San Antonio, United States

The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club

Price per night from$108.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD108.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Fifties funhouse

Setting

Beside Brackenridge Park

Set at the edge of Brackenridge Park, the navy-blue Ranch Motel & Leisure Club was once a faded Fifties footnote in San Antonio. But luckily, after a twist of fate, Jayson Seidman of the Sandstone hospitality group decided to give it a sporting chance. Cue the montage of making over rooms into simply stylish retro hideaways; re-illuminating its neon sign; adding a palm-flanked pool, mezcal lounge and listening room; and turning it from a blight to a blessing for the community. And the games are only just afoot here, with pickleball courts and other fun distractions in the works.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A free cocktail each and an upgrade to the next larger room, subject to availability

Facilities

Photos The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club facilities

Need to know

Rooms

23, including one suite.

Check–Out

11am, and guests can stay till noon on request before being charged for another night. Earliest check-in, 3pm, but flexible on request and subject to availability.

Prices

Double rooms from £102.06 ($126), including tax at 16.75 per cent.

More details

The motel doesn’t serve breakfast, but guests get a selection of free snacks and drinks in their room.

Also

The hotel’s suite and a couple of other rooms are large enough to comfortably accommodate a wheelchair and there are paved walkways; however, some of the terrain is a little rougher.

Please note

Five pickleball courts, a games room and a picnic area are coming soon to the neighboring plot.

At the hotel

Garden terrace with tables and chairs, listening room, ping-pong table, free WiFi. In rooms: coat rack, selection of books, minibar, free bottled water, and Le Labo bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The hotel’s rebuild followed the outlay of the original rooms, so they’re all the same size except for the Courtyard King Suite. Decor is subtly retro with light hues on the walls, furnishings from San Antonio’s Period Modern vintage store, and a selection of artwork and books; some have leafy park views, and some have a day-bed that sleeps a child for small families.

Poolside

The large pool (open 8am to 11pm) is a showstopper, with fawning palms and other native plants, and prim white parasols shading loungers all around.

Packing tips

Fill your suitcase with the sort of sporting gear and swimsuits that Wes Anderson’s costume designer would die for.

Also

San Antonio residents (or even keen out-of-towners) can subscribe for a yearly membership to use the pool and sports courts as much as they like and get discounts on stays.

Pet‐friendly

Your darling doggo can stay for $25 a night. See more pet-friendly hotels in San Antonio.

Children

Kids can stay (the Courtyard King rooms and suite sleep three or four), but the unsupervised pool, ping-pong – and soon pickleball – are the only distractions on-site.

Sustainability efforts

It was fate that Sandstone hospitality group founder Jayson Seidman noticed a ‘for sale’ sign while driving to a meeting at another San Antonio hotel. He saw the potential in the run-down Fifties motel and decided to bring it back to life and revivify the surroundings a bit too, buying up a plot with an abandoned kids’ park on it next door. The stay still has its retro charm with gently updated rooms and its original neon signs; and the pool, pickleball courts and games room will be a huge boon to local members once the project is fully completed.

Food and Drink

Photos The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club food and drink

Top Table

Between the bar and the pool, the owners have cleared out a huge garden terrace planted with local flora and fauna, with the odd cacti. And when open, the listening room will make a mellow meeting place.

Dress Code

Retro leisurewear will fit right in: think polo and bowling shirts, kicky playsuits, worn-in Converse, and tailored shorts for all.

Hotel restaurant

Aside from the range of local snacks for sale in the lobby and quick bites at the bar, the hotel doesn’t yet have any dining options.

Hotel bar

Beside the pool there’s a dark-blue two-story building with an indoor lounge and green-tiled alfresco bar on the ground level spilling out into the garden terrace. Upstairs there’s a listening room (with Latin, French and Japanese vinyl) and mezcal lounge; but alongside singalongs and shots, there’ll be a programme of live music too. And there are two fridges filled with wine, beer and canned cocktails in the lobby’s bodega.

Last orders

You can pick up drinks as long as the lobby is open for now.

Room service

Drinks can be delivered to your door.

Location

Photos The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club location
Address
The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club
3101 Broadway
San Antonio
78209
United States

The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club may sound deep-set in countryside, but it’s actually in central San Antonio, Texas. There’s plenty of greenery around though, with Brackenridge Park on its doorstep.

Planes

San Antonio International is the closest airport, just a 10-minute drive away. It has direct links all across North America (and a limited number beyond).

Trains

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle route (from Chicago to LA) chugs through here and stops at San Antonio Station.

Automobiles

Texas is vast, so having a car makes it easier to traverse, although San Antonio itself has a reliable public-transport system. If wheels are the way you go, check traffic conditions on the US281 Highway, as it can get congested during peak hours. There’s plentiful free parking on-site.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel is being styled as a hip leisure hub, so when it’s fully formed you can swim, play pickleball and ping-pong, while away time in the games room, and discover new music in the listening room. But, San Antonio is the oldest city in Texas, which gives it a touch more character than some of its more skyscraper-y hubs, and with the hotel set between Alamo Heights and artistic billion-dollar development the Pearl, you’re well placed to dig into its past and present. You must, of course, remember the Alamo, the legendary fortress compound where a handful of American soldiers (including Davy Crockett) secured Texas’s independence during a short brutal battle in the war against Mexico. Take a tour to discover its turbulent history (or visit at night for a ghost tour), then celebrate the city’s now peaceful nature along the San Antonio River Walk or cruise. It’s delightful at night when it’s lit up. There are five other colonial Spanish Missions still standing to explore, four located in the picturesque Missions National Historical Park. But you needn’t go far for greenery, since the expanse of Brackenridge Park is right outside the motel, with its trails and mini train, sunken theater, Japanese tea garden, musical club each Tuesday, and San Antonio Zoo. It’s also home to two museums, the Witte, which has artefacts from prehistory forward, and the DoSeum, which offers interactive fun for families. Hopscotch with its cocktails and immersive art installations is the more adult take on this. The Botanical Gardens are close by too. See the whole city at once from the 750-foot-high observation deck atop the Tower of the Americas, built for the 1968 World’s Fair and surrounded by the revamped fun park HemisFair. Or go underground to the grottoes of the Natural Bridge Caverns. And, if you visit in April, be sure to witness the neon-flecked parades and parties of the annual Fiesta celebration.

Local restaurants

The Ranch Motel has future plans to join forces with restaurant group Empty Stomach, but until then why not try some of its many outposts in San Antonio. Barbaro is Italian leaning with inventive pizza toppings such as hash browns with taleggio, kale and honey; or clams, chilli, bacon, and pecorino with white-wine sauce. Hot Joy skews East with a weekly changing ‘mystery ramen’, dumplings, wok-seared eats, and Thai Tuesdays; while Double Standard specialises in burgers and po’boys. In Southtown, order the famed fish tacos and enchiladas at long-standing Mexican Rosario’s, and in the Pearl, Asian-American eatery Best Quality Daughter offers delicious culture-clashes: mochi cheddar hush puppies, skirt steak in orange-chicken gravy, and milk oolong ice-cream sandwiches. 

Local cafés

In the Pearl, ice-cream parlor Lick’s everyday flavors aren’t what you’d expect, with goat’s cheese, thyme and honey or roasted beets and fresh mint on the menu. And its seasonal picks can be even more out there. Wash it down with something hot from Local Coffee Founders, which works with roasts from Proud Mary, Tag Coffee Co and more.

Local bars

Go on a crawl through the Pearl’s drinkeries: Southerleigh for craft brews on tap, chilled-out wines at Park Bar, and imaginative cocktails at Blue Box (go for the ‘trust your bartender’ option if the choice overwhelms). Paper Tiger might not have much elbow room, but its roster of pretty much up-and-come acts makes up for that; hit up Rumble for fruity cocktails, frozen ‘mangonadas’, and shots under glitter balls; and Little Death is a cosy and cool graffiti-scribbled wine bar. 

Reviews

Photos The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this Fifties revival of a stay in San Antonio having improved their pickleball serve, a full account of their sporting break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Ranch Motel & Leisure Club in Texas…

The Ranch Motel & Leisure Club’s history follows the narrative of any good sporting biopic: the fresh-faced flush of success in the Fifties, the gradual decline into disrepair as it was abandoned, and the roaring comeback as the founder of Sandstone hospitality took a punt on its potential. And the revitalisation and reopening of this charming retro stay at the edge of San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park is absolutely something the crowds will go wild for. Especially now that it has modish mid-century rooms, a leafy pool, mezcal lounge, listening room with global vinyl picks, and a garden terrace with Texan landscaping where an unprepossessing lot used to be. And its future looks as bright as the original neon sign the owners have working again, with pickleball courts, a games room and more planned in the neighboring plot. Wins all round. 

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Price per night from $108.00