So it opened on 2 April 2004, on schedule as promised, but bigger and better than we could imagine. Bang! Big Texan Resort with golfing, spas, indoor and outdoor pools, fantastic restaurants, and great guest rooms. What brings visitors to a complete stop after they walk into the hotel? The first look at the massive atrium that it the indoor air conditioned play area for guests staying in the over 1500 rooms.
The look of the peoples' faces! After staying in the hotel for a couple nights I got used to seeing that amazed expression. The experience of staying at or even just walking through the Garylord Texan is nearly beyond words.
For a start a river runs through the atrium. There are hundreds of live trees, shrubs, flowering plants and carefully placed benches so that you can enjoy it all without having to pay to sit in a restaurant or bar (unlike the hotels in Las Vegas!). Bring granny or have granny bring you to this hotel. It is a pure pleasure just to walk around the place.
The atrium is designed to have familiar aspects of the San Antonio Riverwalk, so much so that you will feel quite at home on your first visit. Well, there you are on one of the Riverwalk bridges for sure.
In one of the garden areas a beautiful bridge is having her photos taken. It's that kind of a place, an instant local tradition.
Blessings to the folks who designed this place and had the courage to spend nearly $500 million to build it. Yes, nearly half a billion US dollars. Every detail is so well considered from the beauty and comfort of the furniture to the original works of art around the place. Every eye goes up to look at the massive Texas star in the glass ceiling of the atrium, so large that you can see it from an airplane landing at the nearby DFW International Airport. Now that's Texas size.
The guest rooms in the hotel face either inward to the atrium or outwards toward the lake or countryside. If you have an atrium room, you also have a balcony where you can sit in air-conditioned comfort and watch all the goings on. We never had any noise in our room from the atrium. This place is very well designed. If you know a Texan summer, then you know that you really do want that air conditioning.
This resort is so large that the size itself became a problem for some of the older guests in our group. There’s miles of walking to do. Don't worry about how much you eat as you are going to walk it off for sure.
Enjoy this fine place. It is already a very special part of our lives here in Texas.