With the shimmering River Walk as its centerpiece, San Antonio is always ready to welcome a celebration. Hotels both new and upgraded are drawing eager groups, and the convention center's expansion debuted earlier this year with spaces such as the Stars at Night Ballroom (pictured).
• Brigid just celebrated its one-year anniversary of serving contemporary American fare. Small plates include mushroom and goat cheese gnocchi, white lobster mac and cheese, and wild boar Bourgogne. (210) 263-7885
• Craft brews, wine and modern comfort food are on the menu at Hop and Vine. Think shrimp and grits, brisket sliders and pickled okra. (210) 878-4071
• January saw the debut of the $325 million expansion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, which now offers 514,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space. The project added 270,000 square feet of new exhibit space, 85,000 square feet of column-free multipurpose space, a 54,000-square-foot ballroom, 70 meeting rooms, and a wraparound balcony with views of the city's downtown and the River Walk.
• The San Antonio Marriott River Walk now features Internet TV in all 512 guest rooms, which were renovated last year. Visitors can easily stream Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon content. The property offers 17,566 square feet of meeting space, the Cactus Flower restaurant serving Southwestern dishes, and an indoor/outdoor pool.
• The 146-room Hotel Emma opened last November in the Pearl District along the Museum Reach section of the River Walk. The new hotel once was a brew house and is named after Emma Koehler, wife of brewery founder Otto Koehler, who ran the brewery after he died and up until Prohibition. The property offers 6,160 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. Three dining outlets are on-site: Supper, serving seasonal greenmarket fare; Sternewirth, the hotel's bar and club, featuring wines, craft beers and small plates; and Larder, a gourmet market with local goods, groceries, house-butchered meats and other provisions, plus prepared foods.
The 1,002-room JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
has expanded its River Bluff Water Experience and added an indoor-outdoor event area with a pavilion, left, and an event lawn.
French artists are in focus at the McNay Art Museum from Feb. 22 to May 21 next year. "Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950" will feature 65 works on loan from New York City's Brooklyn Museum. The venue welcomes buyouts for up to 800 people for receptions and up to 400 for banquets, as well as smaller events.
Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 1,003-room Grand Hyatt San Antonio, 1,002-room JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, 1,001-room Marriott Rivercenter, 629-room Hyatt Regency Riverwalk, 512-room San Antonio Marriott River Walk, 500-room Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, 498-room La Cantera Resort, 485-room Hyatt Palacio del Rio, 473-room Westin Riverwalk and 410-room Crowne Plaza Riverwalk.
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.
Convention Centers: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center; exhibit space, 514,000 square feet; meeting rooms, 70; (877) 504-8895
Alamodome; exhibit space, 160,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 16; (210) 207-3663
Airport Transit: San Antonio International Airport, approximately eight miles north of downtown. Transfer cost to downtown by taxi, $25-$29; by shuttle, $18
Taxes: Room tax, 16.75%; sales tax, 8.125%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.75%
Group Venue: The art, history and culture of the American West are celebrated at the Briscoe Western Art Museum on the River Walk, in the building that once housed the city's first public library. The new Jack Guenther Pavilion has 20,000 square feet of event space and pairs with the facility's McNutt Courtyard and Sculpture Garden to host groups of up to 2,200 for a reception and 1,400 for a dinner. (210) 507-4849
Contact: San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, (210) 207-6700