Great Golf at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa

Deep in the heart of Texas, you’ll find a gem of a Texas golf vacation resort at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio. This beautiful AAA Four-Diamond resort defines the “full-scale destination resort” moniker with 27-holes of championship golf, a luxurious spa, a fun-filled water park, award-winning dining and much more to keep the whole family entertained. All of this fun in the Texas sun is situated around classic accommodations reminiscent of a grand ranch house.

You really never need to leave the secluded setting of the resort with all of its wonderful amenities and dining. It’s easy to forget that you’re in charming San Antonio, with all of its own wonderful attractions. The resort is adjacent to the family fun destination of SeaWorld of Texas and a short drive to other top San Antonio attractions such as The Alamo, San Antonio’s River Walk, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park.

But for those of us who love golf, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa offers up a golfers delight at the Hill Country Golf Club. With 27-holes, a wonderful practice facility and the challenges of Texas hill country design, you’ll understand why the course was named one of the top 10 new public course in the U.S. by Golf Magazine when it opened up. The facility has also garnered attention as one of the top golf venues in the Conde Nast Traveler Golf Poll.

Award-winning golf course design firm Arthur Hills and Associates took great care to not only take advantage of the undulating terrain that they got to work with in South Central Texas but also took great care to preserve the natural landscape. The result is three different 9-hole golf courses, each with its own splendid character.

From the moment you arrive at the clubhouse, you’ll get the country club treatment. Sharp attendants take care of your every need before you head out to one of the three 9-hole courses to get your round started. The Oaks, Creeks, and Lakes Courses feature undulating meadows, wooded ravines, and a layout that challenges both your strength and your mind. The beautiful ponds partner with the strategically placed bunkers and grassy hollows to test your game on each hole.

Each nine plays to a par 36 and ranges from 2300 – 3500 yards based on the four tee choices. The different sets of tees accommodate players of all skill level and the course is particularly “women-friendly”, winning a prestigious award on Golf for Women magazine’s Top Fairways list. It’s difficult to pick a favorite of the trio, so hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to play a few days and get to experience all three at least once.

The Oaks Course plays to 3,438 yards from the black tees and offers a nice balance in length of holes. As the name implies, you’ll have towering oak trees to contend with so be sure to study the holes from the tee. There are definitely preferred sides to the fairway as you set up for your approach shots into the par 4 holes. Don’t just pull the driver out on the 400-yard par-4 holes…you’ll need to think your way through all holes at the resort and a lesser club off the tee may be the right play.

The 420-yard fourth on the Oaks will certainly challenge your strength and accuracy. You’ll need to be long and accurate off the tee in order to set up for an approach over a creek to a difficult green. The fifth and eighth may be the easiest par 3 set of all the nines, although a short tee shot on the fifth will cost you a penalty into the creek so be sure to use enough club. You’ll finish your side with a nice downhill par 5 and an opportunity for birdie as you approach into a huge shared green with the Creeks closing hole.

Another good tip to remember when playing at the Hill Country Golf Club is to definitely keep the ball below the hole on your approach shots. Downhill putts aren’t much fun and you’ll find three-putts the norm if you aren’t below the hole. That’s probably true on most any course but it feels even more pronounced in the Texas Hill Country.

In 2005, the resort reconfigured its original 18-hole course to accommodate a new 9-hole course to bring the facility to a 27-hole track. Many of the new holes are found on the 3429-yard Creeks Course. This nine has some great character and an opportunity to score on the opening two holes before being challenged with one of the toughest par-3 holes on the golf course, the 222-yard third. Par is an excellent score on this demanding hole.

You’ll then face the ‘creeks’ in the Creeks Course beginning with the beautiful par-5 fourth, a true three-shot route to the green at 538 yards and water protecting the green. The difficult seventh earns the number one handicap on the side and with good reason. A creek runs along the left and in front of the green on this dogleg left. You’ll finish up with a tempting downhill par-5 and an opportunity to hit a big drive off of a high-plateau tee. Water and bunkers protect the massive green but you may have the green light to swing away on your approach if you keep it left.

The Lakes Course is the longest of the trio, checking in at just over 3500 yards from the back tees. You’ll face your first stern test on the long par-4 third. Keep your tee shot left to have an angle at the tough green protected by sand on the left and a lake long and right. You’ll have fun on the short par-4 fifth, where your best bet is a long iron or hybrid off the tee to the right side of the fairway leaving you a wedge over a creek to a severely sloped green.

After the easy fifth, you’ll face four demanding finishing holes. The sixth is the first of two tough par-5 holes on the Lakes side. The tee shot has a dangerous lake on the left and a dry creek bed that twists from the left of the fairway and then right through it. Your second is to a narrow landing area before you’ll approach the well-protected green with water on the right. After a demanding par-4 seventh, you’ll tee it up against tall trees on the par-5 eighth, a 560-yard sweeping dogleg left. Stay right off the tee or you’ll struggle to the green.

You’ll enjoy the amenities and facilities at the golf club, including GPS systems in the golf carts offering exacting yardages and handy tips. Prior to your round, you can make yourself comfortable in the locker room facilities before warming up on the fantastic practice facility with a wonderful chipping green, large putting green, and expansive driving range.

It’s easy to work up an appetite during a round and you should check out the fine food and setting in the clubhouse overlooking the courses after you post your score. The Cactus Oak Tavern serves typical yet tasty American cuisine, including burgers, salads, and sandwiches in a casual setting with televisions and a pool table. Take some time to visit the pro shop for great selection of resort golf apparel and equipment.

While golf might be the primary reason for your visit to the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, you should consider the reason why the resort chose to put the word “Spa” in their name. The answer lies in the extraordinary Windflower Hill Country Spa. Located across the resort from the golf facilities, the tranquil spa is a throwback to the late 1800s and early 20th century, including a conventional red barn. The “Tee Time” package is perfect for the golfer after a day in the hot Texas sun, consisting of the Golfer’s Massage and a rejuvenating mini-facial and pedicure.

The spa is reserved for the adults of the family, but don’t think for a second that there isn’t plenty to do for the entire family. The resort truly does have something for everyone to keep as busy or relaxed as they wish. You’ll be able to bicycle around the nature trails (bike and helmet rentals are available) or jog around the clearly marked trails. Since the hotel is a certified Audubon sanctuary, you’ll have the chance to see some of the 100 species of birds that call this place home. Let the kids play on the playground complete with slides, swings, tetherball, and volleyball set.

But perhaps the most fun will be had at the centrally located four-acre water park. Float on an inner tube along the 950-foot Ramblin’ River or play in the sand at the man-made beach. For some fun in the water, you can play water volleyball in the free form activity pool. For the adults, there’s an adult-only Texas shaped pool with waterfall or an adult-only hot tub in its own private grotto.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort- Like many of the resorts in the Hyatt family, the kids programs are second to none. Camp Hyatt is an award-winning children’s program that takes great care of your kids aged 3 to 12 while you head for the links or the spa. In the Texas spirit, the camp has supervised activities such as hunting for arrowheads, learning how to read the stars or indoor crafts. You can also give your youngsters a taste of the relaxation experience at the SPAhhhT Youth Spa, with facials, massage, body treatments, and nail services for the under-17 set. Teenagers will also appreciate the Underground Teen Space, a hangout spot to check e-mail, play video games, and slurp up a smoothie.

With so much going on outside, it’s no surprise that classic Hill Country accommodations are outstanding. The hotel’s Town Square is at the heart of the resort and is home to a century-old Live Oak tree. You can sit on shady Aunt Mary’s Porch in the morning while planning the activities of the day. Inside, the grand lobby tastefully balances the elegance of a world-class resort with the liveliness of a family vacation spot. The 500 guestrooms surround scenic courtyards and a peaceful serenity when night falls.

Of course, a world-class resort wouldn’t be complete without outstanding dining and The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort does not disappoint. If you’re in the mood for a good cup ‘o Joe, head over the Hill Country Coffee & Creamery. Enjoy pastries and juice in the comfy lounge chairs with Wi-Fi service. For something a little more hearty mosey on over to the Springhouse Cafe, serving a buffet breakfast. For lunch, there are scrumptious sandwiches, soups, and salads, while for dinner you’ll enjoy juicy steaks, perfectly prepared pasta and seafood. The Antlers Lounge is the Hill Country Hyatt’s signature restaurant, named for the chandelier made from 500 pairs of antlers (all naturally shed). Serving traditional Texan cuisine, you’ll enjoy some Bison Tenderloin while sitting near a welcoming fireplace and tables set for your privacy.

If you’re looking for something to do outside the resort, you’ll have plenty of choices including the 33-acre San Antonio Botanical Gardens with a special rose, sacred, and authentic Japanese garden. The San Antonio Zoological Garden and Aquarium is home to over 750 species, including kangaroo, rhino, and leopards. Go and visit Shamu, the Clydesdales, penguins, and dolphins at SeaWorld. For some great rollercoaster action, head on over to Six Flags Fiesta Texas where you’ll get quite an adrenaline rush from the rides known as The Rattler, Superman Krypton, and Poltergeist.

Guests are be able to pre-arrange all their activities before even leaving the house with Hyatt’s E-concierge program. From the comforts of your computer log onto http://www.hyatte-concierge.com, and you’ll be able to make dining and recreational reservations, as well as tee times, transportation, and more. For extra customer service, the Hill Country Hyatt participates in the Babies Travel Lite Program (www.babiestravellite.com). You’ll have all of baby’s needs delivered right to your hotel, from formula to diapers, and everything in between, making this a truly family-friendly resort.

The award winning Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa is the most welcoming of resorts, making you feel right at home in the most luxurious of settings. So, pack your bags along with your Stetson and head on over to the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa.

For golf information, please visit the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa website and check the Hill Country Golf Club website for special offers.

Escape the Cold of Winter by Visiting Phoenix, “The City of the Sun”

Phoenix is a unique city in the middle of the great Sonoran Desert that dates back to early Native American civilizations. Today, being the fifth largest city in the United States and the capital of the state of Arizona, the city has become a popular tourist destination that offers visitors world famous sites like Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Art Museum, Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, Heard Museum and Desert Botanical Garden. Due to its hot weather tourists flock to Phoenix mostly in the winter when the temperature remains around 65 degree Fahrenheit.

The early economy of Phoenix was basically agricultural but with rapid urbanization and development it has prospered in different types of industries that generate thousands of jobs throughout the year. Arizona University has helped provide more job opportunities for research professionals with its growing development of research capabilities. There are also seven Fortune 1000 companies that have branches in Arizona, including Intel Corporation.

Phoenix is a bustling city with lot of new people coming in, and if you are thinking about relocation, Phoenix might be a good option for you. Real estate in Phoenix and that of the surrounding cities in Arizona are inexpensive and are a real deal if you can stand the hot climate that is characteristic of a desert region. In Phoenix homes are very affordable, many available at $100,000 or less. Condominiums and apartments are also being sold at one third of the rate of other booming cities in the United States. To find a home suitable for your needs as well as the needs of your family, lets discuss the neighborhoods of Phoenix a little.

Downtown- the heart of the city and home of some historic neighborhoods. These days, some areas like Willo and Encanto-Palmcroft districts are high in demand among Realtors and real estate in Phoenix is really on a roll in these areas.

F.Q. Story Historic District- this is one of the areas which many Phoenix real estate agents favor. Home to many historic buildings and architecture, F.Q. Story Historic District is one of the best known places in the city.

Maryvale- if you are looking for Phoenix homes for sale at reasonable rates; this is the place for you. Once crimes were frequent in this area, but these days, the government has done a brilliant job cutting it down.

Glendale- A suburb area which is coming into the limelight real fast due to its fast developments. Home to celebrities like Jordin Sparks, David Hernandez, Stephenie Meyer, Eric Bischoff and V. L. Carter; Glendale can be the perfect setting for your Phoenix home.

South Phoenix- also called South Mountain District or SoMo, South Phoenix is one of the most important areas of the city. A number of homes for sale in Phoenix are available in this area. South Phoenix is one of the most populous regions of the city.

Ahwatukee- this L shaped residential area of town is known as one of the bustling parts of Phoenix. Really well connected with the rest of the city, a variety of Phoenix homes are available in this neighborhood.

Phoenix boasts one of the best educational systems in the United States. It’s divided into 30 school districts with the Phoenix Union High School Districts operating most of the public schools in the area. There are also many private and charter schools like North Pointe in Phoenix. The main seat of higher education is the University of Arizona with 4 different campuses across the country, it supports a medical Unit with 2 campuses. Apart from this, Grand Canyon University, Thunderbird School of Global management, Western Governors University, University of Phoenix the country’s largest open University with branches all over America and even in Mexico, Canada and Netherlands, and the University of Advancing Technology, have given Phoenix a dignified position of educational excellence in the United States.

Described as the “Valley of the Sun” this city packs quite a punch for travelers as it represents somehow a hybrid version of Los Angeles and Las Vegas. With a population of more than a million people in the city and over two million in the metropolitan area, Phoenix is one of the fastest growing cities of US. Phoenix was built with the concept of being a great tourist destination and has several restaurants offering delicious cuisines from around the world right in the heart of the desert. Carolina’s Mexican Food, Pizzeria Bianco, Tutti Santi, Old Spaghetti Factory, China Chilli, Fazitas, Farm at South Mountain, Alexis Grill, and Durant’s are highly recommended. Try them out for some lip smacking true Chinese, Mexican and Italian cuisine.

Apart from Heard’s museum and Taliesin West, Phoenix also boasts the famous resort called the Sun City that draws tourists from across the world. During the winter, people in cold northern climates visit Phoenix to warm up their bones at the resorts and spas and soak in the sun. They also enjoy being able to participate in outdoor activities like swimming, hiking and golf, that winter cold prevents them from doing. Some of the most famous hotels and spas include Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, JW Marriott Desert resort, Pointe Hilton Peak resort, Embassy Suites phoenix, The Ridge Carlton Phoenix, Arizona Grand Resort, Legacy golf resort, Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliff Resort, and Hyatt regency Phoenix. Almost all of the resort offer massage centers and spas. They also provide services for desert tours, local sightseeing, and chauffeur car services to help you enjoy and get the most our of your vacation.

Options – Your Corporate Retreat in a Luxury Condominium Resort – Golf, Water, Spa

As a hotelier, this article will be a little different from most that I write. Today, I will be discussing the option of planning your corporate retreat in a luxury condominium resort.

Having spent over thirty years in hotels, I normally think of conventions and meetings being held in hotels or large convention halls for City Wide Conventions where housing is at the surrounding hotels.

However, I recently wrote about having a very small corporate retreat in a cabin, in the mountains. For extremely small groups, cabins works fine.

But, let us talk today about a corporate retreat for small to mid size groups, from ten to one hundred and discuss anther option. What I am talking about is a facility to not only conduct meetings, but to relax and enjoy.

Recently I had the opportunity to stay at the RiverStone Resort & Spa in the Mountains of East Tennessee. To quote them, “Are you more business than pleasure?” “Or are you more pleasure than business?” They are a luxury condominium resort in a majestic Smokey Mountain setting.

But, what makes them different from a regular convention facility?

First, and foremost are the one hundred twenty five luxury condominiums they offer instead of hotel rooms. Each one has spacious interiors and customized details. Offered are one bedroom to four bedroom units that all have a nine foot and/or volume ceilings. Each unit has granite counter tops in the kitchen area, a large flat screen TV in each living area and an outside balcony overlooking the river on one side or a premier golf course on the other.

What fascinated me was the ability to take your family along with you and have a common area to eat, watch TV and socialize. This works even better than a hotel suite, because you have a complete kitchen with a nice dining table. Granted, you can eat out if you want, but I always like the option of a few items from the refrigerator.

Second, it has a first class spa right in the facility. Enjoy it by yourself or have a “Couples” massage. Body treatments, natural nail services and facials are also available, to mention just a few.

Third, enjoy the water. RiverStone Resort & Spa has a large glassed in pool for those so inclined, but outdoors they offer a 300 foot heated lazy river. Just hop in one of their inner tubes, float around and relax. My wife and I spent almost an hour enjoying the lazy river relaxing and letting all of our cares float away. We will do this again.

Fourth, golf is available for the avid outdoorsman. With one of the premier public golf courses right next door, you have the option of playing by yourself or setting up a tournament. You may be lucky enough to get one of the balconies overlooking the 7th fairway of the Gatlinburg Golf Course where you can relax and watch them play several holes.

Fifth, unique places are nearby. Dollywood Theme Park is less than a mile and a half away, right on the same street. Pigeon Forge also offers endless shopping, craft shops and musical showcase theaters within walking distance.

Sixth, first class meeting facilities are available for up to 150 classroom style along with wonderful inside and outside areas for wedding receptions. One balcony overlooks the Pigeon Forge River and is a perfect setting for receptions, breaks and lunches. Additionally available is a spacious workout room with multiple equipment options, plus a game room for all that includes a pool table and an air hockey table.

Finally, perfect balance. “Simply, it’s all about achieving a perfect balance of relaxation and wellness, and creating the ultimate escape” as stated by the RiverStone Resort & Spa. To me, it is a facility to not only conduct meetings, but to relax and enjoy. Take your family along, relax in luxury condominiums, enjoy the lazy river, golf, shopping, musical theaters and maybe spend a few minutes in a business meeting. Can you think of better way to have a Corporate Retreat? So, think different and deviate from your norm. You will enjoy it!