Rejuvenation, relaxation and wellness Texas style is the name of the game at the Lake Austin Resort Spa. I recently made a quick solo getaway to make a jump start on the path to wellness at this Condé Nast Traveler Gold List Platinum Circle destination. Expecting a charming location, I never quite expected all this.
After my long drive from Houston, I was greeted by a warm and friendly staff who whisked away my bags and gave me a quick orientation to the property and their offerings. One of the perks, I learned early on, was if you sign up for their Monarch Club (free of charge, just simply provide your contact info) you receive a lovely hand stitched tote bag and signature flip flops to use during your stay and to take home as souvenirs.
The river view rooms are petit bungalows with private front porches which set the mood for a homey but elegant feel. The bed linens were soft layers of high thread count sheets and duvets atop very comfortable mattresses. When I sank into bed each night it was lights out in no time for the atmosphere was conducive to falling asleep easily. The green and blue palette of my room was so soothing that I hated to leave each morning, but I knew that more tranquility could be found outdoors as well.
Breakfast was served either by room service or in the dining room per individual choice. I preferred to eat in the lovely sunlit restaurant overlooking the tranquil landscape that lines the entire property. Healthy options are served at every meal and the portions are not Texas sized – they are spa sized and each menu item lists the caloric intake to facilitate making healthier choices. There was a sign-up sheet at the front desk for those traveling alone who would prefer to not dine solo and a table is reserved for those who wanted companions for meals. It’s a thoughtful way to have guests meet one another without being forced into some group activity.
There is a small water activity center with daily excursions on the lake by power boat or for those who wish to exercise on their own there are hydro bikes and paddle boards. I loved taking the hydro bike out for a spin for photo safaris each day. The birds, fish and animals I encountered from the safety of my bike were breathtaking. Of course, there was a large indoor exercise room with classes and instruction for those who prefer to sweat, but that’s not my style.
Up by the spa there is a huge indoor lap pool under the roof of an old barn, which lets you know you are indeed in Texas, and was warm even on the cold rainy day I was there. Next to the indoor pool was a second pool outdoors with cabanas and lounge chairs tucked in amongst the wild flowers and plants that line the pathways and add privacy for all. The blooming flowers meant there were gorgeous Monarch butterflies everywhere. Nothing says “I’m free!” more than watching butterflies flit about seemingly carefree.
Each building at Lake Austin Resort Spa was purposely built for the activities housed in them. The spa building, while grand, was broken up into smaller areas that creates a sense of peace and a feeling like you have the whole place to yourself. The outside terrace has both sun and shade and has an area off the spa restaurant where in good weather the chef prepares meals on the grill. All the buildings have large or small rooms for reading, chatting or self meditation.
Inside the spa, treatment rooms are spacious and have a heavenly scent that relaxes the mind and body before the actual treatment begins. The waiting area boasts a large fireplace with lounge chairs and comfy blankets to cozy up in while waiting for your turn in heaven. The options are plentiful and range in a variety of traditional massage techniques and the latest most technologically advanced procedures.
French Chef Stephane Beaucamp is in charge of the gastronomy at the entire resort. His philosophy of cooking is; to be as fresh and organic as possible; to serve proportions that are responsible sized and to please the palette at all times. I took a cooking class with him in the large demonstration room where we learned options to replace sugary, fattening ingredients with more healthy alternatives. He is happy to answer any questions and provides guests with tons of recipes to take home that are easy to make upon your return. He grows most of the vegetables and spices on the premises in the large garden and supplements the rest with organic options from his trusted suppliers.
One thing that struck me as truly unique was that while the hotel was completely full and the spa does service local clients, it seemed like I had the place to myself. Only at meals could I tell there were loads of other people staying on the property. Because there was a plethora of options for activities spread throughout the acres and many lounge areas, we all found a slice of heaven that we could cherish for ourselves.
Some women took advantage of the nutrition and dietary classes, some exercised like they needed to fit into their red carpet dress next week, but I found a good balance for my comfort zone and enjoyed every minute of it!
While I was a guest of the Lake Austin Resort Spa, the opinions are completely my own. FYI, it’s an all inclusive so your meals are included as well as snacks and beverages minus alcohol I did imbibe with a little bottle of champagne each night. After all, what is relaxation without bubbles?!