The Thompson Hotel San Antonio

Remember when we were complaining about the endless rain? Mourn the loss of cool weather and beat the heat (in style) at these local pools. Several of these offer day passes, and thanks to Resort Pass, you can book a day trip to a cool pool without having to pay for a hotel stay.

Hotel Emma's rooftop pool
Named the best luxury hotel in the country thanks to the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2023, the Hotel Emma's pool is an obvious choice for this list. Sadly, you can't get a Resort Pass to the Hotel Emma pool at the moment, but hey, you're really not losing out by booking a staycation at the historic Pearl Brewery hotel anyway!

And don't fret if you find yourself starving during your poolside adventure at the Hotel Emma — they've got poolside provisions for guests, including snack and cocktails housed in a 1960s-era Pearl beer delivery truck.

The Cenote pool deck at the Thompson Hotel San Antonio
Slap on your strongest sunscreen before heading to the Thompson Hotel San Antonio's Cenote pool deck on the hotel's 4th floor — you're going to be lounging poolside for a while. In addition to the picturesque pool being an Instagram content creator's paradise, the Thompson Hotel pool also includes cabanas (which you have to book ahead of time), an alfresco pool bar (where you can order anything from a charcuterie board to a veggie panini), and of course, cocktails to sip poolside.

The pool at the Eilan Hotel
Any visit to the Elian Hotel & Spa near La Cantera feels like a getaway to Italy without the need to pull out your passport. A nice bonus about the Eilan pool experience is the fact that the hotel has an indoor and an outdoor pool, plus a hot tub.

If you're looking to snap a picture or two of your time at the Eilan pool, then the outdoor pool is a must, given that you're surrounded by swaying palm trees and a perfect shot of the Eilan Hotel itself in the background. There's also food and drinks available from the Blu Pool Bar.

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa
If you can't get enough of the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa's epic murder mystery dinners, book yourself a day pass to the resort's epic onsite water park: That's right, in addition to a pool, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa has a lazy river, a waterslide, and more.

So if you're looking for a good family-friendly option for a pool day, look no further than the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa.

The St. Anthony Hotel pool
From a cursory glance, it would be understandable to assume that the historic St. Anthony may not have many modern amenities. We are happy to confirm that this is far from the case. You can also book a daycation via Resort Pass for the St. Anthony Hotel's pool, which is located on the hotel's rooftop. And bonus, it's a heated infinity pool.

Make sure to order a St. Anthony Breeze cocktail (a blend of Tito's vodka, cranberry and pineapple juice) and a plate of nachos or a burger from the cabana bar before you leave (just don't forget to wait half an hour before swimming again!)

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San Antonio International Airport clears runway for 1st nonstop flight to Europe, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor's note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From international flights to local delights, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio International Airport clears runway for 1st nonstop flight to Europe. Passengers can now book tickets for flights from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to Germany's Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

2. Hot San Antonio hotel brings back popular live fire dinner series for fall. Executive chef Michael Collins will keep grilling on the patio at Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails.

3. New honky-tonk surprisingly two-steps into St. Paul's Square. When Steve Mahoney first relaunched Francis Bogside and Anne’s, rumors circulated on how he would use the expansive upstairs space.

4. Nola breaks new ground and a Hill Country eatery heads to City Hall in San Antonio food news. This week's food news saw the expansion of a popular brunch spot, cookbook and website features, and more.

5. Here are the top 7 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. There's much to do this weekend, including beer festivals and a great standup set.

Hugely popular San Antonio restaurant Ladino celebrates first anniversary with Mediterranean party

Luck be Ladino

Although Ladino has only been a Pearl gem for one year, the mediterranean hotspot already feels like a San Antonio staple.

Helmed by executive chef Berty Richter and Emmer Hospitality, Ladino is slated to celebrate its first anniversary this Sunday with a festive party celebrating the restaurant's success as well as its future. Guests will enjoy a welcome beverage (and more cocktails for purchase), plus unlimited grilled meats, pita sandwiches, and other bites. DJ Zain will keep the energy up, while guests play yard games and kids get their faces painted.

Chef Richter tells CultureMap, '"In the world of restaurants and hospitality, we always strive to progress, keep learning, and improving."

When Ladino opened last September, it represented a promising branching out from its Austin-branched hospitality group parent, which had prior (and has since) earned acclaim from national publications for its cultural vibrancy — and deliciousness, of course.

In Ladino's case, the cultural touchstone is the Judeo-Spanish language of the same name that Chef Richter spoke growing up, which also included elements of Castellano, French, Italian, Greek, Turkish, and Hebrew. Richter's Turkish mother inspired many parts of the restaurant's popular Mediterranean menu.

Despite a strong point of view, the restaurant does have something for everyone, and is very accommodating to patrons with dietary restrictions. Signature staples include the sourdough-based pita bread (which comes unlimited with the hummus dip), kibbeh nayeh with Wagyu tartare, shishbarak (lamb and pork dumplings), and saffron chicken. The Wagyu Denver steak is a consistent standout, with a perfect crispy edge surrounding the medium rare middle.

Chef Richter plans to keep the menu generally the same for now, with the ongoing tradition of rotating some dishes out based on seasonal availability.

"We are excited to continue exploring the cuisines and cultures that Ladino represents, while strengthening our relationships with local farmers, growers, producers, and the communities of San Antonio," says Richter.

Now open seven days a week, Ladino offers a happy hour on weekdays from 5-6:30 pm. Deals include six dollars off of the hummus dip and pita, $5 off of Ladino's signature cocktails and wines by the glass, and deals on other plates like babaganoush, a spicy Feta plate, and more. The happy hour specials are only available at the upstairs bar, which is easily accessible catty-corner to the main Ladino entrance at the Pearl.

Tickets ($40, $15 for kids) to the anniversary celebration on October 1, from 4-8 pm, are still available via Eventbrite. Regular reservations and to-go orders may be made at ladinosatx.com.

Botanical Garden's Lightscape mesmerizes with new exhibits and discount tickets


Call it the grown-up version of posing with Santa Claus. Since its dazzling debut in 2021, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Lightscape has been the essential stop for holiday photoshoots. Planners are already working hard to ensure the annual tradition is more brilliant — and accessible — than ever.

Tickets are now on sale for the showstopping exhibition, running November 17 to January 1. The festivities will include familiar displays and brand-new illuminated works from global designers.

French creative studio Pitaya will return with a new installation, "Spark Ballet." The work features dozens of hanging lanterns glowing with firefly lights as a flickering guide around the lake. Visitors will also be treated to a pair of large-scale spectacles from UK outfit ArtAV, including an array of sparkling stars and a 40-foot-high LED tree.

Some of last year’s favorites will make an encore. The "Heart Arch Walk" allows guests to stroll under a tunnel of love while "Floraison" canopies explorers with brightly lit poppies. As always, the "Winter Cathedral" provides one last selfie spot.

The ever-popular "Bluebonnets" will also mesmerize sightseers, this time with an army of life-sized cowboy nutcrackers. The "Fire Garden" will have a new addition, too — the 25-foot dragon last seen in the blockbuster Imaginary Worlds: Once Upon a Time exhibition.

Peak date tickets cost $28 for adults and $18 for children, with VIP packages and member discounts available. For the first time ever, the garden also offers Value Nights on select dates in November and December. Revelers can score tickets as low as $18 for adults and $10 for kids online.

San Antonio Botanical Garden Lightscape

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Botanical Garden

The Pixel tree makes an ideal selfie stop.