Road Trip

Check into these Texas hotels for a festive holiday getaway

Texas resorts and hotels are offering unique, festive experiences this holiday season.

Photo courtesy of Marriott

Texans may prefer a pickup to a one-horse open sleigh, but that won't stop any of us from dashing around the state this season. But instead of going to grandmother's house, consider checking into a fabulous hotel to make spirits bright. Not just any hotel, though. Here are places that stage Texas-worthy celebrations perfect for a holiday getaway.

Boardwalk Inn — Kemah

Kemah Boardwalk Inn

Photo courtesy of Boardwalk Inn

The Kemah Boardwalk provides a great spot to catch the area's Christmas Boat Parade, held Saturday, December 14, starting at 6:30 pm. Hundreds of brightly decorated power and sailboats float down the Clear Lake channel from South Shore Harbour Marina and Nassau Bay Lagoon to Galveston Bay. Stay at the Boardwalk Inn and also take in Jingle on the Boardwalk, December 7, 8, 14, 15, and 22. It includes shopping, a variety of live entertainment, activities, pictures with Santa, and more.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa — San Antonio

Photo courtesy of Marriott

At the ritzy JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, new activities for this year's holidays include Santa's Workshop with children's activities such as writing letters to Santa, making snow globes, and painting clay ornaments. Kids also can search for toy elves on the Elfie Selfie Scavenger Hunt. Other festivities include JW Elf tuck-ins, JW Elf Express train car making, certified JW Elf classes, a polar bear plunge challenge, a Sandy Snowman Building Contest every Saturday morning, and Sunday Brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus at 18 Oaks restaurant.

​Hilton Americas — Houston

Hilton Americas-Houston Christmas

Photo courtesy of Hilton Americas-Houston

The Hilton Americas lobby transforms into a lighted wonderland, complete with gingerbread walls spanning the lobby and a holiday chocolate display made from more than 2.5 tons and 6.5 million calories of chocolate. Have Breakfast with Santa on Saturday and Sunday mornings December 7 through 22 — photos and cookie decorating included. Just steps away, Discovery Green offers ice skatingevery day through February 2, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Saturdays now through Christmas, Santa Claus hits the ice from 5 to 6 pm. Also nearby in Hermann Square is the setting for a Gingerbread Build-Off competition on Saturday, December 7, from 10 am to 5 pm.

​Hilton Anatole — Dallas

Photo courtesy of Hilton

The Hilton Anatole transforms its outdoor area into Peppermint Park, a winter wonderland with train rides; light displays; photos with Santa; and a variety of activities from face painting to miniature golf, s'mores, and contests. Open 5 to 9 pm to all hotel guests. A Breakfast with Santa package available weekends from now through December 22 includes late check-out, breakfast for two adults and two children with Santa, complimentary entrance into Peppermint Park, and holiday movie night. VIP Experience weekends include a meet-and-greet reception with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a photo with Santa, cookies and refreshments, breakfast with Santa, entrance into Peppermint Park, holiday movie night, valet parking, and late check-out.

​Hotel Galvez & Spa — Galveston

Hotel Galvez Christmas

Photo courtesy of Hotel Galvez

Hotel Galvez & Spa kicked off the holiday season on the island with the Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration on Thanksgiving weekend. The fun continues with Sunday Brunch with Santa, each Sunday through December 22 and the Night Before Christmas Gingerbread Village on view in the Hotel Galvez lobby. The Downtown Lantern and Lights is also underway, and includes a timed laser light show illuminated on the American National Insurance Company building. Watch it from The Rooftop Bar at The Tremont House, and stop by the special Polar Express-themed gingerbread house on public display in the Tremont lobby.

Hotel Van Zandt — Austin

Hotel Van Zandt Christmas

Photo courtesy of Hotel Van Zandt, Instagram

An adult take on the holidays, Geraldine's restaurant on the fourth floor of this Rainey Street hotel stages a South Pole-style pop-up December 17 to 21 starting at 6 pm. It features a snow machine, igloo lounges on the pool deck, an artisan market, holiday-themed cocktails, appearance by Southern Santa, and Geraldine's annual Motown Christmas performance. Igloos, available by reservation for up to eight, are decked out in "TexMas" décor and complete with record players, board games, and more.

​Gaylord Texan — Grapevine

Photo courtesy of Marriott

Gaylord Texan resort creates a 125-acre winter wonderland including millions of twinkling lights; 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice for ICE! Featuring a Charlie Brown Christmas; a tubing hill made from 2 million pounds of snow; more than 200 Christmas trees, including one 54 feet tall; an outdoor ice-skating rink; and extravagant decorations including miniature train sets, 25-foot-tall Nutcrackers, wreaths, and more. Activities include breakfast with Charlie Brown, gingerbread decorating, and reading with Mrs. Claus. The over-21 crowd can chill out in the ice bar. Runs through January 5, 2020.

​Stagecoach Inn — Salado

Stagecoach Inn Christmas

Photo courtesy of Stagecoach Inn

Make Stagecoach Inn your home base for Salado's annual 12 Nights of Christmas Stroll December 6-8 and 13-15. The weekends feature live entertainment, a Nativity performance, and a lighted holiday parade along Main Street. Carolers and other special activities happen at the historic inn, which was extensively renovated in 2018. Stagecoach Inn guests enjoy complimentary mulled wine, hot toddies, or hot cocoa with marshmallows; and comfy Mexican blankets in each room; photos with the seasonal decor; and Santa's Workshop on December 15. Built in 1861 and once a stop on the Chisholm Trail, the Inn also houses the oldest restaurant in the Lone Star State, which serves a sumptuous Christmas dinner buffet.

​Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort — Boerne

Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort Christmas

Photo courtesy of Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort

Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort, owned by country music legend George Strait, gets gussied up Texas style and serves a Christmas Prime Rib Dinner on the big day. Enjoy outdoor activities such as paddling, hiking, and fishing, plus shopping in downtown Boerne and visits to the numerous area wineries.

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This story originally appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site, CultureMap.

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A new Texas-themed version of the Jeep Gladiator is on the way.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep has brought the Gladiator's off-road chops to the trails of the Lone Star State. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail is another of the the traditional of special edition vehicles for Texans who occupy the nation's largest truck market. It's the first time Jeep has offered a unique-to-Texas truck.

The new model builds on the Gladiator Sport S trim adding 17-inch Mid-Gloss Back Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch mud-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, standard side steps, and the Trailer Tow Group. The Gladiator Texas Trail has a unique hood and decals that feature the year 1836 in the graphic as a nod to the year of the Texas Declaration of Independence. It also wears a black hardtop, black leather seats embossed with the Texas Trail graphic and comes equipped with the Technology Group and Convenience Group packages.

2021 Jeep Gl The vehicle is ready to be fully accessorized to the buyer's wishes.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021 Jeep Gl

The Texas-themed model features the buyer's choice of Jeep's new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that's rated at 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 power plant, which achieves 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep has badged each of the models with Trail Rated status. To achieve this status, Jeep vehicles must pass extreme off-road capability challenges.

The Gladiator Texas Trail is available in 10 colors: black, white, Snazzberry, Granite Crystal, Sarge, Nacho, Hydro Blue, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, and Sting-Gray. Jeep recently introduced a Snazzberry-colored Wrangler.

Each Gladiator comes with the Jeep Wave customer service program, which includes three years of maintenance, 24/7 phone/online support, trip interruption/first-day loaner coverage, and VIP access to Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail has a starting MSRP of $40,435 (plus $1,495 destination) and is currently available at Texas dealers.

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The Bentley Residences will be located on Sunny Isles Beach.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Sunny Isles Beach already owns the distinction as being the home to the most Rolls-Royces at one residence, the Acqualina Resort & Residences On The Beach. Now, a strip of oceanfront land that's halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale will be home to a new luxury development designed to fit with the lifestyle of luxury Bentley vehicle owners.

The world's first Bentley-branded residences have been launched in partnership with Dezer Development. They've been designed by Sieger Suarez Architects, a firm that has the Porsche Design Tower (18555 Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach), Trump Grande, and Residences by Armani/Casa in its portfolio.

The tower will be built at 18401 Collins Avenue, the current site of the Days Hotel by Wyndham Thunderbird Beach Resort.

Bentley Residences will contain more than 200 luxury apartments. The building will stand 749 feet and reach over 60 stories high, the same number of floors as the Salesforce tower in San Francisco and Franklin Center in Chicago. It's being billed as the tallest residential tower on any U.S. beachfront.

The residences are built-to-suit domiciles that will include an in-unit multi-car garage as well as ocean and bay views via floor-to-ceiling windows from each apartment. Homes will also have a private balcony, pool, sauna and outdoor shower. Interior amenities will include a gym, spa, whisky bar and restaurant. There will also be communal gardens.

"The modern and progressive brand identity of Bentley Residences is at work in both the tower's interior and exterior spaces, rooted in authenticity, sustainability and innovation," said Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors. "We've partnered with Dezer to create a living experience that expresses the very philosophy of the Bentley brand and stays true to our vision of inspiring extraordinary journeys."

Architects have designed the tower to include uninterrupted views of the ocean and the waterways and feature sustainable materials throughout with a focus on wellness. The project is being designed in accordance with the Florida Green Building Council (FLGC) certification. Additionally, designers plan to use reduced coastal lighting to protect endangered sea turtles.

Construction of the residences will begin in early 2023. They are schedule for completion in 2026.

"Partnering with Bentley Motors, a true global luxury brand and being able to create another first in the Miami marketplace is an extraordinary opportunity," added Gil Dezer, President of Dezer Development. "With Bentley Motors, together we will create something inspiring, powerful and iconic – a true game-changer when it comes to luxury living."

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