Editor’s note: As 2022 comes to a close, we’re looking back at the stories that defined San Antonio this year, and that includes travel — in and out of the Alamo City. Some of San Antonio’s best hotels got the recognition they deserved, while locals landed exciting new travel options by plan and bus. Here are the top 10 travel headlines of 2022.
1. Stunning San Antonio hotel checks in as Texas’ best in prestigious U.S. News ranking. Hotel Emma, arguably the crown jewel of San Antonio’s Pearl district, sat high on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best hotels in the country, ranking as the No. 7 top hotel in the U.S. and the No. 1 Texas property. The 146-room riverfront property, which opened in 2015, repeatedly appeared at or near the top of rankings for the state’s best hotels.
2. Swanky San Antonio spot checks in as one of the hottest new hotels for 2022. San Antonio’s Thompson Hotel – Riverwalk booked the No. 12 spot on TripAdvisor’s list of the Hottest New Hotels in the U.S. for 2022. The top 25 list comes from the site’s 2022 Travelers’ Choice Awards, in which travelers reviewed new hotels they experienced in 2021. Travelers gushed over the Thompson’s design, as well as its in-house dining and bar.
The Thompson Suite.
Image courtesy of Thompson San Antonio
3. San Antonio airport launches plan to add more international nonstop flights. A multimillion-dollar fund launched in July hopes to expand international service from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) by courting direct flights to cities in Canada, Europe, and beyond. The Air Service Development Fund, launched by greater:SATX (and all funded by the private sector) will begin with a $3 million investment, with a goal to establish “marketing and in-kind partnerships” to attract additional flights to the Alamo City.
4. Affordable luxury bus service rolls into San Antonio with $15 fares. Starting in April, San Antonio became the eighth Texas city served by RedCoach. The San Antonio stop is at 165 Bowie St., near the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter. San Antonio riders may travel to five Texas locations: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Richardson, and Waco. Fares are priced as low as $15 each way.
5. Spirit Airlines flies into San Antonio with 2 new destinations in 2023. After its highly anticipated debut at San Antonio International Airport (SAT), Spirit Airlines celebrated its official launch of service on November 17 with a special announcement. Adding two new destinations to its departures list, the budget airline will fly from San Antonio to four total cities daily, starting in 2023.
6. Step inside the Upside Down at Texas mall’s new Stranger Things experience. An immersive experience based on the Netflix hit Stranger Things premiered in may at Grapevine Mills mall in North Texas. It includes some of the show’s most recognizable locations, “gnarly merch, and rad activities.”
The first-ever Stranger Things Store opened at Grapevine Mills on May 25.
Facebook/Stranger Things Official Store
7. Low-cost airline relaunches nonstop flights from San Antonio to 2 major U.S. cities. Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines lifted off with nonstop service from San Antonio to two major cities: Atlanta and Philadelphia. Frontier previously offered nonstop service from San Antonio to the two cities but subsequently dropped both routes.
8. These are the 9 best hotels in San Antonio, says Condé Nast Traveler. Condé Nast Traveler published a list of what it claims are the nine best hotels in San Antonio. In no particular order, they are: Hotel Havana, Thompson San Antonio, Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, The St. Anthony, Canopy by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk, La Cantera Resort & Spa, Hotel Emma, JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, and Menger Hotel.
9. 2 happy campers unplug to recharge at a tiny cabin Getaway in East Texas’ Piney Woods. Getaway Outposts are “resorts” of trendy tiny homes that let city folk escape into nature in a slightly upscale way — to turn off digital devices, relax, and recharge our internal batteries — “rustic without having to rough it,” they advertise. Brooklyn, New York-based Getaway operates some 20 Outposts across the United States, including three in Texas less than two hours out of major cities.
10. Texas’ only ski-lift bike park takes you to new heights in the Hill Country. At Spider Mountain Bike Park in Burnet, what goes up must come down. Located on Lake Buchanan about two hours north of San Antonio in the Hill Country, the attraction is the only year-round ski-lift bike park in the U.S. (In fact, it’s the only place in Texas with a ski-lift, period.)