The River Walk along the old San Antonio River is lined with restaurants, shops, and bars and is the focus of two annual Christmas events…the Fiesta de las Luminarias sees the river lined with 7,000 luminarias (sand-filled, candle-lit paper bags) marking the path Mary and Joseph took the night before Jesus was born…while the Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony, held the day after Thanksgiving, marks the illumination of the River Walk by more than 122,000 lights.
The River Walk is also the site of the historic Arneson River Theatre. When there aren’t any special events going on along the River Walk you can catch a ride, or even have lunch or dinner, aboard one of the motorized barges that ply the river. Or you can pop into one of the many bars along the bank, including Durty Nelly’s, Mad Dogs, or Howl at the Moon. After a few margaritas, that’s probably what you’ll be doing.
San Antonio Riverwalk Hotels
There are some great San Antonio Riverwalk hotels to choose from. These hotels are top of the line, with full-service accommodations, delicious food, valet parking, spa and gym facilities, pools, hot tubs, and so many other amenities.
The hotels I am listing give you top-notch service and are family-friendly. They are not, however, budget-friendly for most families. But if you can afford to stay in one of these beautiful hotels, go for it and enjoy being right on the river!
My list of San Antonio Riverwalk hotels for your convenience is as follows:
- Holiday Inn Riverwalk
- Marriott River Center Hotel
- Marriott River Walk
- Hyatt Regency San Antonio
- Crowne Plaza Riverwalk
- The Fairmount
- Hotel Contessa
- Hotel Valencia River Walk
- Watermark Hotel & Spa
- La Mansion Del Rio
- Westin Riverwalk Hotel
- Hilton Palacio Del Rio
Just go to Google and type the name of one of these hotels and San Antonio and you will find their websites and get information on them.
My husband and I stayed in a few of these, but it has been several years. I am sure they are still top-notch.
I would like to add that most of these hotels also have facilities to accommodate company meetings if you are in town to scout out good places to hold business conferences. The Hyatt Regency San Antonio has 40,000 square feet of space for meetings. The Marriott River Walk has 14 separate meeting rooms. The Marriott Rivercenter has 60,000 square feet for business conferences. Yes, there is two different Marriott’s downtown.
These hotels have great food, but you can walk on down the river to any restaurant of your choice. You can eat inside but plan to eat some delicious meals outside on the Riverwalk. Ride on one of the riverboats, and do a lot of shopping. You will have a blast.
Make sure that you take full advantage of all of the services that you are paying for at your hotel.
The Blue Bonnet Hotel
Years ago, the Blue Bonnet Hotel graced San Antonio’s River Walk. When I was a girl, my father, Richard Yorgensen, used to tell me stories about how he would stay in this River Walk hotel back in the early 1950’s.
My father had many mementos of San Antonio in with his military souvenirs. Note the postcard at the top of the page and the matchbook below from the hotel where he learned to love San Antonio and the beautiful River Walk.
After he got out of the Air Force in Fort Worth, he stayed in Texas for a while, living in Fort Worth, attending photography school, and working in a meat market.
My father loved visiting San Antonio, spending time strolling along the River Walk, sightseeing, shopping, and eating at the outdoor cafes along the San Antonio River.
My father never did regain sight in that eye and he received a small monthly check from the United States government for being a disabled American veteran for the rest of his life.
Years later, after he passed away, my husband and I moved to San Antonio. I was anxious to see the Blue Bonnet Hotel where my father had spent so many happy days as a young man. I looked all over downtown along the River Walk, but could never locate it.
I asked native San Antonians about it. None of them knew anything about it, mainly, I guess because they never stayed there. They lived in San Antonio. Why would they stay in a hotel here?
So I did some research. What I discovered saddened me. The Blue Bonnet Hotel was torn down in 1988, the year after I was married. We lived in El Paso at the time so I never got to see it in person.
The photo above is where the Blue Bonnet once stood. I went there yesterday, November 29, 2008, for the first time and could picture my father as a young man, getting off a Greyhound bus, right across the street and coming over to check in to the hotel each month. He was a photographer and loved to take photos of the River Walk and the sights of downtown San Antonio.
It was quite a moment for me to stand where my dad once stood. How sad I felt when I saw that now there stands a Bill Miller barbecue. I went there on a Saturday and the Bill Miller was not even opened. What a waste to tear down this historic hotel for the promise of a large bank to be built, yet nothing ever came of it.
The Blue Bonnet Hotel was built back in 1927 and was located on the corner of North St. Mary’s and East Pecan Street, right on the San Antonio River. The actual address, according to one article I found, was 426 N. St. Mary’s Street. Another website said the address was 200 East Pecan Street and that the building went from 450 to 498 North St. Mary’s Street on the other side. The high rise hotel had 250 rooms. Each room had its own bathroom. Air conditioning was installed in 1953. Prior to that, the hotel used ceiling fans and circulating ice water to keep the rooms cool. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, country music stars used to record songs in a recording studio in the hotel according to the research I did.
Some of my readers have sent in emails about the Blue Bonnet Hotel and excerpts are below for you to read. Thank you to each one for the information!
Doug wrote: I went to SA in 1983 to take a job at Kelly AFB & lived at the Blue Bonnet for almost a year until I could afford an apt! I ran across your photos and comments and wanted you to know I’m starting a research project on the history of the hotel. It has a long & colorful history which I plan to discover in some of my research & some I learned while living there.I too was sad it was demolished.
Carol wrote: When my husband was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in the Army I went to San Antonio to visit him. We couldn’t get in the post guest house until the second night of my stay so we stayed at the Blue Bonnet Hotel the first night I was there. Being from a small Indiana town, I thought the Blue Bonnet was the most beautiful hotel I’d ever seen! Several years later while stationed at Fort Hood we drove down to San Antonio for a weekend. We wanted to see the Blue Bonnet again, but it was closed for remodeling. I didn’t know it had been torn down until I read your article. I think I still have some moments of the Blue Bonnet myself.
Lamar wrote: I have been walking around downtown San Antonio all afternoon looking for the Bluebonnet. When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s I used to come up from Corpus and play in Chess tournaments at the bluebonnet. They had an annual Bluebonnet Open Chess Tournament and chess players came from all over Texas to play. Thank you for sharing. Your site solved a mystery for me.
Shelly wrote: My mother had a flower shop in the Blue Bonnet Hotel during the 2nd World War. It was probably the most popular flower shop for the soldiers. The address was 424 N St Marys St. I have a copy of an ad for the shop in the 1944 yellow pages – my sister’s face graces the ad. She would work with my mother in the shop. By the way, all the postcards you show of the hotel predate the bus station.