Everything is bigger in Texas — including its resorts.
With expansive surroundings, first-class amenities and plenty of fun activities for attendees to bond over, these top Texas resorts are a meeting planner’s dream.
Lajitas Golf Resort
One of the most remote resorts in the country, Lajitas Golf Resort is nestled on 27,000 acres in the badlands of Texas, right across the Rio Grande River from Mexico. It is in the rugged desert between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. The closest big city is Midland, which is 250 miles away. Most attendees choose to fly into the resort via private jet. The resort has its own airport and offers 30-person charter jet service three times a week from Dallas, Houston and Austin. The jets can be booked by a company or a group.
The resort is best known for its golf course, Black Jack’s Crossing, which wends its way up into the mountains and mesas with elevation changes of 150 feet from tee to green on hole No. 13. The course offers spectacular vistas overlooking Mexico and the river, and visitors frequently can spot wild mustangs and javelinas crossing the course. In addition to golf, other fun activities include equestrian trails, zip lines, shooting sports, Agave Spa and a fitness facility.
The resort has 117 rooms on property, from villas and lakeside cottages to boardwalk condos. It has more than 6,000 square feet of indoor and 15,000 square feet of outdoor meeting spaces, including Pavilion Ballroom, which hosts groups up to 150, and the Lajitas Amphitheatre, an open area with stadium seating that is built for music events and can accommodate 1,000 for a reception.
A historic 47-room boutique hotel built in 1927, Gage Hotel in Marathon is unique in that it has had the same owner for more than 45 years. The property is part of the 27-acre Gage Gardens, which are popular for weddings and corporate events. The gardens have three events spaces: a gazebo, a pond and a rose garden. Also on site, the Captain Shepard House has a large private yard with large trees and manicured grounds that can host events up to 60 guests, while the Dance Court is a multi-purpose space for dining, dancing and outdoor meetings with brick walls and a stone fire pit. The Ritchey Building is a historically preserved mercantile building that can host up to 125 guests and has full audiovisual services, catering and bar service available.
For fun, guests can walk the gardens, use the small putting green or visit the gallery. White Buffalo Bar is on the main hotel property adjacent to the 12 Gage Restaurant, the resort’s fine dining eatery. Breakfast and lunch are served at the V6 Coffee Bar and on the other corner, the Brick Vault Brewery and Barbecue brews its own craft beer and offers homemade sausage and brisket.
The Gage Wellness facility has a steam room, a heated lap pool, a jacuzzi, a fitness center, a yoga room and an on-site massage therapist. The resort offers many group activities from on-site star parties to campfires with live music. It also can organize themed events such as skeet shooting, pool parties and rodeos.
Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center
Standing on the shores of Lake Grapevine, Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex offers a full slate of fun activities for guests of all ages, including the 10-acre Paradise Springs Water Park, 4.5 acres of indoor garden atriums to explore, four restaurants, bars, the Relache Spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The water park features a large family lagoon, lazy river, a giant water playhouse, four waterslides, zip line and two hot pools.
With 1,814 guest rooms and 127 suites, the resort can accommodate meeting groups of any size. It has 490,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including 87 event rooms and 100 breakout rooms. The largest space can accommodate groups of 10,000. The Tate Ballroom has 32,010 square feet of meeting space and 11,270 square feet of pre-function space in the new Vineyard Tower expansion. The Longhorn Exhibit Hall on the lower level of the Grapevine Convention Center offers 179,520 square feet of flexible space. Glass Cactus is the resort’s lakeside events venue, which works well for concerts and other live entertainment.
The Yellow Rose, Texas and Grapevine ballrooms are also available for large events. As part of their conferences, groups can offer a specialized menu of spa services for attendees, including massages, facials and body wraps. The Gaylord Texan has a full culinary team to create unique banquets and receptions.
The Woodlands Resort
Designed with natural elements to bring the outdoors inside, The Woodlands Resort, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, is set against 350 acres of natural forest. With 402 guest rooms and suites, the resort has access to 200 miles of natural trails for hiking and biking, kayaking, 21 tennis courts, pickleball courts and two 18-hole championship golf courses. There is a waterpark with a 30-foot waterslide and lazy river and a new spa is coming soon.
Thirty miles outside of Houston, the resort is a short drive from George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Transportation is available from the airport and from the resort to area shopping and restaurants.
The Back Table Kitchen and Bar overlooks the 18th green and pond on the resort’s 36 holes of championship golf, and Cool Water Bar and Grill offers casual dining by the swimming pool.
Meeting planners have their choice of 75,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 13,430-square-foot Grand Ballroom. In total, the resort has 55 dedicated meeting rooms. The Woodlands offers a host of team-building activities, from goat yoga, where participants do traditional poses with the help of small furry friends, to more traditional yoga classes.
For a bit of friendly rivalry, meeting groups can work with an instructor to learn how to play pickleball before hitting the court for a match. There are culinary challenges, like team gourmet pizza building and cocktail challenges. But groups can also organize activities such as ropes courses and bowling off property.
Isla Grand Beach Resort
South Padre Island
Located at the southern end of South Padre Island, Isla Grand Beach Resort is the oldest resort on the island. It opened in 1959 as the Sea Island Resort and changed hands numerous times before being taken private in 2008.
The boutique hotel has 126 hotel rooms that have exterior entrances overlooking the resort’s two swimming pools. The smallest pool is heated, and there are also three whirlpools, two tennis courts, shuffleboard and beach volleyball. In 2022, the resort opened the Key Largo Game Room, which offers pool tables, ping-pong, tabletop arcade games, tabletop shuffleboard, air hockey and a juke box, and Half Deck, a lobby bar that serves craft cocktails.
The Quarter Deck Lounge is the resort’s nightclub, offering live entertainment seven nights a week with the exception of football season.
The resort has just under 10,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, including the 6,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom that can seat 400 for a banquet, and the smaller Palm Ballroom that works well for exhibitions and food functions. An executive boardroom for 10 and a conference room for 30 rounds out the resort’s indoor meeting spaces. Outside, the resort converted two tennis courts into The Sandbar Courtyard. It features a built-in stage and bar with unobstructed views of the beach. It can accommodate up to 600 guests.
For team building, Isla Grand offers water sports, fishing, sandcastle lessons and parasailing.