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A San Antonio getaway on top of the hill ,with awesome views, great location!

Sleeps4
Bedrooms 1
Bathrooms1
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 nights

Overview

About the property

Over the years, if you've spent anytime on the IH-10 corridor, you've looked to

Casita on the top of a hill with great views of hill country and San Antonio, home of the Alamo. 5 minutes from Fiesta Texas, La Cantera Shopping Center and the Rim; 20 minutes to downtown, the Riverwalk and SeaWorld; 10 minutes to Boerne. This three-story Casita has a rooftop garden with 360 degree views of San Antonio and the hill country. It has a kitchenette and private dining area, with an outdoor living room in Wifi provided. This hill country property has awesome views, a great location and privacy.

Robyn Barnes

Environments, Rodriguez Home

March/April 2016 edition

12/7/15

The Highs and Lows of a Hilltop Home

Melinda and Rob Rodriguez are a hard-working couple unafraid of adventure. They love traveling in the Far East; serving San Antonio in challenging leadership positions; and living in an aerie on a mountaintop in Leon Springs.

The property has a colorful history. It is located on the west side of Interstate 10, across the highway from Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q. Early in the 1960s, members of the Leon Springs Presbyterian Church erected a 35-foot cross with a 14-foot cross member. Lights were hung on it and church members built a road for worshippers’ use. At night, or in foggy weather, the cross seemed to be suspended from the sky with a string. During Easter Sunday, churchgoers would climb the hill to cross for Easter Sunrise services.

Iranian Ownership

But the church didn’t own the property. In the 1980s, Iranian sheik and international business man Fadhlalla Haeri was traveling on Interstate 10 and saw the hilltop. He thought it would be an excellent location for his family compound, so he purchased the property in 1980.

And removed the cross.

He occupied the main house at the top of the hill and added separate buildings for his three wives, a pavilion for gatherings, and a school for young children. (1) The main house had a guard tower because the sheik was very concerned for his safety. However, it wasn’t assassins that forced his departure. Business investments went sour and it appeared he was in debt to the IRS for millions of dollars. The sheik abandoned the property and it was eventually sold.

Moving on Up

Eventually the property was acquired by Dr. Horacio Pena, a friend of Melinda’s. He was ready to sell in April 2005 and asked Melinda if she and Rob would be interested in buying it.

Melinda drove out to visit. What she saw was the original house. “It was a box with lots of stairs,” she said. “It was not at all energy-efficient and not particularly attractive. I knew it would take a lot of work to make it really livable.”

But the house spoke to her. “I’m a native Filipino,” she says. “In summers, we always left the heat of the city for the cooler temperatures of the mountaintops. This place reminded me so much of where I grew up.”

In spite of the initial attraction to the house, Melinda declined the offer. Six months later, Dr. Pena asked again if Melinda would like to purchase the house. “This time, we said yes,” she recalls. “We sold our house quickly---I thought that was a good sign---and moved here in December.”

The Rodriguez’s own the top three acres of the hill. When they moved in, several of the original dwellings were still standing. “One of the houses was a prayer house and school for the sheik's children. There were small homes across the hill for his other wives and mistresses. A helipad was here, too.”

The main way to the top of the hill is through a locked gate, via a very narrow, bumpy dirt road. The road winds around the hill to the top and parking is scarce. It’s easy to see why the prince felt safe here; no one got in without permission and the panoramic view is spectacular.

The Rodriguez’s painted and patched the old house for five years. “We knew things would have to be repaired but we thought we could manage. Even when we had to dig a 900-foot well, we took it in stride. But when a storm took the roof off, that was it. We knew it was time to make a big change.”

Demolition Time

“It took us a year to create a floorplan,” Melinda says. “We chose Mattern & FitzGerald Custom Homes as our builder.”

One of the first challenges they faced was getting the big demolition equipment up to the construction site. “says. “It’There was no way they could come up the narrow main road,” Melinda remembers. “I had to ask a neighbor on the slope below me if the trucks could go through her property and up a back road to reach us.”

The Rodriguez’s new (6,245 sq ft) design was larger than the original house. “We wanted views on all four sides,” Melinda says. “We wanted a functional design for our family and for entertaining. “

Kitchen Influential

Melinda says half the house is the kitchen and in a way, she’s right. The great room encompasses a huge kitchen, breakfast nook, living and dining area. The adjacent deck has an outdoor kitchen.

“We like the open design for the flow,” Melinda says. “When Rob starts cooking, it’s like watching someone on The Food Network. He’s very entertaining and our guests like to stand around the island to watch him work. “

He’s got a great space to work in. The large island is equipped with a Wolf propane cooktop and disposal sink. There is a traditional sink set in the cabinetry behind the island and a farmhouse sink in the eat-in bar on the opposite side of the kitchen, overlooking the living room.

“We have every appliance you need!” Melinda exclaims, indicating the icemaker, warming drawer, steamer, traditional oven and microwave. The cabinets all offer pull-outs and many are built to hold Rob’s spice collection. Ceiling-height cabinetry displays Melinda’s china and glassware.

A stunning southern vista entertains anyone sitting at the dining table. While the view is marvelous, the dome above the table adds elegance to the ambience. “We wanted to look up and see the stars while we ate but of course, we couldn’t make that work with our design,” Melinda says. “So an artist painted the sky in the dome. I didn’t want a fancy chandelier to interfere with the views, so we hung three Swarovski pendant lights from the center point.”

Masterful Views

The master suite is built on two floors. The master bath is on the main level and overlooks the negative edge pool and spa. Arched windows above the tub overlook land belonging to George Strait. His and hers vanities are at opposite sides of the room.

The shower is one of Melinda’s favorite things in the house. “It has a rain shower head and four jets that are positioned for short Filipinos!” she laughs. A rectangular window allows natural light to stream in over the bather and filter through the heavy glass door.

Across from the hall from the master bath is the Asian room. “It was supposed to be the master bedroom but I wanted to sleep higher up in the house,” she says. This space serves as a sitting room, populated by a large-screen television and comfy wicker sofas.

Rob’s office is tucked into the Asian room. The pocket room features a coffered ceiling and built-in cabinets displaying his collection of miniature militia.

A flight of stairs leads to the master bedroom. “When we designed this room, the architect insisted that we include a small bathroom,” Melinda recalls. “She said we wouldn’t want to go downstairs in the dark late at night to use the restroom---and she was right!”

Instead of a traditional toilet, they installed a bidet, a small much-appreciated luxury. A pedestal sink completes the setup.

A glass door opens onto the balcony. On the right is a small guest suite and a steep flight of stairs. “This part of the house was once the guard tower,” Melinda says. “We kept the tower idea and disposed of the guards.”

At the top of the stairs is a square patio covered in AstroTurf. The patio offers a 360-degree view of San Antonio, the Rim, and the foothills of the Hill Country.

“There is always a breeze up here,” Melindas a great place to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. Sometimes we bring our sleeping bags up here and camp out with the kids.

Kid Space

The Rodriguez children have their own wing, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sunny play room. They have a private patio balcony, big enough for a small party with friends.

“The sunset is beautiful from this balcony,” Melinda says. “I’m not sure the kids enjoy it but I do love the peace I find up here.”

Melinda says one of the best things about the house is its abundance of storage space. “We have attic space over the kids’ rooms and over the garage,” she says. “There’s a huge pantry and a big utility room, as well as an extra guest room. We have a three-car garage, which we’ve converted into an exercise room, a home theater and an office. For once in my life, I do not lack for storage space!”

Melinda and Rob are thinking about a new project---resurrecting the cross that once stood on their property. “Long-time residents tell us it was a beautiful thing and how much they miss it. If we do rebuild it, I’m sure the construction will be another adventure.”

Here's a brief history on the whole property with the main house adjacent to the casita. This is an article by SA Woman's Magazine ,Robyn Barnes for the March-April 2016 edition.

Robyn Barnes

Environments, Rodriguez Home

12/7/15

The Highs and Lows of a Hilltop Home

Melinda and Rob Rodriguez are a hard-working couple unafraid of adventure. They love traveling in the Far East; serving San Antonio in challenging leadership positions; and living in an aerie on a mountaintop in Leon Springs.

The property has a colorful history. It is located on the west side of Interstate 10, across the highway from Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q. Early in the 1960s, members of the Leon Springs Presbyterian Church erected a 35-foot cross with a 14-foot cross member. Lights were hung on it and church members built a road for worshippers’ use. At night, or in foggy weather, the cross seemed to be suspended from the sky with a string. Below

More Details

Property Manager
Melinda Rodriguez
Member since: 2015
Speaks: english, Tagalog
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
100%
Calendar last updated:
November 18, 2017

About Melinda Rodriguez

During Easter Sunday, churchgoers would climb the hill to cross for Easter Sunrise services.

Iranian Ownership

But the church didn’t own the property. In the 1980s, Iranian sheik and international business man Fadhlalla Haeri was traveling on Interstate 10 and saw the hilltop. He thought it would be an excellent location for his family compound, so he purchased the property in 1980.

And removed the cross.

He occupied the main house at the top of the hill and added separate buildings for his three wives, a pavilion for gatherings, and a school for young children. (1) The main house had a guard tower because the sheik was very concerned for his safety. However, it wasn’t assassins that forced his departure. Business investments went sour and it appeared he was in debt to the IRS for millions of dollars. The sheik abandoned the property and it was eventually sold.

Moving on Up

Eventually the property was acquired by Dr. Horacio Pena, a friend of Melinda’s. He was ready to sell in April 2005 and asked Melinda if she and Rob would be interested in buying it.

Melinda drove out to visit. What she saw was the original house. “It was a box with lots of stairs,” she said. “It was not at all energy-efficient and not particularly attractive. I knew it would take a lot of work to make it really livable.”

But the house spoke to her. “I’m a native Filipino,” she says. “In summers, we always left the heat of the city for the cooler temperatures of the mountaintops. This place reminded me so much of where I grew up.”

In spite of the initial attraction to the house, Melinda declined the offer. Six months later, Dr. Pena asked again if Melinda would like to purchase the house. “This time, we said yes,” she recalls. “We sold our house quickly---I thought that was a good sign---and moved here in December.”

Story continued under Why this property ?

Melinda Rodriguez purchased this house in 2005

Why Melinda Rodriguez chose Cielo Vista

The Rodriguez’s own the top three acres of the hill. When they moved in, several of the original dwellings were still standing. “One of the houses was a prayer house and school for the sheik's children. There were small homes across the hill for his other wives and mistresses. A helipad was here, too.”

The main way to the top of the hill is through a locked gate, via a very narrow, bumpy dirt road. The road winds around the hill to the top and parking is scarce. It’s easy to see why the prince felt safe here; no one got in without permission and the panoramic view is spectacular.

The Rodriguez’s painted and patched the old house for five years. “We knew things would have to be repaired but we thought we could manage. Even when we had to dig a 900-foot well, we took it in stride. But when a storm took the roof off, that was it. We knew it was time to make a big change.”

Demolition Time

“It took us a year to create a floorplan,” Melinda says. “We chose Mattern & FitzGerald Custom Homes as our builder.”

One of the first challenges they faced was getting the big demolition equipment up to the construction site. “There was no way they could come up the narrow main road,” Melinda remembers. “I had to ask a neighbor on the slope below me if the trucks could go through her property and up a back road to reach us.”

The Rodriguez’s new (6,245 sq ft) design was larger than the original house. “We wanted views on all four sides,” Melinda says. “We wanted a functional design for our family and for entertaining. “

Kitchen Influential

Melinda says half the house is the kitchen and in a way, she’s right. The great room encompasses a huge kitchen, breakfast nook, living and dining area. The adjacent deck has an outdoor kitchen.

“We like the open design for the flow,” Melinda says. “When Rob starts cooking, it’s like watching someone on The Food Network. He’s very entertaining and our guests like to stand around the island to watch him work. “

Continue below

What makes this house unique

He’s got a great space to work in. The large island is equipped with a Wolf propane cooktop and disposal sink. There is a traditional sink set in the cabinetry behind the island and a farmhouse sink in the eat-in bar on the opposite side of the kitchen, overlooking the living room.

A stunning southern vista entertains anyone sitting at the dining table. While the view is marvelous, the dome above the table adds elegance to the ambience. “We wanted to look up and see the stars while we ate but of course, we couldn’t make that work with our design,” Melinda says. “So an artist painted the sky in the dome. I didn’t want a fancy chandelier to interfere with the views, so we hung three Swarovski pendant lights from the center point.”

Masterful Views

The master suite is built on two floors. The master bath is on the main level and overlooks the negative edge pool and spa. Arched windows above the tub overlook land belonging to George Strait. His and hers vanities are at opposite sides of the room.A glass door opens onto the balcony. On the right is a small guest suite and a steep flight of stairs. “This part of the house was once the guard tower,” Melinda says. “We kept the tower idea and disposed of the guards.”

At the top of the stairs is a square patio covered in AstroTurf. The patio offers a 360-degree view of San Antonio, the Rim, and the foothills of the Hill Country.

“There is always a breeze up here,” Melinda says. “It’s a great place to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. Sometimes we bring our sleeping bags up here and camp out with the kids.

Melinda and Rob are thinking about a new project---resurrecting the cross that once stood on their property. “Long-time residents tell us it was a beautiful thing and how much they miss it. If we do rebuild it, I’m sure the construction will be another adventure.”

Guestbook comments from the manager

Beautiful place for a getaway. We loved the rooftop,the provisions and the view! We had a great place for some time with Jesus!

Thank you!
May 2015
  • 1 of 5

Amenities

Cielo Vista House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
Building Type:
  • house
Meals:
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM / Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
Theme:
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Budget
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
General:
  • Air Conditioning
  • Fireplace ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking ...
  • Towels Provided
Kitchen:
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
Dining:
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
Bathrooms:
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 -
  • 1 Walk-in shower, no bathtub in first floor bedroom only
Bedrooms:
  • 1 Bedroom, Sleeps 4
  • 400 square ft Bedroom 1 sleeps 2 400 square ft Living room has sofa bed that can sleep 2 more people. Stairs going to different floors are external.
Entertainment:
  • Television
Outside:
  • Balcony
  • Deck / Patio
  • Outdoor Grill
Suitability:
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Heated Pool
  • Hot Tub
  • Private Pool
Attractions:
  • botanical garden
  • caves
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • library
  • museums
  • recreation center
  • restaurants
  • theme parks
  • water parks
  • winery tours
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • golf
  • hiking
  • swimming

Reviews

Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(57 traveler reviews)

94% Complete
5% Complete
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A San Antonio getaway on top of the hill ,with awesome views, great location!
average rating of 4.9473686 based on 62 reviews
5

A beautiful Casita with great sunset views!

  • 5 of 5

We had a great stay!

  • Submitted: Oct 4, 2017
  • Stayed: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Glad you enjoyed the casita! Thank you!
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0
Early texas
5

It was a great way to visit San Antonio! Quiet and relaxing. Better than a hotel setting.

  • 5 of 5

Property was clean and well kept. Easy access and nice views. Only a few minutes from the Rim, La Canters and 1604. It was a great way to visit San Antonio without being in a hotel with other people.

  • Submitted: Aug 24, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0
5

Peaceful

  • 5 of 5

Peaceful, and beautiful scenery. Owners really respect the privacy and helpful. I recommend it for couples.

  • Submitted: Aug 22, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Awesome!! Thank you for staying in the casita !
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0 0
5

The views were priceless!

  • 5 of 5

We loved the views and the breeze! It felt so secluded yet was only minutes to everything. The pool was also amazing. Our only down fall was we were expecting the kids to have a place to sleep but the set up wasn't great for small children as you have to walk up steep external stairs to the second room that has the pull out couch. Not good for a 3 year old explorer. For a couples getaway or even with older children I definitely recommend it!

  • Submitted: Aug 2, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for such a great review. For smaller kids, there is an air mattress that is available upon request for kids to use in same bedroom in first floor . So sorry, this option was not presented to you.
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Victoria
5

Beautiful views & refreshing pool with spa.

  • 5 of 5

This is a unique property with amazing views and a resort like feel. We were a little concerned about our privacy with the casita being right next to the main house but this was not the case. The owners were very respectful of our privacy and responsive to our text questions. My wife and I really enjoyed our stay! The pool and spa were very nice. We also enjoyed stargazing from the rooftop terrace aling with watching the fireworks show from Fiesta Texas that was displayed every night from 9:15-9:30.

  • Submitted: Jul 30, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for your great review! I always forget to include fireworks display as an added value to guests staying in casita !
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5

Excellent stay!!

  • 5 of 5

Beautiful location with stunning views and wonderful pool and hot tub. Owner was responsive and provided clear instructions. We will stay again!!

  • Submitted: Jul 23, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Map

Car: necessary

5 minutes away from the newly opened Top Golf San Antonio.

Photos

Rates & Availability

Available
Unavailable
Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Pet Fee $25
Property Damage Protection $59
Tax Rate 16.75%

Manager's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 7 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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