Waco Makes Its Mark as Top Texas Getaway Destination

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Luxury travelers are spreading their wings, ready to spend over $1.2 trillion on the world’s hottest destinations this year. But who says you must travel across the globe to enjoy an extravagant getaway? Nestled in the heart of Texas, Waco offers a surprising plethora of amenities within convenient driving distance of millions of people looking to take their weekend getaway up a notch.

Small Town Charm Surrounded by Booming Metropolises

Waco is smack dab in the center of the mega-region known as the Texas Triangle. Bordered by the five largest cities in Texas – Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio – the “Texaplex” boasts more than 20 million residents, putting 75% of the state’s population within a few hours’ drive of the city.

Waco
Waco

Being within the Texas Triangle, Waco offers a location convenient to the bustling activity within Texas yet maintains the small-town charm that makes a getaway feel indulgent. Waco offers Texans a close-to-home opportunity and delivers on the definition of luxury.

From Shabby Chic Beginnings to a Tourist Mecca

While Waco still has a small-town feel, it has grown tremendously in recent years. Most people outside of Texas know Waco for the Magnolia brand created by HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.

People worldwide fell in love with the creativity and charm of the husband and wife team on the TV series Fixer Upper. In 2015, Chip and Joanna opened their own store to offer their modern farmhouse vibe to the masses.

Magnolia Market started as a single storefront but has grown to span two city blocks, completely transforming downtown Waco. Magnolia’s flagship location is truly the Disney World of Waco.

The grounds are pristinely maintained, and no detail is spared in pursuit of the perfect experience. There are boutique shops, food trucks, a coffee shop, a bakery, a garden, and even baseball fields.

When Magnolia Market opened its doors, tourism more than doubled from 789,000 people in 2015 to 2.1 million a year later. Tripadvisor even ranked Waco #2 on its list of best destinations on the rise in 2018, as the Magnolia brand hit peak popularity.

In 2022, the Waco metropolitan area attracted more than $770 million in travel spending, creating thousands of jobs and attracting even more business owners to the booming tourist destination.

More Than a “Fixer Upper”: Luxury Accommodation in The Heart of Waco

Chip and Joanna are still hard at work reshaping Waco into their vision. They plan to elevate the Waco experience with their latest project, an upscale development called Hotel 1928.

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The completely renovated hotel will include 33 rooms, a restaurant, a ballroom, an event space, and a rooftop terrace to enjoy the downtown Waco views. Fans of Fixer Upper will even be able to watch the hotel’s transformation on a new series Fixer Upper: The Hotel, which will debut in November.

Chip and Joanna reassure future guests that the hotel will be a place of genuine hospitality, unique charm, and a feeling of home. There is no doubt that this historic, Moorish-style building will provide an experience of grandeur.

While the Gaines’ started the ball rolling, Waco’s nascent luxury tourism boom has started to gain steam even without their help. One example is Pivovar, an authentic Czech-inspired hotel that creates the feeling of a European getaway right in Waco.

The hotel prides itself on the quality of its hospitality and exceeds expectations with the level of attention and service. Each room comes furnished with antique furniture that stays true to the Czech setting they have managed to create. You can enjoy quality food and even live music with a restaurant in-house.

The uniqueness of a brewery in the center of the hotel, visible from all points, offers a unique experience.

You can enhance your luxurious stay by treating yourself at Pivovar Beer Spa. Yes, beer. The Czech people have prized beer baths for their skin-enhancing qualities for centuries. You can reserve a private room with beautifully designed copper bathtubs to unwind in a bubble-filled beer and hops mixture.

Soothing music plays in the background, and a bathroom and shower are all within your private room. A menu for ordering beer or wine flights and a charcuterie board to complete the experience is available.

A Taste of Texas

In the past few years, a downtown renaissance has begun, sparked by the location of Magnolia Market and nearby development. Beautifully revitalized historic buildings invite you into the perfect ambiance for an upscale dining experience.

With its unique and sophisticated blend of restaurants, the eclectic energy of downtown Waco feels like a younger Austin in its scrappier start-up days.

One standout is 1424 Bistro, which offers an exquisite Mediterranean menu and an old-world feel. You can enjoy your special meal in the outdoor courtyard, or there are plenty of seating options inside.

Nearby, Z’s at the Curry is an upscale lounge bar that provides a classic and upscale vibe. The husband and wife owners pay attention to all the details, from the beautiful glassware to the high-quality ingredients. Z’s at the Curry defines trendy and is the place to be to experience Waco’s nightlife on the weekends.

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If you are willing to drive a little further, One Thirty Five Prime is worth the short travel time outside of downtown Waco for an authentic Texas steakhouse experience.

Walk behind the brick walls, and a beautiful courtyard with outdoor seating greets you. Once inside, the tablecloths and dim lighting will spark your anticipation of a memorable meal with friends or loved ones.

Back in downtown, the brand new wine bistro, Segovia, offers the elegance of fine wine in an intimate environment. The Spanish influence lets Texans experience traditional tapas and wine varieties from Portugal and Spain. Nothing says luxury like a private wine bar with incredible food.

Drink in The Landscape

If you want the full wine experience, you can drive thirty minutes outside of downtown Waco and feel as if you have been transported to a vineyard in Southern Italy.

Valley Mills Winery is a family-run winery with beautiful grounds and high-quality wine. The secluded vineyard spans hundreds of acres, making you forget city life and enjoy the soothing landscape of rolling hills.

The winery is meticulous in caring for its 100% Texas-grown grapes. Their love for viticulture is evident in their attention to detail in producing rich, complex-flavored wine. The winery uses a unique process to graft a Texas-native vine with a European plant so the two can grow as one.

The grafting process allows the Texas plant to safeguard the new plant from local insects and diseases, while the European variety enhances the characteristics of the grape. The winery offers tasting and touring options. The relaxing environment offers a laid-back Texas feel that encourages people to sit awhile and enjoy the experience.

Extravagance in The Heart of Texas

Waco is full of surprises, with countless high-end restaurants, local shops, and boutique hotels. Carla Pendergraft, director of marketing for the Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau, notes that “visitors to Waco can enjoy a true luxury experience.From staying at one of Texas’ top-rated boutique hotels and finishing the day enjoying a beer spa, Waco is the place to have a unique high-end vacation stay.”

While you are traveling up and down the Texas Triangle, make sure to stop by Waco to enjoy a luxury weekend getaway.

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