A towering complex with a central location on the busy part of the River Walk, this Hilton is steps away from many top restaurants and attractions. Ask for a balcony overlooking the river, and watch the barges and tourists go by. Noise at night can be a problem on some lower floors. It is across the street from the River Center Mall, the Alamo, and the Convention Center. As a large convention hotel, it doesn't have a lot of local flavor, but the service and amenities are
Sep 18, 2013
My spouse and I stayed at the Hilton San Antonio Palacio del Rio for 2 nights in early July 2013. The location of this hotel is excellent for visiting the Riverwalk (it is right ON it) and the Alamo (which is about 2 blocks away). As you are bound to hear from the commentary on the boats passing by, this hotel was built for the 1968 World's Fair in just 46 days, and the rooms were pre-assembled (including all the furnishings) and then placed by
crane. The hotel is mostly concrete, which they say is sound-proof. We can attest that it is not soundproof, because the weekend that we visited, 25,000 teenagers who were attending a religious conference at the convention center across the street, so some of them were staying at the hotel, and their running, jumping, and cavorting could be heard throughout the night from above, below, and the sides of our room. There is no direct/underground/covered access from the Hilton to the convention center, although it is just across the street. The hotel has several dining venues, three of which open onto the Riverwalk and provide outdoor seating next to the river where you can watch the boats and people go by. Durty Nelly's is an Irish Pub, which features peanut shells on the floor and sing-a-longs. (This venue is not available to patrons under 21 years of age after 7:00 pm at night, a fact which the hotel directory and website does not advertise.) Durty Nelly's allows smoking outdoors. The Rivers Edge Café serves breakfast (complimentary for HHonors Gold and Diamond members), lunch, and dinner, and offers seating both inside and outdoors adjacent to the Riverwalk (under a canopy). We ate breakfast there each morning, and were able to choose between the large buffet and made-to-order menu items. The hotel has a sports bar called Tex's Riverwalk, which features both indoor and outdoor seating (smoking is permitted outdoors, where the tables are arranged under a roof but open to the sides and adjacent to the RiverWalk. The Rincon Alegre lobby bar is the fourth dining/beverage option at this property. The outdoor pool is rather small, and is perched on the fifth floor rooftop. There are about 20 chairs, mostly of the lounge variety, plus a few regular chairs. A soft drink machine is on the terrace. A small table was set up to provide poolside service of simple drinks and snacks. Plenty of towels are available. There is also a Jacuzzi/hot tub, although it is not sunken into the ground and appears to be after-market. We do not recall seeing lifts for the handicapped. The fitness center is near the pool, and contains two rooms that each contain about 10+ machines and free weights. Also on the fifth floor is an outdoor event space. It would be great if the hotel could somehow connect the event space with the pool deck to provide more space, as well as undertake some cosmetic changes to make the pool area feel more luxurious. The hotel seems proud of its newest-technology elevators, whereby you enter your floor number at a keypad in the lobby (not in the elevators themselves), and are then directed to a specific elevator bank. There is no ability to press any buttons once you are inside the car. A bank of four elevators features this new system, however, there are two other elevators that run between the lobby and the RiverWalk area (-2) that use the old kind of elevator system. Parking is a little pricey - $39 per day for valet, and $27 per day for self-park. We could not quite figure out where the garage was, so we used valet because it seemed that it would be difficult to get around the city because of the river and the bridges. The valet service was efficient, as was the bell service. Our room was a fine size, and featured a balcony, as all rooms in this hotel do. There is a pull-open patio door on hinges between the bedroom and balcony, rather than a sliding glass door. The air-conditioning worked tremendously well, even though it was humid and hot (95-plus degree days). We had our room temperature set to 65 degrees, and it felt that icy! We were thrilled with the air-con system! The bathroom was pretty standard-issue. No robes or slippers were provided, nor was an evening turndown. Our room held a small glass-fronted refrigerator (dorm-cube size) that was (surprisingly!) empty, so we were able to fill it with our own drinks and snacks. (It was not too easy to find a market or package store nearby, though. We bought most of our items [including alcoholic beverages] at the CVS Pharmacy on the RiverWalk.) The number of towels (two 3-piece sets of washcloth, hand towel, and bath towel) was a little skimpy for our needs, particularly since they were not replaced because of the non-existent evening turndown. Our room faced the city side, not the Riverwalk, which was actually desirable because we visited on the July 4 holiday, and we had a great viewpoint to watch the fireworks from our balcony. Even if you do splurge on a Riverwalk view room, most of the rooms are on the fifth floor or higher, so we are not sure how much action you would really see being that high up. Overall, we were happy with our stay at the Palacio del Rio. The location of the hotel cannot be beat!