The Adolphus Hotel (Dallas; tel. 800/221-9083 or 214/742-8200): This landmark Beaux Arts hotel, built by beer baron Adolphus Busch, looks and feels like a European château. Luxuriate among dark-wood parlors, baroque art and antiques, and an opulent dining room, one of Big D's best restaurants. Rooms are English country style, and a three-course English tea is served every afternoon.
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas; tel. 800/422-3408 or 214/599-2100): Repeatedly named one of the top five hotels in the United States, the Mansion draws movie stars, princes, presidents, and luxury mavens. Formerly the grand estate of a cotton magnate in the 1920s and 1930s, the Mansion is refined and supremely elegant throughout, with service to match. The revamped restaurant has again vaulted to the top of the heap.
Hotel Zaza (Dallas; tel. 800/597-8399 or 214/468-8399): This superfashionable Uptown boutique hotel has a catchy name and a cachet few can match. It is luxurious but überhip, with eclectic style to burn. The hotel has "concept" suites with funky themes ("Shag-a-delic" Suite, anyone?) and new, fantasyland "Magnificent Seven" suites.
Stockyards Hotel (Fort Worth; tel. 800/423-8471 or 817/625-6427): Over-the-top luxury would be gauche in the old Stockyards, so this extremely comfortable and authentic slice of the Old West qualifies as a Fort Worth indulgence: cowboy luxury. Outlaws on the run, cowpokes and their madames, and the C&W elite have all propped up their boots here. Cowtown's cattle-ranching and railroad past are effortlessly evoked in the rooms, each of which is different.
Four Seasons Hotel Houston (Houston; tel. 800/332-3442 or 713/650-1300): Lots of space to stretch out in and lots of service so you don't have to stretch too far. This hotel surpasses all others in amenities and services. Within a few blocks are the baseball park, the basketball arena, a shopping mall, and the convention center. A bit beyond that are the city's theater and nightlife hubs.
Hotel Derek (Houston; tel. 866/292-4100 or 713/961-3000): The most comfortable and most fun place to stay in Houston's highly popular Uptown/Galleria area. The Derek offers a rare combination of practicality and style, making it a perfect choice for the business traveler or the vacation shopper. Service is smooth, and the restaurant wins raves from the local food writers.
Lancaster Hotel (Houston; tel. 800/231-0336 or 713/228-9500): Personal service, charming rooms, and great location are the keys to this hotel's success. If there's one hotel that makes having a car unnecessary in Houston, this is it. Within easy walking distance are the symphony, the opera, three theaters, the ballet, a multiplex cinema, and several restaurants and clubs.
Omni Corpus Christi Hotel (Corpus Christi; tel. 800/843-6664 or 361/887-1600): The two towers of the Omni overlook Corpus Christi Bay, and the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 20-story Bayfront Tower offer spectacular views of the Gulf, particularly from its upper floors. Pamper yourself with a massage from the in-house massage therapist or relax in the whirlpool.
Isla Grand Beach Resort (South Padre Island; tel. 800/292-7704 or 956/761-6511): From the high-ceilinged lobby to the beautiful landscaping around the swimming pools, this resort spells luxury. Many rooms have grand views of the ocean.
Omni La Mansión del Río (San Antonio; tel. 800/830-1400 or 210/518-1000): Occupying what was once the local seminary, this hotel has kept the local feel of the building, with architectural features such as beamed ceilings and stone balconies. La Mansión is not a high-rise, and it enjoys a wide frontage along the River Walk. It is, in short, the best hotel for experiencing San Antonio.
The Watermark Hotel & Spa (San Antonio; tel. 866/605-1212 or 210/396-5800): If relaxation and pampering are what you seek, the Watermark should be your choice in San Antonio. From the moment you step foot into the lobby, everything is taken care of effortlessly. The hotel has a great location on the River Walk, but the rooms are so attractive and comfortable, the service is so personal, and the spa is so easy to enjoy that you may never leave.
The Driskill (Austin; tel. 800/252-9367 or 512/474-5911): If you want to play cattle baron, you can't do better than stay in this opulent 1886 hotel, restored to its former glory at the end of the 20th century.
Four Seasons Austin (Austin; tel. 800/332-3442 or 512/478-4500): With panoramic views of the lake, the wonderful service that this chain is known for, and a spa that consistently wins high praise, nothing is lacking here. Rooms are large and comfortable and come with all the amenities. Right outside the door is Austin's popular hike-and-bike trail, which rings the lake, and Austin's comfortable and fun downtown.
Lake Austin Spa Resort (Austin; 1705 S. Quinlan Park Rd.; tel. 800/847-5637): This spa resort gets more write-ups than any other lodging in Austin, most recently as best destination spa in the country by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler. Nothing spells luxury better than the pampering spa treatments this place is known for. But you can also find it in the beauty and serenity that surround the place.
Cibolo Creek Ranch (Shafter; tel. 432/229-3737): Tucked under the Chinati Mountains in some of the most wide-open country in all of Texas, this is a getaway for the most special of occasions, and accordingly priced. The idyllic setting plays host today to a first-class resort, featuring picture-perfect guest rooms with red-tile floors, adobe walls, and sumptuous border decor. The recreation is as impressive as the scenery.
Gage Hotel (Marathon; tel. 432/386-4205): Located 50 miles north of Big Bend National Park, the historic Gage Hotel opened in 1927 as the social hub for area ranchers and miners, but fell into shambles under the desert sun in the ensuing decades. But that period is long over: The current owners restored the old redbrick's many charms in the early 1980s, melding history and an eye for Texas chic. The historic rooms have cow-skin rugs, hardwood floors, Navajo blankets, and oodles of personality.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.