Do you find yourself planning a special event, like an anniversary, or a friend’s birthday party or a girls’ weekend away and immediately think of going to Austin or San Antonio? After my recent experience, I would submit that you need to look no further than the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine for an amazing experience. Save the gas and prepare to be wowed by this amazing resort that sits right in the middle of our Metroplex.
Here are a few tips:
While the rooms aren’t cheap, I did think there were some really good deals for the summer on their website. So be sure to look around! I had an atrium-facing room and found the view breathtaking. The atrium is massive and the ceiling of sky lights lets in refreshing natural light all day long. Also, while you may not be one to valet park, I would strongly suggest it in this case. The parking garage can be a trek from the lobby and so lugging your bags and your family may sap your strength and start your vacation off on the wrong foot. Valet is $25 per day and you can come and go as many times as you please.
Here’s where you’ll want to spend some cash, as well as any calories you may be storing up, because all of the menu offerings are amazing. Old Hickory is their top-notch restaurant and has a really inviting ambiance- think underground-wine-cellar feel. Chef Joanne Bondy has a reputation for being a genius in the kitchen and because of this, reservations are highly recommended. Something else that is highly recommended is Old Hickory’s regular wine tastings. These tastings offer up an opportunity to taste high-end wines that you might not try otherwise. The Gaylord offers numerous other places to eat- Zeppole for Italian, and Riverwalk Cantina for Tex-Mex. I visited Texan Station (which boasts a 52-foot screen for all things sports) for a late night snack of Southwest Egg Rolls and a Top Shelf, Perfect Margarita…and let me just say from a picky-margarita-drinker’s standpoint, it was perfect!
Now if you are coming here with a group of friends, check out The Glass Cactus for nightlife. There is a shuttle that takes you from the hotel lobby to the free-standing Glass Cactus, which sits right on the lake. There is no cover charge for hotel guests.
Ok, now to the main attraction, at least during these hot Texas summers, their new water park, Paradise Springs. This was one of the highlights of my trip. The water park is only open to hotel guests but it is possible to buy a couple extra passes if someone is meeting you here. While this is no mega-park, you still won’t be left wanting for much. The park includes a delightful lazy river, a windy slide (fun if there isn’t much of a line, but probably not worth it if there is,) a zip-line (mostly for kids,) lots of pool space, a great menu for “suds” and “grub” and, best of all, private cabanas available for rent.
The cabanas are so nice they make you feel like a VIP (maybe that’s because your name is printed on the front of them!) Each cabana has a table for four, two lounge chairs, a flat screen TV, a safe, a refrigerator and a server! I really think it’s worth it to get one of these whether it’s just for you and your sweetie, a group of friends or your whole family. If the $79-$99 per day price tag for a cabana isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of free chairs to claim around the pool.
A few final thoughts on Paradise Springs: if you are traveling with just adults and your idea of a day at the pool doesn’t consist of goggles, swim diapers and a DJ asking trivia questions about Justin Bieber, then I would strongly suggest avoiding a Saturday. I thoroughly enjoyed my time but did find it a bit crowded. Oh yeah, the burgers and ‘ritas are totally worth looking bloated in your swimsuit.
You can’t go wrong bringing your family here. Here are a few helpful hints to maximize your enjoyment: valet park, bring your own snacks and breakfast foods to help keep the cost down, consider getting a babysitter at least for one night and you must see the SummerFest schedule. All summer long they have numerous fun events such as movies by the pool, a hair-braiding station, junior cooking classes, ghost stories by the fire and a free fireworks show every Friday night.
Austin is fine and San Antonio is nice but get ready, because the Gaylord Texan is going to knock your socks off.
1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, Texas
Casey Gilliam is a Co-Founder of Dallas Moms Blog, a blog geared towards connecting local moms to each other and to this great city. She loves her baby girl and her husband of almost 8 years. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org