Now is the time of year when a lot of families want to get away for a long weekend, or even an entire week. The Texas Hill Country is the destination for millions of visitors each year, and it hosts the country’s second most popular wine trail after Napa’s Highway 29. But where to stay? Consider Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort at the southern end of the Hill Country, just north of San Antonio in the hills above Boerne.
Tapatio Springs boasts great views of the craggy Hill Country landscape, which is perhaps most dramatic here at its southern end. The resort also offers a great location for trips into San Antonio (about 30 minutes away), wineries (25 minutes to Bending Branch Winery and Newsom Vineyards tasting rooms in Comfort, under an hour to Fredericksburg), hunting in numerous spots, taking in a round of golf on the resort’s spectacular course, or just hanging around the pool.
Visible from your breakfast window in La Cascada restaurant, the course practically screams to be played — and that is what a lot of guests choose to do. The Tripp Davis-designed course was restored in 2015 and received an award for “Most Improved” from Golf Inc. magazine in 2016.
Our room was of a size that would put even Las Vegas to shame. I am told it was 800 square feet. It incorporated separate his and hers washing vanities, a combined shower/bath, a bar equipped with a Keurig machine with complimentary K-Cup coffee, and a refrigerator large enough to store several wine bottles and soda cans.
There are two pools — one for families where kids can splash and swim, the other for adults only. The contrast could not be greater. I always had the adult pool to myself, although sunbathers lounged around the perimeter. The family pool was always packed and the source of riotous cries and shrieks from excited children.
We started each day with breakfast at Cascada, the resort’s main restaurant. Midweek, there is a substantial buffet and à la carte choices. Weekends feature the à la carte menu only, and I developed a soft spot for the huevos rancheros — ground beef and black beans topped with sunny side up eggs and served with salsa.
We found ourselves at Cascada for dinner on Saturday night. Gone was the breakfast buffet, replaced by more elaborate Hill Country cooking. A starter of ahi tuna ceviche was just the right light beginning that I was looking for.
Tequila-soaked jumbo shrimp and Hill Country grits may sound unusual, but consider that grits are just polenta — the Italians call this dish something like “gamberi con polenta.” Sound like the dish you had on the patio overlooking the bay at Capri last year?
Our mains of honey mustard-roasted salmon, griddled redfish, and Texas blue crab were expertly prepared. One nice touch: The salmon was served with pearl couscous. The summer pea shoots with the Texas blue crab was tasty as well.
One luxury you have to have at Tapatio is a spa session at the Puresol Spa. Mine was in the salt cave, a type of spa that is becoming increasingly popular to relax in right now.
The amenities at Tapatio Springs are so extensive that there were many we did not have time to enjoy. For example, guests will find a fully equipped gym, a horseshoe park, and walking trails all over the 200 acres of the property. We loved picturesque Boerne and could see why so many people retire there. This is not even to mention the amazing opportunities a short drive away: San Antonio is the most underrated dining destination in Texas, and the wine route from nearby Fredericksburg to Johnson City, which had 15 wineries in 2014, now has over 25.
That is the beauty of Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort: it may be your best place to stay in the Hill Country, or it may be your best base to get out and see the area.
Texas has even more to offer than just its Hill Country. Click here for 10 food and drink items you likely didn’t realize hail from the Lone Star State.