This spot has style, a primo location, and space to spread out.


Space. I can't get enough of it. Maybe it's the Texan in me that craves the wide open and runs from the cramped. That's one reason my new favorite spot to bunk in San Antonio is Hotel Contessa--every single room in the place is a spacious suite. But that's not all the admirable qualities. Here are five reasons it's my pick.

1. Rooms.
Each of the 265 guest suites feels like your own little loft apartment. You'll get a room with two double beds or a king, as well as a separate living area with a sofa bed, coffee table, dining table, and a flat-screen TV.

2. Location.
Situated in a great spot on the River Walk, the hotel is within walking distance of all the restaurants and bars on the river.

3. Style.
I'd like my bedroom at home to look like the hotel's decor. Spanish earth tones and warm reds, oversize furnishings, and exposed brick-and-concrete walls make each room unique.

4. Food.
Las Ramblas, the hotel's restaurant, offers authentic Spanish cuisine and a stellar view of the River Walk. Try the spareribs, the chile guero (a pepper stuffed with pulled pork and queso), or the paella.

5. Extras.
An outdoor rooftop pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and a full-service Aveda Spa make this hotel spectacular.

Hotel Contessa: 306 West Market Street, San Antonio, TX 78205; or (210) 229-9222. Rates: from $189 a night; check for deals and packages on the hotel's Web site. Editor's tip: Valet parking at the hotel costs $25 a day, but you can park in a deck across the street for a mere $10.

"Why I Love the Hotel Contessa" is from the June 2008 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.