by Amanda Geronikos
We dare you not to be overwhelmed when you enter Gaylord Texan Resort & Conference Center. The expansive resort — situated on nearly 85 acres of land in Grapevine, Texas — gives new meaning to the phrase, “destination resort.” Inside, the atrium-style hotel features 4.5 acres of lush landscaping alongside winding pathways that lead to boutique stores, a fitness center, indoor pool, top-notch spa (with children’s services), restaurants, and more restaurants. Look up and you’ll see the hotel’s atrium-facing rooms, which — as you can imagine — offer the best views in the house.
Outside, the hotel features a 10-acre water park called Paradise Springs. Open during the summer months, it’s complimentary to all guests, who enjoy a lazy river, several pools, cabana rentals, refreshments and a separate area for tiny tykes.
While summer is an ideal time to visit and take advantage of the water park, the winter holidays are just as exciting. The City of Grapevine hosts 1,400 events for the holidays, including Lone Star Christmas at the Gaylord. The event brings 2 million lights, 15,000 ornaments, a 54-foot-tall tree and an ice display to the resort, along with snow tubing, character breakfasts and more. You seriously can’t miss this experience with kids.
At the Gaylord Texan Resort, it’s easy to get lost (we mean that literally) in all of the fun.
Our Editor Loves
- Destination resort
- Paradise Springs Water Park
- Lone Star Christmas
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Other guestroom features include complimentary bottled water, large desks (that can double as dining tables), and shower/tub combinations. Rollaway beds are available for $25 per night, while cribs are available free of charge. Request in advance.
Guestrooms feature one king or two queen beds, and either partial atrium, center atrium or outside views. Atrium view rooms -- which come with balconies -- are beautiful, and come at a premium for that reason. You can sleep up to five people in these rooms (if you order a rollaway bed or crib).
This suite has a separate bedroom with a king bed, and a living area with a sofa bed. Families may order up to two rollaway beds or cribs to this room, sleeping a maximum of six people. Connecting configurations are available for extended family or large groups.
The Executive Suite is similar to the Deluxe Suite, with a separate bedroom and living area with a pull-out sofa. Families may sleep a maximum of six guests in this room, with the option to order up to two rollaway beds or cribs.
We’ve made a tradition of going to the ICE! at the Gaylord Texan and seeing the beautiful decorations, for years. In the past we’ve always enjoyed it! The last 2 years we’ve missed, since we were traveling, during the holidays. This year we took out-of-town guests to see it and were completely disappointed. The entire atmosphere has changed. The cost is expensive, but in previous years, we’d always felt like we got our moneys worth.
This year the experience was truly terrible and will keep us from returning. To start with, the parking is at a remote lot, well removed from the hotel property. The shuttles came sporadically and at lengthy intervals. (And don’t plan on walking back to your car. Way too far, especially if you have children. Essentially, once you’re there, you’re stuck!) The lines once we got to the hotel were VERY long and drawn out. From the point your tickets are scanned, you can plan on 1 to 1-1/2 hour wait, just to get into the ICE! show area. Based on previous experiences, it seems like the show is reduced more and more each year. Also, it appears that any limitations as to how many tkts. are sold for a particular time, are no longer in place. When you exit the show, now, you enter a carnival area where each activity is an additional cost between $10-25 per person. Additionally, this year we noticed that alcohol is sold for that area. While holiday cocktails/beer are great, this isn’t the venue. With so many kids around, we ran into quite a few people who’d over-imbibed and were speaking and acting inappropriately to be around kids. There is an extra charge for everything, s’mores, skating, sledding, carousels, etc. While the reindeer used to be an amazing draw for kids to see inside, they seem to be an afterthought now and the one lone reindeer was relegated to the worst spot, standing next to people waiting for the parking shuttle, to return to the parking lot. We waited in line for 1-1/2 hours in the cold, to get a return shuttle. People around us were actually talking about calling Uber just to be able to get back to the parking lot and leave! While in line, I called the front desk to ask about the lengthy wait. They said the traffic was preventing their 8 shuttles from running in a timely manner. The problem with that was….. there were only 2 shuttles running and there was no traffic in the circle by the convention center. Although security was providing “traffic control,” nothing was happening with shuttles. The whole thing was an ordeal to be endured, instead of a fun experience for the holidays. The overall impression I got from the staff that I spoke with was, live with it. Not our problem!
Unfortunately, Marriott has taken something that was a beautiful holiday experience and made it into strictly a money making proposition and a poorly executed one at that. Somehow they have managed to suck every bit of FUN out of the experience. Sadly, we’re taking that activity off our list of holiday traditions and will replace it with something else. Additionally, I could not, in good conscience, recommend this activity to anyone. And most especially those who have children!! The lines for everything are too long and the disappointment factor is too great.
Wonderful family event. Great for the kids. Lots of activities including build a bear. Its every year from thd end if Nov to end of Dec. About $29+ and up. You dont gave to stay at hotel. Lots of restaurants and shops. Hot chocolate and cinnabon, pretzels. Close to DFW airport and Grapevine mills mall. Lots of activities.
Paradise Springs Waterpark
Guests enjoy complimentary access (wristbands required) to Paradise Springs Water Park, open during the summer months. The 10-acre complex has a lazy river, a 6,000-square-foot Family Lagoon with a waterslide, two heated pools and a separate area for toddlers. Private cabanas, food and lawn games, such as croquet and tossers, are also available.
The hotel has an indoor pool with private cabanas and waterfall features. It is quiet and relaxing in comparison with the water park.
Relache Spa and Boutique
The 25,000-square-foot Relache Spa and Boutique delivers the ultimate in pampering, from traditional massages to seasonal specials. It also has salon services and a special menu for kids; options include a Wiggle Worm Hair Cut for children under age 5, a Prince Hair Cut and Style and Princess Manicures and Pedicures. The spa is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 to 8 on Sunday.
The hotel offers several shops, with everything from boutique clothing and jewelry to toiletries and souvenirs. There's even a store just for kids -- Kid's Korral sells toys and clothing for youngsters.
Lone Star Christmas
The Gaylord Texan hosts Lone Star Christmas -- a must-experience for any family. The event features grand light displays and ICE, a display with ice-carved creations made from 2 million pounds of ice! The display takes on a different theme each year. Other features at Lone Star Christmas include scavenger hunts, snow tubing (yes, snow tubing), and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Additional fees apply, or you can purchase a package deal that combines accommodations and admission to the holiday attractions.
Old Hickory Steakhouse
Head to Old Hickory Steakhouse for savory steaks, or order one of the restaurant's burgers, sandwiches or entrÃ©e salads. The casual restaurant offers a separate children's menu, and is open for dinner.
Zeppole Coastal Italian
Zeppole Coastal Italian is a casual restaurant that serves all your favorites -- from pasta to seafood -- plus a wonderful wine selection. The kid-friendly venue is open 5 to 10 p.m. daily.
Texan Station is the epitome of all sports bars, with a 52-foot, HD TV and barbecue and brew specialties. It is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, and has a menu for children.
Riverwalk Cantina looks like it's on the River Walk in San Antonio -- it's situated right on a man-made stream and features "al fresco" dining. Of course, it features delicious Mexican and Tex dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a separate menu for kids. Riverwalk Cantina is open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Brunch is served on Sundays, when the restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Cocoa Bean
Visit the Cocoa Bean, a quick-service stop for Starbucks coffee and pastries. Fruit, pre-packaged oatmeal and other snacks are also available. It opens at 6 a.m. daily and often remains open late into the night.
This is the water park's restaurant, typically open Memorial Day to Labor Day. It serves flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, salads and four kids' options: hot dog, chicken fingers, grilled cheese and funnel fries. Appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks, beer and wine are available, as well.
In-room dining is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an All-Day Menu that's also offered until midnight daily. There's a separate menu for kids, with options such as Oatmeal & Berry Pancakes and Cowpoke Breakfast (eggs, potatoes, meat, fruit and juice or milk) in the morning, and grilled chicken, mac and cheese, penne pasta and cheeseburgers for lunch and dinner. Room service begins at 5:30 a.m. daily.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There is a nightly resort fee of $18, which covers access to the fitness center, bottled water, Wi-Fi and a coupon book for Grapevine Mills.
The hotel has an extensive fitness center with cardio and strength training equipment, as well as free weights. It is open 24 hours, with key card entry only.
The hotel regularly offers packages and promotions, which include a Dallas Cowboys Game Day Package, Texas Rangers Fan Special and of course, the Lone Star Christmas Experience and Holiday Getaway ICE! Adventure Package.
The Lone Star Christmas Experience includes the following: overnight accommodations; tickets to ICE!; tickets to the Elf of the Shelf Scavenger Hunt; tickets to Gingerbread Decorating Corner (one kit per room); tickets to Santa's Wild Workshop Snow Tubing; and a souvenir family photo.
Holiday Getaway ICE! Adventure includes accommodations, tickets to ICE! and a souvenir family photo.
Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m. Express check-out services are available via voice mail, text or on the TV in your room.
The Art of Smart Timing
The best time to visit the resort is the summer, when Paradise Springs Water Park is open and the hotel hosts SummerFest, or during the winter holidays for a Lone Star Christmas and package deals, along with some 1,400 festive events throughout Grapevine.
The hotel is located about 10 minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where you can rent a car. You'll have to pay a small toll on the way into Grapevine.
Your family can also take the Super Shuttle, which partners with the Gaylord Texan to provide one-way rates for $23 per person.
You don't need a car to get around town since the Grapevine Visitors Shuttle stops at the Gaylord Texan Resort. The city's shuttle transports guests to area hotels, restaurants, Grapevine Mills and Historic Downtown Grapevine. Passes are $5 per person or $10 for families (two adults and two children under the age of 18).
If you'd like to drive, you'll easily be able to find free parking (though it may be a challenge during the winter holidays). Both valet and self-parking are available at the Gaylord Texan; overnight self-parking is $19, and valet is $29.
For Mom and Dad
You certainly don't have to leave the resort to enjoy some time alone. Head to the Silver Bar or Glass Cactus Nightclub for cocktails, or make a reservation at one of the hotel's restaurants. If you want to have dinner elsewhere, try Dino's Steak and Claw House, followed by a nightcap at Sloan & Williams Winery (we recommend the Cabarnet Franc and Triplicity).