Find Your Holiday Spirit at JW Marriott Locations across Texas

by Carolyn Koehn & Martin Ramirez on December 3, 2023 in Travels,

Tis the season to be merry! But sometimes the holiday grind can leave you in a less than festive mood. If the Christmas craze has you feeling frazzled, restore that jolly feeling by staying at one of the JW Marriott locations mentioned below. Take the family and be transported to a festive holiday wonderland or steal away by yourself for some retail therapy.


JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa offers fun for all ages at their Texas Hill Country Christmas…ice tubing, Mrs. Claus’ story time, secret Santa agent scavenger hunt, snow balls, cookie decorating, pictures with Santa, a Build a Bear workshop, holiday pop-ups, horse drawn carriage rides, and so much more.

Snow Factory at JW Marriott San Antonio. Photo Robert Leake.

Everyone is invited to this snowy playground!

You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy. Anyone can purchase tickets online. Tickets will range from $12.99 to $39.99 for different activities and also include two ticket bundle options for greater value…Silver includes three specific activities with a 20% discount while Gold offers a 30% discount and access to all five Hill Country Christmas events:  unlimited ice tubing on Snow Flow Mountain, Snowball Build & Blast, Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions, Gingerbread Decorating Corner, and Secret Santa Scavenger Hunt. The Holiday Pop-Up Shop is open to all and offers all things merry and bright – apparel, jewelry, home décor, toys, ornaments, and collectibles. Inside the resort, you can purchase Pictures with Santa. His library is magnificently decorated, and he shares his travel map over the fireplace.

Continued resort traditions include horse-drawn carriage rides around the resort property; a Polar Plunge; hot cocoa bar; gooey s’mores with festive toppings; and a Build-a-Bear Workshop

Singing Reindeer Animatronics at JW Marriott San Antonio. Courtesy photo.

There are also free activities. 

Stroll the property and enjoy the elegant décor.  No tickets are required to enjoy the evening’s Shine, a dazzling display of thousands of dancing lights synchronized to holiday music favorites. There are also visits from Santa’s live reindeer during the day and children can drop off their Letters to Santa in his own dedicated mailbox. (Did you know he often writes back?)  Find the singing reindeer and visit on your way to the outdoor Christmas tree.

Arctic Lodge at JW Marriott San Antonio. Courtesy photo.

Bring your appetite!

Beyond the resort’s normal restaurants, there are three holiday pop-ups. Among the Hill Country Christmas playground will be the brand-new Frost Haus and Cocoa Cabin. Frost Haus offers a full menu featuring a culinary selection of elevated nordic inspired winter favorites as well as a full bar offering several specialty cocktails and draft beers. Cocoa Cabin will appeal to a younger audience with offerings of hot cocoa, hot apple cider, as well as snacks and treats for children. The resort’s Rivertop restaurant is now The Arctic Lodge, a pop-up lounge with holiday cocktails and tasty treats. Grown-ups can enjoy festive adult beverages while kids sip hot cocoa and hot apple cider and enjoy Dippin’ Dots. 

Santa and JW Elf. Photo courtesy JW Marriott San Antonio.

Pro Tips

  • The Snow Flow Mountain ticket lets you enjoy unlimited ice tubing for a day. Let your kids enjoy all the ice tubing they want.  Consider this for an adult activity also. With multi-lanes, you can race the kids down to the bottom. The first lane (farthest from the entrance) is the fastest.
  • Except for Snow Flow Mountain, you will schedule all other events at the time of purchase. When making event reservations, book your gingerbread decorations at the end of your day to avoid gingerbread cargo for the remainder of your events.
  • Plan for milk and cookies at Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions. Also, this is a small group environment offering great seats for everyone. No one needs to get in line early to save seats unless you have to have the front row..
  • Layer up in cold weather. Two events are outside, two are inside, and one is both indoors and outdoors.  Restaurant pop-ups are also outdoors.
  • Book early! Although Hill Country Christmas experiences last through Dec 31, 2023, book as early as possible. Tickets are limited for many of the activities. Visit their website for tickets and additional information.


JW Marriott Houston by the Galleria

The JW Marriott Houston by the Galleria. Courtesy photo.

The JW Marriott Houston By The Galleria offers the best place to sleep where you shop. With a prime location within walking distance to The Galleria, a savory Latin Texas fusion cuisine from the soon-to-be award winning restaurant The Stray Horse, and excellent panoramic views of the Houston skyline, the JW Marriott Houston offers the best getaway for retail therapy and southern hospitality.

The newly reimagined lobby showcases elegant design while staying true to Texas spirit with dark leather tones and natural wood elements. Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Houston.

The Ultimate Hotel and Shopping Destination

The newly designed lobby in this uptown hotel is only a mere 10-minute walk from the Galleria, Houston’s premiere luxury shopping destination. Upon entry, the staff welcomes you like an old friend. They’re more than knowledgeable, combining their local insight with excitement to create the ultimate hotel experience in one of the nation’s largest cities.

Jump into the holiday season with the lobby’s holiday adorned lobby. Photo Martin Ramirez.

Take a moment to venture through the hotel’s holiday décor along with the reimagined lobby and restaurant bar, the Stray Horse. Elegantly designed with rustic notes of Texas charm, the hotel creates an ambiance of luxury and holiday cheer that invites guests to the bar for any of their seasonal crafted cocktails. Be sure to try their uniquely crafted Old Fashioned made with local Yellow Rose bourbon.

Rich and Wild Flavors at the Stray Horse

The newly implemented Stray Horse features a seasonal menu that highlights the regional flavors of Houston’s diversity. Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Houston.

If weaving through the crowded mall halls and enduring long lines that stretch from the counter to the entrance has you famished by dinner, the Stray Horse offers one of the best hotel dining experiences that highlights the unique locality of the Houston gastronomical scene. Inspired by a Texan-Latin fusion, Chef Jean Correa combines regional flavors and heritage along with freshly picked herbs from the micro-garden on site to create a one-of-a-kind menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For a satisfying finish to your evening, try the Rib Eye with Black Marrow Butter.

With stunning views and a spacious open concept design, there are more than enough reasons to sleep in late and order room service. Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Houston.

Retail. Rest. Repeat.

The JW Marriott Houston in room experience is the perfect escape from the holiday havoc. With only minutes between your bed and your favorite retail storefronts, the hotel’s rooms blends stylish comfortability with luxury to create the serenity you need to wind down.  The spacious two-story executive suite provides ample room for all your gifts and amazing urban views to enjoy with a bottle of wine or a cocktail from the bar.

Other options include a variety of fully renovated rooms with amazing Houston city views to indulge in. Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Houston.

Book your room here and see why the JW Marriott Houston was awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

From everyone at Texas Lifestyle Magazine, we wish you and your family a wondrous holiday season! Check out our reviews for other holiday events and gift guides for shopping ideas.


Cover photo courtesy JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa

Have passport…will travel. Motivated by her first international trip at twelve years old, Carolyn Koehn pursued a career that would take her around the globe. Following a global career as a finance executive, Carolyn leverages her Latin heritage, Southern upbringing, expat living, Texas residency, and world experience into her travel, lifestyle, and culinary writing.

Martin Ramirez is a brisket-eating, Shiner-loving, road-tripping enthusiast of all things Texas. This Dallas-born writer / adventurer is ready to take his ‘78 El Camino to find the best in food, fun, and fitness throughout the Lone Star State.