A getaway in sunbaked Texas must involve a body of water, whether it’s surfing in the Gulf, tubing down the river, sunset cruising across a lake, or simply taking a dip in a resort-style pool. We checked out three new or updated lodging options that not only are near the water but offer a bit of luxury as well.
By the beach
The Carr Mansion, in Galveston, was built in 1866 by General Lewis W. Carr and, over the years, has been in the care of such illustrious Texans as former governor Richard Coke. Although the grand Greek Revival–style home, about a mile from the beach, is one of the island’s few surviving buildings from its era, it had lost some of its luster. This month, after a top-to-bottom renovation by Austin-based interior designer Shannon Eddings, the estate reopens as an eight-room bed-and-breakfast. Eddings masterfully married historic and new with contemporary lighting fixtures, brass accents, vintage nautical paintings, refurbished claw-foot tubs, and an inviting seaside-themed bar, where guests can enjoy a gourmet happy hour.
Along the river
When Dallas native Blake Smith lived in Uganda, where he worked on a nonprofit jewelry brand, he would often spend his weekends in tree house ecolodges or going on safari and staying in tents. Those enriching experiences planted the seed for his latest venture, Walden Retreats. The first location opened in April, near Johnson City, an hour from Austin, and features two five-hundred-square-foot safari-style canvas tents—complete with air-conditioning, woodstoves, king-size beds, and drip coffee makers—on 96 acres of private land along the Pedernales River. Smith hopes to open other Walden Retreats within an hour of cities around the country.
Horseshoe Bay Resort, on the shores of Lake LBJ, is one of those rarities in Texas: a full-service hotel by the water that invites you to indulge in all the amenities. Think three golf courses (and an eighteen-hole mini-golf course); clay tennis courts; and a marina stocked with boats for cruising. At the Yacht Club, you can dine on chicken-fried lobster or steak Oscar and sip a cocktail while looking out over the pool and palm trees. The resort, which opened its doors as a private club more than forty years ago, is in the final stages of a $60 million renovation that includes updates to the 249 guest rooms in the hotel tower and 100 new Palm Villa suites.