Over the weekend, I travelled down to San Antonio, Texas to visit a couple friends who live in Houston and were kind enough drive over.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Texas, mainly Houston and Austin, but had never visited San Antonio before. The great value fare from Manchester gave me the perfect opportunity to do so.
I booked the Sheraton “Gunter” Hotel in the downtown area being a big fan of SPG. The hotel itself is in a historic (in American terms) building that was built in 1909.
Sheraton is one of those brands that is in an odd place. There are some really excellent properties such as the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh and London, the brand new property that I stayed in Zurich, and some really mediocre ones too.
I was in two minds about this place. Being in a historic building, they clearly had some constraints within which they operated and I don’t think it had been refurbished for a number of years.
I had booked a king size room on the club floor, which was the top level of the building. The corridors in the hotel really were rather drab, but being an old building, had lovely high ceilings. The room as well, was pretty large with a huge king size bed, an arm chair and desk against the far wall. The bathroom was moderately sized, with the sink outside the main bath/shower. It was of the old fashioned, fixed shower head type.
There was a plug extension for the lights and alarm clock next to the bed but no USB for charging devices.
The amenities were the brand new Sheraton brand standard called “Le Grand Bain”, rather than the previous “Shine” branded ones. To be honest, not sure there’s much difference between either types other than the packaging.
The hotel has a club lounge on the second floor to which I had access. They served breakfast in there and evening “hors d’oeuvres” from 17.00 to 20.00 which included free beer and wine.
Breakfast wasn’t a bad selection including a number of hot items such as scrambled eggs and bacon. There was also some pastries, fruit, yoghurts and cereals.
There was no beans to cup espresso machine in the lounge, just standard (awful) drip coffee. However there is a Starbucks literally over the road if you need your caffeine fix. What was quite nice was there were a few sofas and a pool table in the lounge as well as some tables for people to relax. There was a large fridge with various soft drinks and bottled water for guests to help themselves to.
Overall the hotel was ok. I suspect they probably need to close the place and spend a substantial sum in completely refurbishing it to modern standards, whilst keeping the period features. If you’re a SPG elite and get club access or an upgrade, then it’s worth a visit. The location downtown is pretty good as you’re walkable to all the major sites. It’s essentially a pretty average Sheraton in an old building.
In the next article, I’ll look at some of the things to do in San Antonio, as well as the gay bars and clubs that are worth visiting.