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Can you hear that? It's the sound of Valentine's Day, approaching fast and without mercy upon couples who forgot to plan something for the most romantic holiday of the year. Don't fret y'all: Alamo City is bursting with romance, and we've got you covered with the best staycation spots for Valentine's Day in San Antonio.

Eilan Hotel and Spa
Who says you need to book an expensive trip to Tuscany to prove your love when the Eilan Hotel is right here in town? The beautiful 100-acre property has romantic views, a relaxing spa (a couple's massage is a must), a locally-sourced menu at the in-house restaurant Sustenio (and yes, they have a Valentine's Day prix-fixe menu), a 12,000 square foot fitness center, the elegant Blu resort pool, and more. Book a room here, and/or reserve a spot at Sustenio for a Valentine's Day dinner here.

Hotel Contessa
No need to bring a bag of rose petals to scatter in your room at the Hotel Contessa – it's already included in the hotel's special Valentine's Day package, which also features a bottle of prosecco, strawberry champagne truffles, complimentary valet, and of course, premiere accommodations for you and a special guest. Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails, the hotel's in-house restaurant, will also be offering Valentine's Day dining specials all weekend, in addition to a special, five-course Valentine's Day dinner on the actual holiday. Violinist Erin Rushforth will provide musical accompaniment for an extra romantic atmosphere. Book the Valentine's Day package here and reserve your spot at Ambler here.

Hotel Emma
No list of romantic San Antonio staycations would be complete without a mention of the XO, XO Emma package at the Hotel Emma at the Pearl. Make sure you act fast, because the special romantic deal only lasts until February 28. Included in the package are a plate of Cabot cheddar cheese, crackers and dried apricots, marinated olives, a bottle of fine Malbec, and chef Sofia Tejeda's chocolate truffles. These are all in addition to the usual complimentary Hotel Emma welcome treats like their iconic La Babia margarita. If you do manage to snag a coveted Valentine's Day reservation, make sure to enjoy the one-day only special Valentine's Day menu at Supper, which includes courses like fresh swell oysters, seared duck breast, mezzaluna ravioli, ribeye, and more. Book the XO, XO Emma package here and reserve a spot at Supper here.

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
The courtyard alone at the Hotel Valencia will make your special someone feel like they stepped into a romance novel. Book the Te Amo package, which includes accommodations for two (luxurious accommodations, obviously), a bottle of champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary valet parking for one car. Make dining a whole lot easier by booking a Valentine's Day dinner reservation at the Hotel Valencia's in-house restaurant Dorrego's. The five-course meal includes options like filet mignon, poached sea bass, and more. Reserve your Te Amo package here and book a reservation at Dorrego's here.

Omni La Mansión del Rio
Located within walking distance of the Majestic Theatre, the Omni La Mansión del Rio has the perfect, romantic staycation package for you and your partner — particularly if you're looking for a staycation spot downtown after a night at the theater. The Omni offers a package called the Romance Offer, which includes accommodations for two (convenient, right?), a bottle of sparkling wine with artisanal chocolates, a late check-out, and a pre-call with a concierge who will be happy to assist you with any romantic requests. Don't forget to try the Valentine's Day dinner at Four Brothers, the hotel's in-house restaurant, which will include courses like a filet and seared scallops duo, dark chocolate mousse cake and more. Take advantage of the Romance Offer here, and reserve a spot at Four Brothers here.

The St. Anthony
Here's to hoping your love will last as long as the St. Anthony (seriously, the hotel has been around since the early 1900s!). Snap some pics in the elegant St. Anthony lobby, and grab a cocktail or two from Haunt or the St. Anthony Club, the hotel's two in-house bars. Make sure to save some room for fresh seafood at Rebelle, the St. Anthony's premiere in-house restaurant helmed by Chef Stefan Bowers. Maybe steal a kiss or two on the rooftop of the romantic hotel, a perfect place to watch the sun set with your significant other by your side. Book a room here.

Thompson San Antonio — Riverwalk
Treat your SO to the Cabana Cuddle package at the Thompson San Antonio, then opt to stay in one of their luxurious rooms for the night. The Cabana Cuddle package includes an 80-minute massage for two, followed by a lunch or dinner in one of the Thompson's Cenote Cabanas (you get a cabana for two hours), and a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your love. The Cabana Cuddle package costs $710. Still hungry? Find more Valentine's Day specials at the hotel's other in-house dining options, Landrace or the Moon's Daughters. You can book your spot on the hotel's website, or skip the cuddles in the cabana and just reserve a room here.

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San Antonio rent prices increased 7 percent from 2022, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio rent prices increased 7 percent from 2022, report finds. Despite rent increases showing small improvements month-over-month, overall prices in the San Antonio area are still on the high side from the previous year.

2. Popular San Antonio doggy daycare opens new location in Alamo Ranch. The award-winning Dogtopia has gained so much love from the local community thanks to its thoughtful design approach and programming.

3. Bask in local artistry with the inaugural San Marcos Studio Tour in April. The inaugural, self-guided San Marcos Studio Tour will feature more than 50 artists all across San Marcos and the surrounding area.

4. Own a piece of Utopia with this Hill Country riverfront retreat listed for $2.5M. This secluded, tree-filled, riverfront estate boasts nine guest cabins and "the Fortress," a historic lodge that can sleep 12 guests.

5. Blockbuster Western art exhibition and sale stampedes into San Antonio. The Briscoe Western Art Museum's annual Night of Artists Exhibition and Sale returns to San Antonio March 24 through 25.

These 6 San Antonio brunch spots are worth a return visit (or two)

brunch hunches

Anyone who says magic doesn't exist clearly hasn't snagged a coveted reservation at the Box Street Social for brunch. It's one of the local spots that nails that sacred ritual, brunch with the besties: a magical experience where Monday doesn't exist and stress is forbidden.

Here are some of our top local brunch spots that'll leave both your appetite and your soul satiated (even when Monday actually hits.)

Box St. All Day
Not only does Box St. All Day look like the dreams that Instagram reels are made of, it's got a high quality menu to match, courtesy of chef and co-owner Edward Garcia III. The all-day brunch restaurant (at 623 Hemisfair Blvd, Ste 108) offers hearty options like strawberry cheesecake French toast, steak-eggs and frites (the fries alone are dangerously delicious), the Box St. Brekky sandwich made with house-made bread, and more. Pair your meal with one of its cute coffees, cocktails, or zero-proof cocktails, and save room for plenty of pictures with your brunch buddies before you leave — the details in the decor have a sophisticated feminine flair, thanks to Box Street's innovative creative director Caroline Garcia-Bowman. Reserve on Toast.

Full Belly
Tucked away in its own cozy corner of the world in the Stone Oak/1604 area is Full Belly Cafe + Bar. Where else can you order a plate of pecan pie French toast while gazing at an incredible hand-painted mural of classic animated characters like Jessica Rabbit, Marvin Martian, Stewie Griffin and more brunching together? Executive chef James Moore also serves up plenty of savory brunch options if you don't have a sweet tooth, like the pork belly benny or a baked eggs and toast plate with roasted garlic and thyme cream. Reserve at fullbellysa.com.

Did you know that Chef Kirk of Ocho, Hotel Havana's in-house restaurant, is the only local chef to win an episode of Food Network's Chopped? Brunch at Ocho is also a photo-worthy experience, where brunch items like pan de platano (banana bread), plantain cakes con carnitas (plantain pancakes), and more are served up to guests with a side of San Antonio sunlight, given that Ocho is located in a beautiful (and air-conditioned!) glass conservatory. Reserve on Resy.

The Hayden
The Smoke Shack might be the best spot to get your brisket fix on Broadway, but The Hayden is the spot to be for brunch. You can't miss The Hayden's classic retro sign right in the center of The Boardwalk on Broadway. The interior lives up to the welcoming feel of a Jewish deli, complete with menu options from executive chef Bill Corbett like fried chicken and latke waffles, or a bagel and lox. And don't worry — if you're craving the comfort of pancakes, The Hayden's got you covered with The Hayden pancake stack, among other options. Reserve at buzztable.com.

Vegan Avenue on Main
Chef Griselda Muñoz's entirely vegan menu will make believers even out of the most dedicated meat eaters. The cinnamon roll "bettermilk" pancakes have to be tasted to be believed. (Yes, even the sweet cream in the pancake is dairy free!) If you're missing a classic breakfast sandwich but trying to stay meat-free, try Vegan Avenue's "Honee-Butter Chick'n sandwich" with vegan eggs and crispy, fried plant-based chicken. If you're not near Vegan Avenue but craving its vegan breakfast tacos, you can also get your fix at Vegan Avenue's sister restaurant on TPC Parkway, Plantology. Reserve at squareup.com.

One of the best hair-of-the-dog cocktails in town is Barbaro's delicious Garibaldi, a simple concoction of Campari and orange juice, but you can't go wrong with the "Keep It Coming" Bloody Mary bar and Mimosas: For $15, you can alternate between the two until you've had your fill. Soak up Saturday night with eggs Barbaro (two poached eggs on homemade focaccia, Benton's country ham, hollandaise, and spinach) or dive into a skillet pancake (whipped lemon ricotta and seasonal berries, plus extra fine bacon, ricotta salata, and maple syrup).

The 8 best bars in San Antonio have the right mix


Though it's easy to quaff a decent cocktail almost anywhere in Texas, San Antonio's watering holes offer a little something special. Maybe it's the friendliness of the patrons trading rounds with complete strangers. Maybe it's the prescience of the bartenders who know hundreds of regulars' orders. That generosity of spirit is found at almost every spot in town.

But the best of the best mix in something extra — inventive flavor profiles, enveloping atmosphere, and an "it" factor that is hard to define. But we know it when we drink it — we've seen it in all the nominees CultureMap Tastemaker Award for Bar of the Year perhaps too many times.

So, we salute the unassuming dive bars, the swanky lounges, and happy hour haunts. Alamo City wouldn't be half as fun without them. Join us in raising a glass to our finalists below, then pop a cork as we name the winner at the Jack Guenther Pavilion at the Briscoe Museum on May 18. Buy tickets now before they sell out.

Amor Eterno
It's there in the name. This Southtown lounge delivers everlasting romance courtesy of velvet curtains, fuchsia lighting, and orchids languishing on the edge of coupes. The atmosphere gets a little steamier after a couple Bella Noche shots. Suddenly, disco thumps through the speakers, inamoratos file in, and the back booth becomes the most inviting spot in Alamo City.

Bar Loretta
At many upscale restaurants, the cocktail menu is an afterthought. List a serviceable Old Fashioned, add a martini, and call it a day. Not so at this endearing Southtown spot. Though guests can certainly swan with a Gatsby-era Mint Julep, the originals really bring the fireworks. A Lucinda Williams homage, Junebug vs. Hurricane, balances strawberries with Peychaud's bitters. Mariachi Static burns the house down with a dash (or three) of hot sauce.

George's Keep
The three-martini lunch may be a thing of the past, but still, the Éilan Hotel's resident bar knows how to get down to business. Leather banquettes and hunter-green wainscoting set the scene for some hard bargaining of what patrons will order next. Heady tipples like George's signature mix of VSOP Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon keep the deals flowing, even if they are just on Ameritrade.

Hotel Havana - Havana Bar and Ocho
This artfully designed downtown property knows a thing or two about chiaroscuro. The darkness comes from the dimly lit basement at Havana Bar, where peccadillos slink into the shadows. Blazing light illuminates Ocho upstairs, refracted through the turquoise accented panes of a glass conservatory. All revelers have to do is follow their mood.

La Ruina
In a tequila-obsessed town, this East Side hideaway has made a name by focusing on rum. Former Modernist owners Gerry Shirley and Olaf Harmel stir up a vacation's worth of concoctions, from tiki classics like Mai Tais to Brazilian bombshells like Caipirinhas. Steal the tropically wallpapered booth if you can get it. Rum was meant for languor.

Don't be surprised if you see the occasional cat slumbering at this louche East Side bar. Felines know a thing or two about posh surrounds. Guests will purr just as loudly over co-owner Benjamin Krick's sly barcraft. The back bar is an apothecary stocked with hard-to-find European spirits, cordials, and fortified wines — all used in some of the most unexpected cocktails in the city.

The Moon's Daughters
Perched atop the glittering Thompson Hotel, this rooftop lounge is usually recommended for the breathtaking downtown view. The interior offers just as much scenery. San Antonio's see-and-be-seen set sprawl on the luxe furniture, sipping CBD-infused cocktails and nibbling Mediterranean bites. The hospitality program isn't all just for show, of course, but it never hurts to gild the lily.

Three Star Bar
As much fun as it is to clink Baccarat, most days, we'd rather crush cans. For a weekday drink, it's hard to beat the wood-paneled slump of a neighborhood bar. This Grayson Street dive lets guests loosen their belts over craft beers and shots. The new ownership — Los Angeles-based Pouring With Heart — tinkered a bit with the drink menu but kept the meat and potatoes.

Amor Eterno San Antonio

Photo by TX Troublemaker

It's all about love at Amor Eterno