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Note: The Watermark Hotel & Spa is now the Mokara Hotel & Spa and the spa is called Mokara Spa.

Watermark Hotel & Spa - Review

Romance and Restoration

by Sandy Samuels

The rooftop pool at the Watermark Hotel & Spa in Texas
The rooftop pool at the Watermark Hotel & Spa in Texas

San Antonio lures lovers to its romantic River Walk, where paths wind past cafés and restaurants along the meandering riverbank, as well as where trees shade, flowers flourish and stone staircases bridge the water or lead to magical venues. One set of steps approaches the 17,000-square-foot Watermark Spa at the ultra-chic Watermark Hotel, the city's only Mobil four-star designated spa. After registering in the reception lobby, a concierge escorts guests to quiet sex-segregated locker rooms, each with saunas and steam rooms.

Among the 19 treatment areas are wet rooms for Vichy and hydrotherapy treatments and four suites—formerly used as graciously grand hotel rooms—which are ideal for couples. Each one is outfitted with bamboo flooring, private whirlpools, floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies that overlook the River Walk. One native healing massage ritual, the Watermark Restoration, begins with a stimulating Spanish rosemary massage and continues with an application of yucca serum, an indigenous ingredient which deeply penetrates muscles. Native Americans incorporated this herbal remedy—which concludes with herbal compresses—into their massages to relieve muscle and joint inflammation.

A stone bridge over the River Walk A hydrotherapy tub at the spa
A stone bridge over the River Walk
A hydrotherapy tub at the spa

The cognoscenti may recall that the word "spa" has dual origins; some use it in reference to the Belgian town of Spa, where people go to the mineral springs to cure their ailments. Others date its heritage from Roman times when the Latin expression, Solus Per Aqua—meaning "healing with water"—referred to the preferred relaxation and rejuvenation technique. At The Watermark Spa, Solus Per Aqua is a signature massage treatment that takes place in a hydrotherapy tub fitted with 70 high-pressure jets plus a handheld jet. The water treatment offers a deep massage known to reduce stress and boost blood circulation. Naturopathica Natural Therapies and products are used throughout the spa; these are fortified with therapeutic essential oils and herbs and made without petroleum-based ingredients, artificial dyes or fragrances. The treatment menu is varied and includes services designed for men: Hot Stone massage and an indulgent Riverwalk Foot Fix.

In addition to all of this, there is a salon for beauty services and a Fitness Center equipped with strength equipment and Life Fitness cardiovascular machines—treadmills, Stairclimbers and Lifecycles—each featuring private flat screen Cardio-theatre television sets. In addition to fine dining at Ostra, there's a Spa Poolside Café adjacent to the rooftop pool that offers casual fare and views of the historic city.

The Watermark Hotel & Spa
212 W. Crockett St.
San Antonio, TX 78205

(Updated: 11/05/10 CT)

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