. There’s a complimentary breakfast served every morning, as well as a fully-equipped kitchen. In hip Austin fashion, the hostel itself is accessed through a hidden bookshelf in the lobby of the Firehouse Lounge, where guests can also gather for handcrafted cocktails and live music in the evenings. Reception is open 24 hours, and popular attractions like Jester King Brewery and Pedernales Falls State Park are just an hour’s drive away.
Best Boutique: Fredericksburg Herb Farm
Enjoy the most tranquil atmosphere imaginable at Fredericksburg Herb Farm, where the fragrances of the Hill Country (wildflowers, herbs, fresh produce) commingle with the breeze, amidst a backdrop of lush gardens, flowing creeks, and rustic limestone buildings. Guests get to stay in “Sunday Haus” cottages—truly unique homes modeled after the ones German settlers used to build in the area. Each cottage bears its own name and color scheme, though all of them include a luxe king bed, granite vanity, flat-screen HDTV, rockers, plenty of comfy seating and other basic essentials.
One of the biggest draws of the Herb Farm is the on-site, luxury Nature’s Spa, where guests can choose from a huge offering of massages, facials, waxing services, and other body treatments that use the finest essential oils and farm-fresh ingredients. Plus, the hotel’s restaurant, Farm Haus Bistro, offers truly delicious (and straight-from-the-garden) fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to a stellar wine selection. As far as boutique lodging in the Hill Country goes, it doesn’t get much more cozy or scenic than Fredericksburg Herb Farm.
Best for Families: Horseshoe Bay Resort
Easily one of the most beloved resorts in Central Texas, Horseshoe Bay Resort is the ideal place to spend a weekend with your family in tow. Boasting stunning views of Lake LBJ and the bright green hills of the region, Horseshoe Bay is replete with kid-friendly activities and amenities that the whole family is bound to love. To start, there’s plenty of programming, such as a kid’s club (for ages four to 12) that features a rock climbing wall, arts and crafts, and a tunnel slide. The resort itself is home to three championship golf courses, heated outdoor pools, clay tennis courts, a state-of-the-art spa, a huge hot tub big enough to fit 27 people, and, of course, proximity to a nearby beach area (that includes a wading area for kids).
In terms of accommodations, guests can stay at The Marriott (which has 385 rooms and suites), The Waters at Horseshoe Bay (luxury condos), or the Paseo Vacation Apartments. Families should also check out the Family Fun Package, which comes with special activities, a $50 resort credit, daily breakfast, and accommodation upgrades.
Best for Romance: The Vineyard at Florence
It’s not a trip to Hill Country without sampling some delicious local wines and touring the region’s many vineyards. For the perfect romantic getaway, book a stay at The Vineyard at Florence, where you and your beloved will be able to taste the finest Texas wines in the lap of Tuscan luxury. Directly inspired by Old World Italian architecture, the property is home to 32 acres of vines, plus two private homes available for rent and other guest accommodations. In addition, the Vineyard at Florence boasts a saltwater pool, fitness center, and an on-site cafe, where guests can enjoy a European-style brunch buffet (homemade pastries, quiche, soft scrambled eggs, rosemary-roasted potatoes, and other yummy dishes) and, in the evenings, select one of two wine flights to try. Suites are Tuscan-styled, with gleaming wood accents, antique furniture, and luxury amenities, in addition to floor-to-ceiling windows that afford panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. For a real treat, couples should book a side-by-side massage or personalized facial treatment at the day spa.
Best for Luxury: Lake Austin Spa Resort
If it’s utter luxury and upscale relaxation you’re after, look no further than Lake Austin Spa Resort, a sprawling, woodsy resort and spa on a gorgeous strip of Lake Austin shoreline, spread across 19 lush acres. This four-star, French country-style property offers a plethora of posh amenities and classy touches—guests have access to a wide range of daily fitness classes and wellness programs; the activities schedule is always jam-packed with offerings like yoga, Pilates, Aqua Core, nature hikes, and meditation and mindfulness seminars, in addition to non-wellness activities like sunset wine tastings, cooking classes, and more. The cuisine is excellent (and nutritious), as you might imagine: A recent sample menu for dinner included blackened local redfish, pan-seared striped bass, black pepper homemade spaghetti, and an heirloom tomato and cucumber salad.
Rooms at the Lake Austin Spa Resort are decked out with plush fabrics, original artwork, deep soaking tubs, and signature Lavender Fields amenities, in addition to a Keurig coffee maker, DVD and cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, and more; most rooms have incredible lake views. A stay at this resort is a total splurge, but it’s well worth it.
Best for Nightlife: Hotel Contessa
Nestled right on the banks of the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Hotel Contessa provides a great home base for those who want to experience a slice of Hill Country nightlife. When you stay at the Contessa, you’ll be just a short walk away from all the exciting shops, museums, bars, and restaurants that the Riverwalk has to offer, including the Alamo, Esquire Tavern (one of the oldest watering holes in the city), and dozens of other attractions. In addition to being conveniently located, Hotel Contessa is a lovely place to stay—guest suites are decorated in an attractive urban style, with vibrant splashes of color and chic brickwork, and plenty of thoughtful amenities that include a fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking downtown, two LCD HD-TVs with in-room movies, a granite-top desk, living room area, coffee maker, fridge, and more. Amenities on the premises include a first-rate day spa, heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and a popular on-site restaurant, Las Ramblas, that serves a tasty breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Best for Business: Hyatt Regency San Antonio
Featuring an array of top-notch business-centric amenities and services, the Hyatt Regency San Antonio is the place to be if you need to get work done during your Hill Country stay. There’s a sizeable business center here, and staff is happy to offer their help and personalized accommodations for meetings and corporate retreats. Rooms feature plenty of amenities geared towards the business traveler, such as an oversized work desk, data ports, and Wi-Fi access, in addition to a supremely comfy bed.
Apart from being the best business hotel in the area, the Hyatt Regency also offers killer views of the Alamo and the Riverwalk and four-diamond amenities, like a rooftop pool, a massive day spa with countless offerings, a 16-story atrium lobby (with a water feature that takes you directly from the Alamo in front to the Riverwalk in back), and on-site entertainment and dining. Plus, the hotel is within walking distance of the San Antonio Convention Center and a bevy of restaurants and nightlife hotspots.
Best B&B: Meyer Bed and Breakfast on Cypress Creek
Tucked away on peaceful Cypress Creek, on the edge of the historic district of Comfort, Texas, Meyer Bed and Breakfast is quaint, unassuming, and altogether charming. The property is beautiful: Scattered around the forested grounds, you’ll find scenic shaded spots under flower-covered arbors, picnic tables, a fishing pond, an outdoor pool, and clusters of pecan orchards. Guests can choose from a variety of lodging options, from cozy suites to Hill Country German homesteads; all have been updated in the finest traditional Texas style and come equipped with basic amenities, as well as unique additions that evoke a simpler era, like freestanding gas fireplaces and tin sinks with an antique-style pump faucet.
For those who want to explore the breadth of Hill Country, Meyer Bed and Breakfast is the perfect place to stay, since it’s centrally located between New Braunfels, San Antonio, and Fredericksburg—guests can wake up and eat a hearty breakfast every morning before heading out to explore for the day.