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Make up for lost time by completely losing track of it, with your family by your side. The majority of families did not gather in 2020, only individuals and immediate family members celebrating the holidays in their own homes. As more people get vaccinated, families are looking to schedule reunions and holiday celebrations at locations around Texas. We found three that are ripe for the gathering.
Casa Cartel, Austin
Casa Cartel in Austin is not for the ordinary. This stay is anything but.
If you are looking for a bold and immersive experience, this villa is the one to book. Though the villa sits secluded in southeast Austin, it is still near enough to downtown, local shopping and restaurants to enjoy both the allure of the city and the privacy that the location offers.
Upon arrival, expect to be greeted by a 20-foot mural, a testament to the bold fusion of colorful artistic design and preservation of the home’s historic integrity. This expansive five bed, five bath home sleeps 17, and it has wow factor from ceiling to basement.
Around every corner, there is something to catch your eye. Bold color choices and historic structural designs create an experience unlike any other.
As the only television in the house, a home theater that seats 15 prompts intentionality with time and encourages togetherness. This gives families an avenue of entertainment without the looming presence of all-around technology.
At the heart of the property is a large pool that the villa’s balconies overlook.
The basement, though, is where the party is at. Downstairs, adventurous guests can find an on-site speakeasy, complete with dimmed lighting, a high-end poker set and a vintage record player for aesthetics.
If a getaway means only eating out to avoid the hassle of cooking, consider the villa’s option to hire a private chef. Your family will enjoy home-cooked yet high-end meals straight from the kitchen.
The spacious 6,000-sq.-ft home goes for $700-2K per night, depending on the season, so guests are encouraged to book well in advance.
Medina Highpoint Resort, Medina
Truly a hidden gem deep in the Hill Country, Medina Highpoint Resort is reunion perfection.
Part of the RVC Outdoor Destinations group, this quiet piece of Hill Country bliss exists between the two small towns of Medina and Kerrville. The reason this location is absolutely ideal for a family reunion is the ranch house that was designed in the 1940s by a famed architect who was involved with the design of many buildings on the campus of UT Austin. Completed in 1948 with the same limestone that the LBJ Library was constructed out of, the house has been the host of many politicians and dignitaries over the years.
The ranch house was the original home of the owner decades ago, which has been renovated to perfectly accommodate 10 people with its three suites, living room, dining room and adequately appointed kitchen where you can rotate meals and cook for the entire family.
The kitchen features a deluxe range top oven, plenty of space and a large refrigerator. The house offers a washer and dryer, and two out of the three suites include a foldout couch (a double) that can sleep two small people. The master suite offers not one, but two full bathrooms!
But the hero of this house is the back porch that runs the length of the ranch house and overlooks the resort’s pool. With a lovely green space between the house and the pool, there’s easy access to enjoy the infinity pool with adjoining hot tub. (Average cost of the ranch house is around $870 per night on a weekday and up to $1000 per night on a weekend).
Additional members of the family can rent their own cabins. There are many to choose from on property, some with a bedroom downstairs, with a foldout futon and bathroom, and a loft upstairs. (Average cost is around $250 per night). There are a total of 45 cabins sporting six different types and styles.
The resort even has its own mountain, boasting its title as the second highest elevation in Texas’ Hill Country. With a high-flying Texas flag at the mountain’s summit and the vantage point of the surrounding mountains and valleys, the observation deck provides an Instagram-worthy backdrop.
The property also offers RV hookups, grilling, hiking, fishing, and pets are allowed. There is free Wi-Fi (but no phone service), a children’s play area and live music seasonally.
Cinnamon Shore, Port Aransas
A seaside village, Cinnamon Shore is a master-planned community, full of pastel-colored beach houses and condos, where most people ride cruisers or dune buggies (golf carts). It calls to generations, young and old.
Families from around the state have built a tradition of spending their time off at Cinnamon Shore, splashing in one of three pools, tossing the football on the open-space lawns or traversing the dunes to get to the beach.
Once you arrive at Cinnamon Shore, you park your vehicle and have no need to drive until it’s time to depart. Because you have a full kitchen, washer/dryer and even restaurants, this is a self-contained vacation destination for the whole family!
Highlights of Cinnamon Shore include:
- The property is a self-contained unit, safe enough to let teens roam on their own. They love the independence of heading over to the coffee shop for a drink or visiting Dylan’s Pizzeria to order their own meal.
- There are three community pools that provide hours of enjoyment for guests of any age: the Dune Pool, which hosts paddleboard yoga in a palm-lined setting; Kiera’s Pool, with an infinity edge looking to scenic Lake Gavin; and Stillwater Pool, heated year-round.
- Of course, you can cook in your own kitchen all day long, but there are also on-site dining options. Upscale Mediterranean-style Lisabella’s Bistro; family-friendly Dylan’s Pizzeria, where you can enjoy outdoor seating; and Coffee Waves, with a premium selection of java, smoothies and breakfast fare all make it feel like your own little town built especially for you.
- With their entertainment and activities, the resort is designed to be everything you need. Live concerts on an outdoor stage, which provides such a fun and relaxing Saturday night; movies on the grassy Town Center lawn; yoga on the beach; paddleboard yoga at The Dune Pool; bike and fishing gear rentals all exist to put the cherry on top of your stay.
- There are two community lakes that really add a relaxing touch to an already relaxing atmosphere: Lake Colby, which is fully stocked with a fishing pier for everyone to use, and Lake Gavin.
- They make it easy to rent a golf cart onsite from Top Deck (a must!) and reserve beach chairs with umbrellas (set up and ready for you first thing in the morning). Both of these amenities add to the experience that is Cinnamon Shore.
Homes and condo units vary in size and price.
Marika Flatt, who organizes her own family reunion every year, is the travel editor of} Texas Lifestyle Magazine and was named “Outstanding Austin Communicator” 2021 by Women Communicators of Austin. Flatt has been the voice of the “Weekend Trip Tips” on NPR’s Texas Standard for nearly five years and is a regular travel contributor to TV shows across the state.