Travel – Hyatt Regency Hill Country

Travel – Hyatt Regency Hill Country

Hill Country road trips are a staple among those from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. There isn’t anything quite like hitting the open road and heading south for a weekend of majestic rolling hills and all the other attractions that area of our great state offers. Located just 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa is the full Hill Country experience, with hotel, event space, spa, dining, bars … and, of course, golf. 

Just having celebrated its 30th anniversary, this luxury resort opened just a little more than a half decade after SeaWorld San Antonio, which debuted in 1988, and sits just a stone’s throw from the hotel. So, if you are in town for a weekend adventure to the park, Hyatt is close and features everything you need for a few days with family and friends. A recent $50 million renovation to guestrooms and meeting spaces has this property gleaming with Texas panache, including warm tones on walls, new wood flooring and fabulous Texas-inspired artwork, much of which pays homage to the resort’s roots, which stem from the one-time Rogers-Wiseman ranch where the resort sits. 

In addition to the guestroom enhancements, the meeting spaces and ballrooms have also been upgraded, as the Hill County Ballroom, Fredericksburg Ballroom and additional breakout rooms all received new carpet, lighting and state-of-the-art sound systems. These additions make the Hyatt Hill Country a great place for your next company outing or seminar. 

Dining at Hyatt Hill Country is abundant, with a rock-solid meld of casual and fine dining, with a couple bar options sprinkled on top. If you are looking for something casual for breakfast, lunch or dinner, then the Springhouse Café is a nice option. From breakfast tacos to French toast to start the day, a tuna melt or turkey club for lunch, or a blackened redfish or fried pork chop for dinner, this café is a great stop while you’re on property to feed the golf crew or family. 

Charlie’s Long Bar is another nice place to hitch your wagon if you are looking for a cool drink and something to nosh. This recently renovated space gets its name, well … you can see for yourself as you walk through the doors. The tavern-style vibe features cowhide-covered barstools, plenty of flatscreen TVs to catch a game, shuffleboard, darts, and one of the longest bar tops you will find this side of the Rio Grande. Tilt a cold beverage and snack on some chips and queso as their culinary team prepares you some delicious smoked brisket, baby back pork ribs, or jalapeño cheddar sausage. Also, be sure to dig a spoon in some of their Chessman banana pudding before you head back to the room … you don’t want to miss it. 

For fine dining, the Antler’s Lodge is as good as it gets. Although currently closed for a renovation that will carry into mid-June, should you make your way to the property over the summer once the renovations are complete, you don’t want to miss this comprehensive fine-dining experience. The innovative menu features some standard steakhouse fare, as well as some exotic curveballs like the Chili-coffee rubbed elk tenderloin or the grilled Nilgai saddle. If you aren’t familiar, Nilgai is an antelope that was first introduced to the state of Texas by the King Ranch in the 1920s. It has a delicate mild flavor similar to veal, with almost no fat content. If you are looking to expand your horizons with something different, I cannot recommend it enough. Add some Yukon gold potato puree and some grilled asparagus, and you have yourself a meal you won’t soon forget. 

Of course, we wouldn’t want to forget the golf at Hyatt Hill Country. With three nine-hole layouts, the club offers plenty of challenge, some gorgeous architectural elements, all sprawling across 200 acres of dramatic Hill Country terrain. Designed by Arthur Hills and Associates, who are the brains behind other stunners like Half Moon Bay’s Ocean Course in California, Myerlee Country Club in Florida and in DFW, the Whitworth at Trophy Club and Heritage Ranch in Fairview, the routing of all three nines at Hill Country GC is fun, playable, and with four sets of tees, enjoyable for all skill levels. 

The Oaks nine features a couple of whimsical holes that you won’t forget. No. 3, which is a 328-yard par 4, can be a pick-your-poison type tee shot. Longer hitters can challenge the tree-lined dogleg and try to cover the corner, leaving a short wedge or even a pitch shot into the green. However, a bunker guards the putting surface short, which can wreak havoc if found.

The final hole on the Oaks is another stunner that requires not only precision, but distance. A dramatic hard dogleg left; this one can be a challenge for those who play a cut shot off the tee. Playing at 549 yards, the green is reachable for longer hitters, but a tall grove of trees at the corner of the dogleg must be flown, and on the other side of those trees, a water feature guards the green. If you choose to try to get home in a pair, be mindful that there is trouble in abundance. There is no shame in playing this as a three-shot hole and trying to land a precision wedge third shot for a great chance at birdie. 

I would have to say that of the trio of nine-hole layouts, the Creeks would have to be my personal favorite. This par 36 offers a stern test, with some great par 3s and a couple memorable par 5s. The 538-yard par-5 fourth is a good risk/reward test for those with some distance off the tee. A good tee shot that finds the left-center of the fairway leaves a solid angle to attempt reaching the putting surface in two, but there is a pond guarding the green short-right, so be mindful that coming up short is a no-no. 

Of all the holes on the entire property, I would have to say No. 7 on the Creeks is the most difficult to unpack. After playing it, I couldn’t decide if it was a fantastic hole, or one that should be eradicated from the golf world forever, which to me is a sign of interesting architecture. After considering how the hole should probably be attacked, I began to lean more toward the former, as this sweeping, boomerang-shaped par 4 is definitely interesting from tee to green. Playing just 397 from the tips, a large tree in the center of the fairway offers a target line, but also a guide to where the fairway begins its sharp turn left. A hard hybrid, or a right-to-left fairway metal can leave a wedge to a green that sits atop a small plateau and across a meandering creek. Two well-placed shots are required to master this hole, and should you wipe one right off the tee, the fairway runs out of room rapidly, leaving players with a lost ball or a shot from a significant rock outcropping that can lead to an unplayable lie and a drop. 

The Lakes is the final course of the trio, and this one is aptly named as water appears on Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 7. Although No. 4 doesn’t feature water, it is the second longest par 3 on the property, playing 216 from the tips. This green is carved into a sidehill with a landing area that shapes from front left and runs into the green that meanders into a tree-lined natural amphitheater. A large bunker protects the green, so coming up short when the pin is cut back-right can lead to a trickly sand shot.

Hole No. 7 is another hole that will test your mental fortitude, as you may choose how much of the lake separating tee and fairway you would like to chew off. Be more aggressive on this 418-yarder and you will be rewarded with a shorter approach, but play conservatively over the shorter carry and you can be left with a long iron and a tough second shot into the putting surface. 

Overall, the golf courses are enjoyable. All three nine-hole layouts present some opportunities to score, some holes that can be challenging to even single-digit handicaps, and some holes that offer a risk vs. reward element. They are short by today’s technology standards (especially playing the blue or white tees), but that allows good ball-strikers to be as aggressive or as conservative as they choose based on how they may be hitting the ball that day. 

One final family friendly attraction I would be remiss not to mention is the massive water park at the Hyatt Hill Country. This five-acre, fun-in-the-sun attraction has an almost 1,000-foot lazy river, a FlowRider wave machine, two-story waterslide, and multiple heated pools to relax and float the day away. Tubes are readily available to float the Ramblin’ River, which is lined with trees to keep you cool and away from the blazing Texas rays. There is also a hot tub, which is wonderful for those post-round aches and pains. Head on over to Papa Ed’s Pool Bar & Grill for a frozen concoction of your choice, or a nice cold beer to enjoy by the pool. If you get a hankering for a bite from all your water activities, Papa Ed’s also has burgers, chicken tenders, tacos or even fish and chips to enjoy. 

I should also note that if the summertime resort pool scene isn’t for you because there can oftentimes be a lot of noise and children bouncing around all over the place, then there is an adult-only pool also available, should you want something a little more docile where you and the wife can relax and enjoy the solitude of your vacation. 

In addition to all the guest amenities Hyatt Hill Country has to offer, there are also a multitude of other experiences that change with the seasons, so be sure to check the calendar before you book to see what else may be going on while you are enjoying your stay. There are fun activities like cooking demos, wine and liquor tasting events, golf camps or even murder mystery events that add some additional entertainment options. 

San Antonio also has plenty of other off-property attractions, such as the aforementioned Sea World, which is less than 10 minutes from the resort, or if you want to venture the 25 minutes to downtown, there is the world-famous Riverwalk, the Alamo, or if you are a sports fan, you can check out a San Antonio Spurs game. 

The Hyatt Hill Country really has all the attractions you need for your next Hill Country adventure. At just a little less than five hours from the Metroplex, the drive isn’t bad to get out of town for the weekend and take in some San Antone fun and frivolity, all at rates that won’t beat up your bank account like some other resorts in Texas. 

Check out the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa. Golf, food, friends and family. What more could you ask for?