Swimming, splendid sunsets and a spectacular spa.
These are just a few of my favorite things that encapsulate our recent stay at La Cantera Resort and Spa. As soon as school ended in early June, we officially kicked off our summer break at this destination resort and spa just an hour and a half from Austin, spending several sunny and schedule-free days lounging at the palatial pools (there are five), indulging in delicious cuisine (without the cleanup), getting pampered at the spa (it’s incredible) and soaking in some of the most magnificent sunsets we’ve ever laid eyes on.
If you’re searching for a family-friendly staycation that’s not too much of a trek but just far enough away to feel like a true getaway, this luxury-meets-wellness resort is your answer. Perched high on a hilltop — the highest elevation point in San Antonio — above rolling Hill Country views, this upscale San Antonio staycation seems made for relaxing and enjoying. Below are five things we loved about La Cantera Resort and Spa.
The palatial pools
Every parent knows the secret to staving off summer boredom: swimming. Luckily, La Cantera is equipped with five pools, including a kids’ pool, featuring gentle water slides and shallow water perfect for little ones. Pro-tip: consider reserving one of the private shaded cabanas, each equipped with flat-screen TVs, refrigerators stocked with complimentary drinks and fruit, a bottle of champagne that justifies the rental, and a personal server at the ready to replenish beverages and take poolside orders for everything from salads and burgers to drinks and Dippin’ Dots.
If Mom and Dad are craving a more relaxing pool experience, check out Topaz, the glittering adults-only infinity edge pool perfect for sunbathing and sipping a cocktail in silence (there’s a Kid’s Club for children ages 4-12).
The heavenly spa
After more than a year without a massage (not to discount the lovely lotion-blended backrubs my children have given me during these long and trying pandemic months), La Cantera’s spa provides a worthy reentry to rejuvenation. In fact, I received best massage of my life (shhh… don’t tell my kids) at Loma de Vida Spa & Wellness, which means “hill of life.” This 25,000-square-foot spa is one of the largest wellness facilities in Texas and boasts serene indoor/outdoor spaces that seem perfectly set up for social distancing as well as tranquil treatments like the Loma de Vida Swedish massage and CBD oil body enhancement I received, which erases stress and transports your mind and body to a long-forgotten level of relaxation. The full-service spa features 15 treatment rooms, including eight massage rooms, three body rooms, two couples suites and two Sky Lofts — dreamy outdoor treatment rooms hovering over the Hill Country featuring wooden soaking tubs and offering the ultimate al fresco private pampering experience.
The luxurious lodging
La Cantera prides itself in appealing to families and adults alike, and the resort’s sophisticated ranch-inspired accommodations reflect that with nearly 500 accommodations, including rooms and suites, 34 boutique-style villas and an exclusive adults-only floor called SEVEN reserved only for those 21 and up. Our family stayed at The Villas — a private enclave just steps from the resort, featuring secluded standalone accommodations named after iconic Texas ranches. The villas vary in size, from sprawling 1,600-square-foot suites to spacious single-rooms featuring two queen beds like the one we stayed in, but they’re all equipped with private patios and personal golf carts perfect for zipping around the 550-acre property. The Villas also have their own intimate pool area separate from the main resort, featuring a hot tub and marble-clad bar serving signature hand-crafted cocktails.
The delicious, convenient dining
I love a resort that puts really good food at your fingertips. Whether you want casual poolside bites or a chef-driven fine dining experience, you will find it all at La Cantera. We tucked into Tex Mex-inspired favorites including tacos, enchiladas and ceviche while sipping cool margaritas and gazing out at the sparkling pool at Primero Cantina. We loved our dinner at SweetFire Kitchen (which also serves up Hill Country-inspired deliciousness for breakfast and lunch), where we enjoyed an al fresco feast of raw oysters, filets with black pepper and blue cheese cream and roasted mushrooms, lamb chops with whipped potatoes, and a creamy pork belly mac and cheese that was a hit with our youngest and pickiest eater. For a five-star dining experience, book a table at Signature, inspired by Chef Andrew Weissman — a four-time James Beard Award nominee — that will transport your palate to the south of France with appetizers such as seared Hudson Valley foie gras and fricassee of snails in a garlic soubise and herb pistou and entrees including French veal and poached Icelandic cod with caviar and Champagne beurre blanc.
With a full-service spa, plenty of pools, tennis courts, a gaming arcade and two world-class championship golf courses providing 36 holes of golf, you might never want to leave the resort. But if you do, La Cantera Resort & Spa is a posh basecamp to endless entertainment. Take the complimentary shuttle to the neighboring restaurants and stores found at The Shops at La Cantera or to capture the thrills unfolding at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, just 1.5 miles away.
Minutes from the resort, you can fly high at iFly Indoor Skydiving, perfect your swing at Top Golf or test your speed at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Just 20 minutes from the resort, take the kids to play for the day at SeaWorld or tour the historic San Antonio Missions, which together make up the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas.