by Amanda Geronikos
Sure, it’s easy to find a quality, family-friendly hotel along the River Walk in San Antonio — there are plenty. But if you’re looking for an authentic experience in one of the country’s oldest cities and a memorable family vacation like no other, look no further than the Omni La Mansion (la-mahn-see-own) del Rio.
The grand property, an icon along San Antonio’s River Walk, traces back to 1852, when four brothers decided to build a local school. The building thrived as St. Mary’s School until 1924, when it was named St. Mary’s College. It then operated as St. Mary’s University School of Law from 1934 to 1966. In 1966, the building’s story came full circle — it was purchased and opened as a hotel by two former students. Omni Hotels and Resorts acquired the property in 2006.
While the hotel no longer resembles a school — only a historic-building-turned-luxury-hotel — guests are able to catch a glimpse of its storied past via complimentary historic tours. It’s equally enjoyable to explore the charming hotel on your own, though, meandering through the courtyard, listening to a live mariachi band by the pool, eating at one of the top-notch restaurants, or simply relaxing on the balcony in your room as you take in the breathtaking views of the River Walk below.
Fun Fact: Selena Quintanilla, the singer who inspired the self-titled movie, “Selena,” got engaged on a bridge just outside the hotel. Jennifer Lopez and John Ceda recreated the scene in the 1997 film on the same bridge, dubbed
Our Editor Loves
- Historic hotel
- Onsite dining
- Location on River Walk
- Theme Park
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The hotel features a total of 338 guestrooms and suites. All rooms tout a style that's undeniably Spanish Colonial, with wood-beamed ceilings and marble bathrooms that transport guests to historic San Antonio. Yet, the hotel's guestrooms have all the necessities a modern family needs -- mini-bars, coffeemakers, robes and flat-screen TVs. ADA-accessible rooms are available, as well, as are cribs and rollaway beds upon request.
These rooms span 300 square feet, and offer one king or two double beds. Guests enjoy a view of the pool, courtyards or city.
Premier River View Rooms
These rooms are similar to Deluxe Rooms, offering one king or two double beds, but they also feature balconies overlooking Paseo del Rio or better yet, the River Walk.
River View Ambassador Rooms
These rooms are 400 square feet in size and offer a living room with a pull-out sofa. They also feature French doors that lead to a balcony overlooking San Antonio's charming River Walk.
This room sleeps four (or five with a rollaway bed or crib), with a king bed housed in a separate bedroom and a pull-out sofa in the living room.
Hospitality Parlor Suites
Enjoy 800 square feet of space in the Hospitality Parlor Suites that overlook the River Walk. They also feature dining tables for six and living areas with pull-out sofas. These suites typically sleep four or five guests.
This is the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of the Omni La Mansion del Rio, and the setting for an unforgettable experience in San Antonio. The 1,900-square-foot room features a dining room for six, a spacious living area, and two balconies from which you can gaze upon the River Walk. The beautiful master bedroom is a treat for parents, who enjoy a canopy bed and large bathroom with a soaking tub, dry sauna and shower. This room can easily connect to two additional rooms for children and/or extended family.
We had a fabulous stay at The Omni. The hotel is in a perfect location in the city and on the riverwalk. Our room was fine. One strange thing is that the doors/windows do not look out on anything but the hallway into the courtyard. It was strange, but nothing that wouldn't stop me from staying there again. The staff was always very attentive and had cold waters behind the front desk to hand out any time we asked. The room did smell a little musty, but we overheard that the hotel may be starting to go through a renovation soon. We had one issue in our bathroom, but it was fixed immediately. The hotel had a coconut water in the lobby for all guests that was delicious. The pool area was fine. Not enough seating, but we were always able to find a spot after a few minutes. The pool was warm- a bit cloudy, but nice to get refreshed. At one point we ordered a seltzer by the pool and was a bit astonished at the end of our stay to find out we were charged $7.00 each. I guess the pool service is like room service. Oh well- now we know. Overall, I would definitely stay here again and would recommend it to anyone.
It's nice to step out of the hotel directly onto the River Walk. The bathroom was small and the room needed updating, but it was comfortable enough and clean. Our particular rate was excellent. The online checkout process was so easy.
The hotel features a lovely pool in its tranquil courtyard, with plenty of shade, chairs, tables and chaise lounges provided. During the summer months, dive-in movies are hosted, and a pool bar serves specialty cocktails, wine and beer. There's a mariachi performance every Friday at 5 p.m. in the summertime, as well. The pool is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Omni Sensational Kids
Kids are welcomed with a backpack full of goodies at Omni La Mansion del Rio, courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts. The brand-wide amenity encourages healthy eating habits with an activity book that features recipes and games, a twisty tomato straw, memory match-up cards and crayons.
The hotel provides a kids' menu (which doubles as a coloring sheet) at all of its restaurants, with options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Themed options include Remember the Alamo (grilled cheese quesadilla) and a Davy Crockett Jr. Melt Down (grilled cheese).
This is the hotel's signature restaurant, and one you shouldn't miss while in San Antonio -- especially for breakfast. The food, sourced from local ingredients, is out-of-this-world good.
El Colegio is the former library of St. Mary's College; Today, it's a chic space where wine, beer, cocktails and casual fare are served. Order a margarita -- they're the best on the River Walk.
Morsels serves coffee and pastries, along with a small selection of salads, sandwiches and snacks. It is located right by the lobby, making it easy to grab a snack on your way out the door.
La Mansion Pool Bar
Open during the summer months, the pool bar serves cocktails and light bites -- perfect for an afternoon refresher or evening wind-down.
In-room dining is available, and includes the kids' menu offered at the onsite restaurants.
Restaurants at Mokaro Hotel & Spa
Guests may also utilize the restaurants at Mokaro Hotel & Spa: Osta, which serves seafood along the River Walk, and the Rooftop CafÃ©, a lovely place to relax with light fare.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Sign up to become a Select Guest -- it's completely free and entitles you to complimentary Wi-Fi. You'll also get complimentary coffee delivered to your room each morning, upon request.
The hotel doesn't have a fitness center, but guests are welcome to use the fitness center at Mokaro Hotel & Spa, directly across the street. Mokaro's fitness center is quite extensive, with cardio and strength training equipment, plus free weights and extras like fruit-infused water and complimentary headphones. It is available 24 hours with your Omni Hotel key card.
Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at 11 p.m. If your room isn't ready when you arrive, you can simply leave your luggage at the front desk. Use this time to take a dip in the pool or take a cruise with Rio San Antonio Cruises -- the tour departs right by the hotel and is a perfect introduction to San Antonio.
The Art of Smart Timing
Pricing remains consistent throughout the year, but you might find lower rates toward the end of summer, which is also the best time to visit in terms of weather.
Opt to fly into San Antonio International Airport, located about 20 minutes from the hotel. You should anticipate some heavy traffic if arriving during morning or evening rush hours.
You don't need a car to get around downtown San Antonio -- certainly not with a prime location on the River Walk and a close proximity to the Alamo. If you plan to visit SeaWorld, Morgan's Wonderland, the DoSeum or the Pearl District, you'll want a car. Valet parking is available at the hotel, and costs $35 per night.
For Mom and Dad
Make a reservation at Mokaro Spa, and reserve plenty of time to indulge. Located across the street from Omni La Mansion del Rio, it is the only Forbes Four-Star Spa in San Antonio, and an experience not to be missed.