Joined together by a small stone footbridge, San Antonio`s two finest hotels—La Mansion del Rio and the new Watermark(R) Hotel & Spa—share the romantic qualities of the Texas city they call home. Today the two properties welcomed in a new era of hospitality with the official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the Watermark. A who`s who list of San Antonio`s business leaders, along with a host of city officials, attended the ceremony to celebrate the eagerly anticipated opening of the Watermark. Local dignitaries taking part in the formal presentation were Mayor Ed Garza, former mayors the Honorable Henry Cisneros and Judge Nelson Wolff, and the driving force behind both properties, Patrick J. Kennedy.
The Watermark Hotel & Spa, companion to legendary La Mansion del Rio, assumed a place not only along the river but also in the hearts and minds of those who cherish the historical lore of San Antonio and its importance as one of the nation`s most beloved cities. The Watermark joins La Mansion in sharing a commitment to preserving the culture, history and period architecture unique to San Antonio. An adaptive recreation of the facade of the 19th century L. Frank Saddlery Building, along with the original footings of the building, gives the Watermark its elemental core. The hotel`s 99 spacious guest rooms and generous suites—ranging in size from 425 to 600 square feet and featuring marble baths, Jacuzzi tubs, separate shower enclosures, stylish four-poster beds clad in a color palate of creamy whites and warm tones of umber, sage and silvery green—owe their 12-foot ceilings to the soaring spaces of the original building. While the two properties provide guests with two very distinctive experiences, they both celebrate individual Texas identities, reflect their shared Hispanic heritage and a gracious style of hospitality and welcoming charm.
According to the design firm hired to complete this project, the historical significance and Renaissance Revivalist architectural style of the building are celebrated and honored with the completion of the Watermark Hotel & Spa. HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates—renowned as the “#1 hospitality design firm” is the brainchild behind the interior design of the hotel that combines residential design with traditional Texas influences. The Watermark Hotel & Spa promises a timeless sanctuary nestled in one of the nation`s most extraordinary linear parks—the River Walk—in downtown San Antonio. With a goal of reflecting the architectural graciousness of turn-of-the-century Texas residences, the Watermark immediately projects an appropriate sense of place and time. The building seems as though it`s always been there with its beautiful stone columns, wood and stone floors, stone fireplace and beautiful wood mantle. The lobby and adjoining rooms are lined with elegant millwork and wood paneled walls. Throughout, there is a warm, elegant, comfortable, eclectic mixture of styles. The spa experience is not isolated within the spa, but is also found in the luxurious oversized guestrooms, with their elegant, substantial baths. Throughout the Watermark, moving from one area to another brings a continuous flow of new delights to be discovered by Watermark guests.
Built in 1900, the building originally housed the L. Frank Saddlery Co. which was one of the most successful leather goods companies in the nation, producing saddles and harnesses for the likes of Teddy Roosevelt`s “Rough Riders” and legendary Mexican revolutionary “Pancho” Villa. At the beginning of World War One, the Saddlery employed 500 and made saddles and tack for the British, French and U.S. Armies. By 1918, it was the largest saddlery in the world. Its products eventually became high-demand items by American presidents and movie stars.
With the opening of the new Watermark Hotel & Spa comes the employment of approximately 250 employees, an estimated payroll of more than $7.5 million, and purchase of nearly $6 million in operational goods and services. Combined, La Mansion del Rio and the Watermark are expected to generate city, state and occupancy tax revenues approaching $5 million.
The Watermark is seen as an innovative new addition to both San Antonio and the hospitality/spa industry. The hotel marries white glove service, superior accommodations, a full-service spa in a setting that combines resort and urban amenities. The luxurious 17,000 square foot spa encompasses an entire floor in the hotel and includes a state-of-the-art fitness center and mind/body training center. Four spa suites, each offering spa-level private access and private label products using ingredients indigenous to Texas, and 19 treatment rooms are just part of what make this a memorable spa experience. The Watermark also features a rooftop pool, cozy cafe, high-speed Internet access and executive meeting spaces among its extensive list of amenities.
Under the helm of noted chef, Jonathan Parker, the hotel`s restaurant, Pecsa on the River, is a high-energy enclave featuring the freshest seafood brought in daily from around the world. A large oyster bar gleams with a shimmering blue hue and is an ideal spot to look over the pleasant room. Oversized teak tables and chairs are scattered pleasantly in front of the river, where al fresco dining is available throughout the year thanks to heated pavers.
The Watermark`s comfortable elegance is perfectly suited for its place on the Riverwalk. From the casual sophistication of the lobby—a residential feeling created by welcoming melt-away leather club chairs, soft pools of floor-lamp lighting, natural sunlight and moonbeams pouring in from the arched windows—to the gentle curves of the stairway that leads to the spa, to the graceful water wall and quiet rooms of peaceful solace, the Watermark reflects the perfect balance of Texas hospitality and understated elegance.
The Watermark Hotel & Spa, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, is located at 212 West Crockett Street in San Antonio. Room rates start at $250 per night and are available at 866-605-1212 and www.watermarkhotel.com.