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.

Visiting The Ffort Klub At Raichak

I never knew The River Ganges is so wide and beautiful here till I visited this place which I had never heard of before. After my visit I quote: If you are looking for solitude this is the place for you. It is right on the banks of this river and hence the name: “Raichak on Ganges.” It houses 4 resorts, 5 restaurants, a spa and a huge activity zone, 6-7 swimming pools, all encapsulated in its 100 acre stretch. Built in Anglo-Indian style, the Ffort Holiday Klub is a Dutch fort converted into a five-star property. We went there in September 2012. A two-hour drive from Kolkata warned us of the bad traffic snarls. But once we entered the resort the ambience and the property ingredients of the entire complex felt serene and tranquil. It refreshed body, mind and soul. You need to just synchronize your pace with the flow of the Ganges which looks sublime in its moods of rain and sunshine.

And, now is the time to take you to our lovely holiday experience. The first shot from my camera was of the majestic uninhibited drive on a 1.5 km driveway with imposing tall trees on either side that led to The Suites. We are always in awe when we share our holiday experiences with friends. This couple wanted to have a feel of one such holiday with us, so this time we booked a holiday in the East. My husband and I arrived there a day before our check-in date. Next day the four of us set out to a 55 km journey from here. For the people living in Kolkata, it is a place where all the big conferences and fashion shows were held. They had heard about the place but they knew nothing beyond that, and hence they wondered how a week at one place would be like? Their trepidation was to the extent that they advised us if they did not like the place they would cut short their trip. (Wait, what they said in the end!) For a moment, their wavered thoughts clouded my mind though we were sure that a lovely holiday awaited us. With our car trunk full of bags we left around 2.30pm.

Day 1: A board with the resort’s name and an entry arrow to the resort brought the first glow on our faces. It was 4.45pm. I had the first welcome note when I heard a gurgling sound of running water just outside the corridor. What a therapeutic effect! As we entered apartment the furniture came alive and said a non-verbal hello. Soon we got settled and with our huge stock of ready-made snacks we all enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. The dinner at the restaurant was a huge satisfaction. The decor was warm and staff was friendly. After-mint was so tasty, that I had my palm full! It was a weekday so the guest number was thin.

Day 2: There was no hurry to leave the bed. However, you cannot sleep till late when you are in the East India. I woke up at 5.30am and headed for a walk. No sooner did I take a few steps away from my apartment, I heard the cooing of birds. I cooed in return. And, that was fun! It was a joyous sight to see the volume of the rejoinder rise with every successive mimic. I got myself familiar with surroundings. The resort is huge with lovely in-roads and greenery in plenty. We walked down a straight road and believe me the bungalows and apartments on either side were so inviting that I gave a hell of a time to my cervical spine turning left to right, and right to left. Wish I had a chameleon’s vision!

I cannot do without my laptop and internet connection. Even on a holiday I need it. Besides the daily picture upload, I do not allow my passion of journal writing part with me. Reliance mobile modem connectivity was not so efficient, so while in the apartment we just chatted, played cards and watched my friend paint. Post breakfast, we requested for a golf cart to take us around the vast spreading resort for it could not have been easy for our happy feet. The cart glided noiselessly through the property.

Nestled in the greenery and natural habitat, our first destination was Ganga Kutir. This resort left me in trance. The virgin natural beauty of the place just on the banks of the river, with dominating presence of mangrove vegetation. Armed myself with camera I got myself photographed sitting between its infinity pool and the river. I gazed at the river rolling by and silently murmured a nature poem. I also had fun watching two ducklings floating graciously on the pond. A cow shed was a rare treat for the urban eyes. I wanted to go close but the wet grass refused to take me there.

Ganga Sundarawasalais was another beauty packed pocket of cottages. An amazing assemblage of pool cottages where you just open your apartment door and take a plunge! Phew! Isn’t it worth being there? What an experience! O My! I just kept imagining a cool lap in that serene pool.

A yet another collection of theme based country homes in its premises were GangaAwas amidst green surroundings. Imagine a private pool with every apartment. Want to buy? You decide, while I count how many pools are there on the upper terrace. I counted three here and seven pools in the entire resort, all beautifully done. These upper terrace pools overlooked the Ganges and clearly defined the concept of infinity pools. All along the pools a vast area was laid out for dining. We stopped for lunch at one of its restaurants.

The beauty of this restaurant was such that you have to go there to believe me. Sitting in the restaurant I almost felt I was being part of The Ganges. There was a constant flow of slow-moving cargo ships and you have the waves joining in. Coupled with it were lush gardens and the happy smiles of the staff who served sumptuous food. It was ecstatic to find a blend of nature and artificial beauty. The chilled beer was another shot in the arm. The day rolled into a quiet evening. We rested for a while in our room, watched TV. The mock-tails and cocktails with sumptuous fish were like icing on the cake. I was as happy as a clam.

Day 3: The portable modem did not work well. So, they complied with my request and the service staff shifted us to another apartment. Since it was our second ‘home’ in the same resort there was a new vigor and cheerfulness. I organized my things. The 3rd day flew with wings. With playing cards and room service menu card by our side and chicken snacks to go over a glass of chilled beer, I felt like a ‘yummy mummy.’

Day 4: This place acts as a link between the metro city, Kolkata and Haldia which is a commercial town on the other side of the river. It is a major trade port for the metro intended mainly for bulk cargoes. The ferry point is 1.5 km from the resort. We took our car, parked it near the jetty point and got us into the launch. The resort’s Ferry boat was under maintenance so we took the one which was the life line of locals there. In 20 minutes with a breeze on our faces, we cruised at 30 mph and reached Haldia. We hired a cab for Rs. 1200/- that picked us from the jetty point, took us to 27 mph long drive up to the port and left us back in the evening at the same point. It was fun to witness the hide and seek of rain God. By the time we reached back we were dog tired and preferred skipping dinner and retired to a deep slumber.

Day 5: Even on the fifth day, there was still much left to explore. A collection of swimming pool area, the vast gym capsule, lounge area, and a fun zone coupled with the massive floor chess at the entrance was good fun. An orient restaurant on the pool side served sinful Chinese, and a souvenir shop with good visual merchandise had besides books, a rich assemblage of apparel, hand crafted curios, and wall paintings from Bengal and North East. Having played indoor games, we ended the day with another dinner. What one marvels in the beauty of this resort was its landscaped greenery against the backdrop of the river. Constructed on an old fort theme, it houses a well laid out museum. This entire structure has 130 year old narrow bricks which are typical of historic forts giving it the look of a beautiful 18th century fort. The spa bore a perfect image for my camera lens. Overhead bells at the gate and the wonder creation in a water bowl with floral motives bunched into an intricate pattern was something I admired. The creator definitely deserved an award for this. However, the services at the spa were a trifle pricey.

Day 6: We luxuriated for five days, it was the day devoted to the last-minute photo session around ‘The Suites.’ My camera was constantly in action since the scenic beauty was so vast that it wanted to click almost every ten steps of the area! I marveled the greenery of different foliage and stopped by to appreciate the various sculptures interspersed around the pocket gardens. This day we had also driven past Diamond Harbor. The Ganges is very wide here for the picnickers delight to watch river at its most serene with vastness. You could see as far as your eyes could go. However, the ice-cream on the road tasted like mud. As we drove further into interior villages, we saw a long stretch of ponds all along the two sides of narrow lanes which is a very familiar sight in suburbs. Greens seemed to have just bathed in the rain. We took glimpses of villagers getting ahead with their daily lives. While someone was weaving, another could be seen sifting wheat, and the third carrying a child on the waist. A four-wheeler was an alien to kids.

Day 7: It was time to say good-bye. We felt a sense of pleasant pain of parting with resort’s grandeur, the lush gardens and the charming hospitality. Even after a gap of four months these are still vivid in my mind. I stitched together my wonderful memories, and tried to paint the account on this canvas with a hope that just like our friends who await to holiday here with their American kids, you too would book a holiday here. And, if you still ask how I rated this resort, I would say you were joking.

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.