Entries in ‘Texas’ Journal

Inn at Dos Brisas, Luxury Ranch Resort in Texas Hill Country

Friday January 31, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 2 Comments

Dos Brisas ranch, adirondack

Pull up a chair at The Inn at Dos Brisas near Brenham, Texas

One hour northwest of Houston and 1.5 hours east of Austin sits The Inn at Dos Brisas. This luxury ranch resort is tucked away in Washington County, one of the wealthiest counties in Texas. After having stayed two nights at Dos Brisas, I can see why city slickers would slip away to Dos Brisas for a little hard earned rest and relaxation in the Brazos River Valley.

Doug Bosch of Houston originally purchased the Texas ranch as a family retreat back in 2000. As with all good things, Bosch and his wife Jennifer decided to share their hideaway with friends and one thing led to another. With a lot of TLC the property went from one large indoor riding arena with several buildings in disrepair to a Relais & Chateaux ranch resort with four casitas, five luxury haciendas, an outdoor swimming pool, a Forbes five star restaurant and wine cellar, along with an organic garden that would make any chef jump for joy.
 


 

The Inn at Dos Brisas

Red tail hawks soar overhead while blue herons wait patiently by the ponds for something to move. There is no shortage of food in the circle of life that is known as The Inn at Dos Brisas. Water oaks and cedar give way to orchards of fruit trees on this 313 acre luxury ranch.

After stretching his legs, walking some of the 20 acres of garden, the chef heads back into the restaurant. His basket is heaped with brightly-colored, organically farmed, produce that will soon adorn plates of food at the Forbes five-star restaurant on property.

Wine lovers should request the five course tasting menu, paired with unique wines to compliment each course. Check the website for current prices.
 


Dos Brisas, hacienda

Dos Brisas Del Lagos hacienda

Dos Brisas luxury lodging

After check-in, guests are escorted to one of five haciendas or four smaller casitas via electric golf carts. I’m sure a horse and carriage could be arranged on request, but why not save that experience for the next day, along with a glass of champagne or two? Oh, and did I mention there is a heli pad on the ranch?

Luxury Hacienda Del Lagos

At over 1,700 square feet, my hacienda – with a lake view – has everything my little heart could desire. A charcuterie plate and bottle of bubbly are waiting to welcome me to lone star state heaven. Should I soak in the 50 gallon tub in my enormous bathroom or grab a glass of champagne and head to my private plunge pool?
 

Dos Brisas, hacienda

Dos Brisas plunge pool and screened porch

Truth be told, I snacked on the house cured meats while relaxing on the swing bed in the screened patio while scanning the list of activities on tap for tomorrow. Sporting clay or horseback riding while I re-connect with my inner cowgirl?
 

As is typical of luxury resorts, expect daily housekeeping and turn down service, an in-room safe (though I never locked my door once) stocked mini bar with all sorts of Texas libations, flat screen tvs, dvd/Blue-Ray player, ipod docking station and two gas fireplaces.

I never did see the cow jump over the moon, but the king bed with Frette Italian sheets dropped me into slumberland mighty quickly.
 

Dos Brisas, breakfast

Dos Brisas gourmet breakfast, Texas style

Cowboy breakfast in room

One of my highlights of the trip was discovering the Butler’s Pass in my luxury hacienda. I won’t give away all the surprises, but lets just say this gourmet ranch breakfast never tasted so good.
 

Inn at Dos Brisas rates

Rates start at $450 per night for a Casita and $850 per night for a Hacienda. These rates include daily gourmet breakfast and one activity.
 

Insider Tip

With advance reservation, foodies may take cooking classes, sharpen their knife skills (selecting Japanese vs. Western knives), learn proper potato dish preparation, create professional sauces, bake breads, cakes and cookies or dive into a mixology class and craft the perfect cocktail.
 

Dos Brisas, cola

Texas libations at Dos Brisas

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and follow @InnatDosBrisas.

If You Go:

The Inn at Dos Brisas (979) 277-7750
10000 Champion Drive (Off FM1155)
Washington, Texas 77880

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of The Inn at Dos Brisas.

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Family Friendly Suites, Like Home in San Antonio, TX

Friday June 22, 2012 at 10:10 AM | 0 Comments

"Home2 Suites exterior sign"

Welcome to the family friendly and comfortable Home2 Suites in San Antonio, Texas

Home2  Suites by Hilton, San Antonio, Texas

Conveniently located in the center of the city, the Home2 Suites San Antonio downtown hotel is an easy 10-15 minute walk from the historic Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk.  Opened in February 0f 2012, Home2 Suites is  a new idea for Hilton. One of only seven “Home2 Suites” in the nation, the all-suite, extended stay hotel is eco-friendly, while also appealing to the cost conscious traveler.

Designed to feel like your home, the rooms offer a small kitchen with apartment sized refrigerator, microwave oven and dishwasher. Young families will like this concept to save on meals, as will extended stay business travelers

Eco-Friendly Atmosphere

"Home2 Suites Pool"

After a day sightseeing in San Antonio, Texas take a dip in the salt water pool

From the indoor salt water swimming pool, to the recycled materials throughout, the eco-element is apparent. Energy Star rated appliances are a given, as is the trend toward dual flush, water conserving toilets. You won’t find mini shampoo bottles here. Instead, look for bulk soap dispensers featuring Neutrogena products. The carpeting is made of 65% recycled materials, without the use of toxic glues.

What’s missing?

I couldn’t find the safe deposit box, because there isn’t one in room. You’ll need to head downstairs to the lobby to use the hotel safe.

"Home2 Suites Lobby"

The lobby is spacious and welcoming for guests checking in or asking questions

Extra credit points: Front desk receptionist, Sammi, went the extra mile to check me into my Southwest Airlines flight, as I didn’t have computer access during my off-site business meetings.

Studio King Suite

My room, #702, rented anywhere from $159. -$189 during Fiesta, an 11 day party, celebrating San Antonio and it’s culture. Rates ran $129 during non-event days. Check website for details.

Accommodations

There are two types of guest rooms: studio suites and one-bedroom suites.

Home2 Suites offers a complimentary continental breakfast each day; a business center with computers, printers, and free printing; an Oasis common space; a fitness center equipped with free weight and cardio equipment; a saline-based pool; and a pet friendly atmosphere. Two pets, weighing less than 30 lbs., per guest are allowed to lodge for $75 each.

"Home2 Suites bedroom"

Spacious and affordable, Home2 Suites bedrooms are an excellent choice when visiting San Antonio, Texas

Rooms include a full kitchen with a microwave, convection oven, and a dishwasher; a sitting area with a sleeper sofa; an Ergonomic desk chair; complimentary HBO; high-speed internet access; Neutrogena bathroom amenities; and an alarm clock with an iPod port and an MP3 jack.

Insider Tip

The best rates are guaranteed online. Check prices at Priceline or Expedia.

Check-in: 3:00pm/Check-out: 12:00pm

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and Home2 Suites on Twitter.

If You Go:

Home 2 Suites by Hilton (210) 354 -4366

603 Navarro Street

San Antonio, TX 78205

Article written by  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Things to See and Do in San Antonio, Texas

Friday May 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM | 4 Comments

"San Fernando Cathedral"

For an authentic San Antonio, Texas experience visit the historic San Fernando Cathedral

 
Are you visiting San Antonio for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the Alamo City.

When I have a visitor from out of town, I take them to The Alamo. Originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, The Alamo was established in 1718 as the city’s first mission.

For an authentic experience reserved for the locals, visit the historic San Fernando Cathedral. I was fortunate to attend the early morning Fiesta Mariachi Mass in April. The English speaking mass honors Fiesta royalty and includes a Spanish choir and lively mariachi music.

 

 

Kids in San Antonio, Texas

Save time for a trip to SeaWorld San Antonio, the world’s largest marine life adventure park or Six Flags if you have kids traveling with you. If you happen to be in San Antonio during Fiesta, the Fiesta Arts Fair at the Southwest School of Art brings together artists from across the U.S. and San Antonio. This family-friendly event also features a Children’s Art Garden where kids have a chance to work with professional artists while they create their own masterpieces.

 

"Prickly Pear Margarita"

For a Prickly Pear Margarita, go to Boudros on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas

Tex-Mex Food of San Antonio

Are you wondering where to eat in San Antonio, Texas?  This is the place for excellent Tex-Mex cuisine.

The best items on the menu at La Gloria restaurant are the mokajetes. La Gloria specializes in street foods of Mexico. The margaritas are “life changing” according to my friend. Personally, I liked the sangria and just about everything Chef Johnny Hernandez brought out to our table. Viva Fiesta!

For a tasty Prickly Pear Margarita, go to Boudros on the Riverwalk. The best breakfast in town can be found at Guenther Bakery in the King William District. If this place could mail order their cinnamon rolls I’d be in BIG trouble!

One of the “must do” tourist experiences is the Rio San Antonio dinner cruise, then stop and have a drink at The Esquire after dinner.

For the foodies in the group, take a cooking class at The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio or dine at NAO, pronounced “now” – a restaurant of new world flavors.

 

"Order of the Alamo"

Nikki Swift, 2012 Princess of the Order of the Alamo and Sallie Lewis, Queen of the Order of the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

Cowboy boots and hat standard San Antonio attire

Are you seeing a lot of  cowboy boots and hats around town? San Antonio is best known for Western Wear. The highlight of my visit was the Charreada at Charro Ranch. A Charreada is the national sport of Mexico, an equestrian competition featuring horse reining, bull riding and roping skills. Check out theTexas Folklife Festival if you are visiting San Antonio in June.

 
There’s more to San Antonio than River Walk

Everyone will know you are visiting San Antonio if you get your picture taken in front of the Alamo or on the River Walk (RW.)If you have time,  walk to the top of the Tower of the Americas on the Observation Deck.  It’s also nice to explore street level too, especially the Southtown area which is less “polished” and a little funkier. Lots of art galleries, shops, and neighborhood businesses. The King William neighborhood is a real find for lovers of Victoriana – the homes are gorgeous and if you come during a home tour that’s a treat to see them on the inside!

That said, if you’re on the RW,  it’s a must to take the River barge all the way to the Pearl District, from there; especially on Saturday mornings for the year-round, rain or shine Farmers Market.

 

"River Walk"

The San Antonio River Walk is a five mile network of walkways.

San Antonio fitness break

In San Antonio, outdoor types will want to hike and bike their way through the city. Of course you’ll want to walk the River Walk.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk  or run along the Museum and Mission Reach portions of the River Walk, this eight mile, $245 million project will restore wetlands to the ecosystem while maintaining or improving flood control.

If you are a museum lover you might want to visit the San Antonio Missions National Park, the  McNay Art Museum or Museo Alameda, the first and only Smithsonian-affiliated museum dedicated to Latino culture. Afterall, there’s more to San Antonio than the Alamo.

Want to dance like a local? Azuca restaurant is the place to go for salsa dancing.
 

There’s more to San Antonio than art

The San Antonio Express-News will keep you posted on what’s happening in San Antonio, as well as the alternative weekly San Antonio Current.

In the spring you should attend Luminaria in March and Fiesta in late April. San Antonio seems to have a festival or celebration every month.

But there’s more to San Antonio than art.  Come to San Antonio in the winter for SPURS basketball season. You may watch the four-time World Champions at AT&T Center.

 

"Mission Espada"

Mission Espada is part of the San Antonio Missions National Park

Insider Tip: Check out The King William Neighborhood; it’s a beautiful historic neighborhood located just south of downtown.

Just outside of  San Antonio you may explore Texas Hill Country. The kids will love the water park at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort. I loved Lantana Spa at the resort.

What are your favorite things to do in San Antonio?

For more up-to-date happenings, follow Visit San Antonio on Twitter and like their page on Facebook. For all things travel related, follow Travel Expert Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.

Thanks to San Antonio Writer Julie Catalano and San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau for assistance with this post.  Photos, YouTube video and article by  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.

 
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