Disclaimer: The Woodlands Resort provided a complimentary stay for the purposes of this review. All opinions are 100% those of Dallas Single Mom and their affiliates.
We spent a recent summer weekend getaway this past June 2016 from Dallas, TX to experience a family resort vacation. For the family that may want a half day drive to a resort away from Dallas, you may want to head to the Woodlands. The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center is within 30 minutes of downtown Houston. Nestled among the master planned community of the Woodlands by the Howard Hughes Corporation our family enjoyed the feel of being away from it all without actually being away from it all.
As an active family we got to participate in many resort amenities and activities that come with the $25 a day resort fee that they charge guests from May through September. It is a value. With water slides, golfing, tennis, bikes, the spa and more it is a welcoming relief to get away from it all for any active family. There’s more to it than just water slides, the resort is tucked away among 28,000 acres of the Texas Piney Woods and home to two on-site championship golf courses, a tennis center and more. Some features your family may enjoy include:
- The 1,005-foot lazy river and tube slide
- Approximately 406 deluxe guest rooms, including standard rooms, spacious suites and executive accommodations.
- Thirty-six holes of onsite championship golf including rooms along the Panther Trail Golf Course
- Health spa with steam room, sauna, and whirlpool
- Outdoor fire pits (think S’mores) and seating areas with extensive landscaping.
- 5 Swimming Pools with whirlpool, waterfalls and slides including a pool side movie at dusk
- Tennis with 21 courts
- 200 miles of jogging and biking trails
- Use of bicycles for kids and adults
- Robard’s Steakhouse – a 156-seat high-end steakhouse restaurant and lounge adjacent to the 18th hole of the Panther golf course
Woodlands Resort – Resort Fee Policies
As I mentioned earlier that during the months of May through September guest enjoy many amenities under the $25 + tax resort fee added to the daily room rate. These amenities include:
- Guest room internet access
- Access to the Forest Oasis Waterscape, including the new 1,005 foot lazy river
- Access to the fitness center, saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools
- Bike rental (based upon availability)
- Access to golf practice facilities
- Golf bag storage
- Transportation to/from The Woodlands Mall and Market Street
- Health Spa – use of the steam rooms, sauna and private whirlpools
A few of my favorite room amenities are what really stand out for me when staying at this resort. Whether you stay in the deluxe or standard rooms all the views from the room are stunning of the golf course or the pool. All hotel guest rooms feature personal refrigerators, in-room valuables safes, complimentary basic wireless internet access, voice mail, single-serve coffee maker, hair dryer and full-sized iron and ironing board. You awaken with an in room iPad mini and Bath & Body Works products in the bathroom. The beds were very comfortable with triple sheeting.
Spa and Fitness
I spent a large portion of my time at the spa. I received a basic Swedish Massage early on a Saturday morning while the kids went with Dallas Single Dad to be the first to take advantage of the pools and lazy river. Open daily from 8 am to 7 pm, couples and those wanting a luxurious body treatment can get everything they need from the Spa. With a menu of nature-inspired body treatments, relaxing to results-oriented facials and pampering services for the hands and feet there are many amenities available at the spa for an additional charge. Guests choose from signature services such as the nourishing Forest Oasis Body Treatment, organic Age-Defying Mother Nature Facial and restorative Sweet Genius Herbal Manicure. The spa offers separate facilities for men and women with private treatment rooms, changing areas, saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms and whirlpool hot tubs. A luxurious couple’s treatment room is available for a selection of duet body treatments. Included in the resort fee is the use of the saunas, the eucalyptus steam room (my favorite) and the whirlpool hot tubs where I got to relax and read a magazine in peace. Also included with your stay at no additional charge is a 24/7 fitness center with Precor cardiovascular machines, free weights and Hoist strength conditioning equipment. Guests have around-the-clock access so they can maintain their personal workout regimes during their stay. A day at the spa is great for a bachelorette party, girls’ getaway or a couples treat.
If you don’t take advantage of the golf you really should try out your skills. If you have kids you are better off getting a later tee time. There are 36 holes of championship golf on the Panther Trail and The Oaks courses. Panther Trail is the signature course for the resort featuring impressive water features and fairways. The 18th hole was visible from my room and surrounded by a water feature it is also known as the best Par 4 in Houston. With four tee placements on each hole, it’s a sensational experience for golfers of all skill levels. As it wraps around the Forest Oasis Waterscape™, tennis center and restaurants, Panther Trail delivers a true resort course experience. In the middle of towering Oak Trees is The Oaks. Available for all skill levels. Golf Digest has recognized the resort as one of the top 75 best golf resorts in America.
For the tennis enthusiast there are 21 tennis courts to choose from with ten clay, seven outdoor and four indoor courts. They are open Monday – Friday from 8 am – 8 pm and Saturday – Sunday from 8 am – 6:30 pm. Keep your ball and racquet at home since they have them available for rent. There are also pros available for lessons.
Active Life and Walking Trails
Included in the resort fees are the use of bicycles for kids and adults on the 200 miles of trails that surround the property with stunning nature trails also great for jogging and seeing the East Texas piney woods. My kids brought their own scooters and had a ball. Just grab a map to see it all.
Forest Oasis Waterscape
The highlight of the property for active families would have to be the Forest Oasis Waterscape consisting of 5 swimming pools with whirlpools, waterfalls and slides as well as a 1,005 foot lazy river with spiral plunge slide that also accommodates poolside entertainment seasonally. In the center of it all is a 30-foot Tower outfitted with a double-helix water slide, waterfall and underwater marine mural. Kids of all ages will love racing down the slides and participating in underwater scavenger hunts. Near the water slide is the zero-grade entry pool at Puffy’s Sprayground™. While we were there they had face painting, limbo contest and games to keep families busy along with a DJ. A host of weekend activities, such as crafts, karaoke, games and music entertainment, are available and you can also roast s’mores. Get food and drinks at the Cool Water Cafe where we bought the $9 plastic cup that gives you refills on non-alcoholic beverages during your stay and well worth it. Our kids spent much of their time at the pool and it really made up majority of our family time.
The Movie Night at the pool is a popular place for families at night
In this aerial view you can see the winding lazy river and the pool. In the bottom right is the fire pit for s’mores and the 30 foot tower is where the water slides are located.
Food, Dining and Hotel Eats
As I mentioned earlier we did most of our dining at the pool at the conveniently located Cool Water Cafe offering an array of drinks, sandwiches, fresh watermelon and more. With mixed drinks, cocktails and smoothies it is a refreshing respite from the heat. If you would like a casual dining atmosphere and/or a drink you may want to check out The Bistro. There are also pool tables there and a place to lounge. For a truly special dining experience try Robard’s Steakhouse for the perfect cut of steak. Considered to be one of the best restaurants in the Woodlands area, Robard’s prides itself on its attention to hand-selecting each steak. Whole cuts of USDA prime grade beef are dry-aged in-house. The result is perfectly marbleized, juicy and tender beef with a rich depth of flavor. For families you may want to try the breakfast buffet at the Woodlands Dining Room where you can get made to order waffles and omelets along with bacon, sausage, eggs benedict and more. On Saturday nights families can get a family dining experience where kids eat free. The dining room features an extensive buffet, while an impressive exhibition kitchen serves up made-to-order omelets, fresh pastries and breads, rotisserie chicken.
The Woodlands Area Attractions
We spent an afternoon during our stay watching a movie at the Woodlands Town Center. There is a free shuttle that can take you around the area up to and including The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands Mall, Market Street and More.
Overall I thought this was a fantastic family getaway for the active family without actually getting too far away. Many of the resort amenities provide a relaxing escape for families, a girl’s vacation and a couple’s romantic getaway. From Dallas to the Woodlands it is about a 3 hour drive along I-45 South. Average room rates begin at $199 a night and check out the current promotions for more room deals.