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Fiesta and siesta at The Menger Hotel

By Luis Munoz | 16 de abril de 2013

San Antonio.- Soon enough downtown will be filled with thousands of people and a cultural celebration unlike any other in the nation. Fiesta approaches and it’s time to get out and mingle with the rest of San Antonio!

For me, Fiesta is a time to enjoy friendship as well as indulge in the unhealthy but oh-so-tasty culinary treats at every corner! I love heading downtown and just taking in the contagious fun atmosphere. Of course, it’s also an opportunity to get out of work early with a reasonably good excuse.

One of my absolute favorite things to do during Fiesta is to find a local hotel and make it my home base. Whether, I decide to stay there or just eat and drink there to avoid the sun for a while, every year a pick a different place.

This year, I’ve chosen the beautiful and historic Menger Hotel. I asked myself, “What can I possibly say about this classic hotel that hasn’t already been said?” Well, let me try.

As a history buff, The Menger is a goldmine. It is a magical time capsule which gracefully transports guests back to the enchanting 19th century while still offering them every modern comfort their hearts may desire. Built in 1859, it is literally a living museum. What sets this museum apart is that you can sleep, eat, and drink here as well!

I actually had the pleasure of staying there a few weeks ago and it quickly reminded me of why I love downtown so much. The location is great and it overlooks the famed Alamo. Situated just steps from shopping, dining, and from one of the most famous attractions in the world; you can’t go wrong by staying there.

Though I was alone, I made friends quickly and found it interesting that I met just as many locals as tourists who also chose to make The Menger their home for the weekend. I can easily see why. The hospitality at The Menger is like no other. Everywhere I went, I encountered smiling faces and staff willing to help out in any way possible. Honestly, I was really impressed with how knowledgeable the entire staff was.

Over brunch one morning (more on the food in a second), my waitress schooled me on the history of the hotel with such passion and friendliness that I couldn’t help but smile. Did you know the hotel was once a brewery? Neither did I! The hotel has played host to Presidents, dignitaries from all over the world, and famous folks like baseball great Babe Ruth! In fact, Bill Clinton’s favorite ice cream just happens to be the Mango Ice Cream which has been served at there for over 100 years!

Honestly, I personally enjoyed just walking around, looking at old pictures of past guests and glancing at the many historic artifacts which are displayed throughout hotel.

There are two things I must mention if I’m going to do the hotel any justice. First, The Teddy Roosevelt Bar. This is The Menger’s in-house bar on the first floor where, you guessed it, Teddy Roosevelt once kicked back a few beers while recruiting some of his Rough Riders.

The bar is one of my favorites anywhere and has been since I first went years ago. The original bar, real bullet holes and all, is still the centerpiece of this one-of-a-kind drinkery. The atmosphere is dark and romantic and one to be experience whether you live in San Antonio or not.

Secondly, I have to boast about their mouth-watering food. If you know me, you know I love food and I’m always looking for great local finds. I simply try to look for good food at a good value and unique atmospheres capped off with great service. While everything I had there was delicious, including a superb seafood dinner one night, the true find at The Menger is their Sunday brunch in the Colonial Room Restaurant.

Never mind that countless of amazing celebrations have been held there since 1912. Ignore the fact that Presidents have dined there. Forget the timeless neoclassical style which arouses your senses. The true treasure of this charming restaurant is simply…the food. After a fun night out on the town, nothing hits home better than a great selection of morning fare.

During brunch, you can choose to eat from the extensive buffet or have a terrific and perfectly-made omelet made right before your eyes. You can also order from the menu, but what fun would that be? The great coffee, live music, and attentive service completes the experience and that’s what makes Sunday brunch at The Menger a favorite in town. Interestingly enough, I actually met a couple who was staying at a nearby hotel but walked over just for brunch. Now, that says a lot!

I must admit, The Menger is not going to be the cheapest hotel in town, but it’s not the most expensive by far either. Given the history and everything it has to offer, including its perfect location, it truly is one of the best deals in town. If you are looking for a weekend getaway, a romantic place to celebrate with a loved one, or the perfect spot during Fiesta, I highly recommend it. Viva Fiesta!

For more information or to book your stay, visit www.mengerhotel.com

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