Disclosure: My children and I received a complimentary one-night stay in a king corner suite at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. We were also treated to dinner at the Lantana Grill and Bar, one of the resort’s fine dining establishments. However, all opinions and photographs in this review are mine.
One of the best things about summer is getting away from it all. It doesn’t matter if you travel across the world, across the country, or even to a staycation in your own city or a nearby town. Breaking routine and spending dedicated, relaxing time with family to create Summer memories makes us appreciate each other even more throughout the year.
My kids and I were recently invited to stay for a night at the Marriott Horseshoe Bay Resort, located on Lake LBJ and only a 70-mile drive north of San Antonio. Sweeping views of the majestic Texas Hill Country provided a pleasing backdrop as we passed through lovely small Texas towns including Spring Branch, Blanco, and Johnson City. When traveling to the resort, the short, scenic drive is a pretty precursor to the pleasure and repose awaiting you just ahead.
As you wind your way up and into the town of Horseshoe Bay and to the resort, the pace of life seems to slow. Golf carts move at a leisurely pace (the resort boasts an impressive four courses). Residents wave as you pass them while they walk their dogs. Your breath begins to slow and deepen. Relaxation and recreation are just ahead!
The resort property is expansive and consists of the hotel (built in 2005), the Yacht Club (built in 1971) and Marina, the four golf courses, and The Waters, one-to-three bedroom condos available for rent through the hotel.
The grounds are lush and beautifully appointed with a tropical vibe. And the views of Lake LBJ from both the resort and Marina are spectacular, reaching farther than your eye can see.
Lake LBJ is a constant-level lake which means it will never be affected by drought. It is first in the Highland chain of lakes. Backup electric power for Texas is created at the dam by turbines that spin under the lake’s waters. The lake must be maintained at a constant level. Therefore, Lake LBJ is filled with water from the Lower Colorado River Authority to ensure the level of water remains constant (or close to it, within about a foot). Many other Texas lakes, and the popular water sports enjoyed on them, have been threatened in recent years by drought. But Lake LBJ will always be full and, consequently, ready for water lovers who want to play.
What makes it stand out
- Proximity to San Antonio, Austin and Dallas
- An enormous range and variety of on site activities (be sure to check out this impressive 26-page full color guide to Summer activities at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Take one when you check in!)
- Summer golf, tennis, sports, and fishing camps for kids
- Seven different dining options
- Water sports rentals and activities including jet skis, pontoon boats, day cruiser boats, kayaks, water ski boats, banana boat rides, paddle boards, and fishing trips. The Marina rents boats and equipment by the hour, not the day, providing even greater flexibility for guests.
- A full-service spa that includes hair and nail services (great for girlfriend getaways and/or bridal parties). Another neat amenity is a gorgeous, mosaic-tiled resistance pool
- A Kids’ Club with flexible hours
- The Whitewater Putting Course, an 18-hole, par 72, Bermuda grass putting course. You’ll want to refer to it as the world’s most realistic mini-golf course but it’s actually a regulation course, only smaller (and fun for kids as well as adults)
- The Whitewater Activity Center, a dream location for kids where they can make ice cream sundaes, play video games, watch movies, ride bikes, and attend animal meet-and-greets with parrots, owls, flamingoes, and tortoises
- 16 adult tennis courts (which include hard court, grass and clay) as well as three USTA-sponsored Andy Roddick Kids’ Courts that are scaled down to size for young players
- The Resort Jet Center, the resort’s own airport where guests can land their private planes.
Although the resort offers more activities during the Summer than any other resort I’ve ever visited, they go one step further on Summer holidays. Special activity guides detail a remarkable variety of even more things for guests to do and enjoy on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
- Be sure to grab a Resort Map when you arrive. Horseshoe Bay Resort is huge and it’s easy to get lost without a map when you first arrive.
- Ask the staff. When in doubt about what activities you’d like most or which of the seven dining options to choose, ask resort team members. In my experience they were always helpful, gracious, and knowledgeable.
- Grab a ride on a golf cart or shuttle bus. Available most times of day at the entrance to the hotel, they’ll take you to the Yacht Club and back. It’s not a terribly long walk but there is so much to see and do, you’ll appreciate the ability to get from place to place quickly.
My only regret about our stay was that it was too short (less than 24 hours). Other than spending a couple of hours at the Yacht Club pool, my children and I simply didn’t have enough time during our stay to try any of the great-looking activities. A longer stay would have allowed us to try the activities and include reviews of which ones are most enjoyable for families and which ones I’d recommend. I guess we’ll have to plan another visit there next summer!