Chill Time In Texas At Lake Austin Spa Resort

  • Tuesday, January 30, 2024
  • Ann N. Yungmeyer

A few years ago, I began a tradition of taking a renewal retreat in January, justifiably as my birthday month and to jumpstart healthy New Year intentions. While a cozy mountain escape to the Smokies suits me well, warm and sunny destinations have a bit more getaway appeal in winter. This year, my daughter joined me at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas, known for its small resort feel and big slate of wellness activities. The warm weather eluded us, but freezing temperatures and biting wind aside, the resort delivered in all aspects of relaxation and renewal.

The property boasts a peaceful, waterfront setting on Lake Austin, facing steep wooded hills on the opposite shore. It began as a rustic fishing camp in the 1940s, and its colorful history includes time as a nudist camp, then a rodeo camp housing cowboys and rodeo clowns, a weight-loss camp, and finally becoming a spa resort in the 90s. New ownership, expansion and extensive renovation transformed it into the luxury wellness retreat it is today, offering a variety of experiences and attractive outdoor spaces.

A boat taxi can be pre-arranged to shuttle guests by water to the resort from downtown Austin, but my daughter and I arrived by Uber, which was a 30-minute ride from the city. We were greeted at check-in with a glass of Prosecco to enjoy by the cozy fire in the living room while our bags were delivered to our room. Our host gave us a short property tour and a schedule of activities and events that we could choose during our weekend stay.

In the main lodge, we were never far from mesmerizing lake views with the living room, dining room, lounge and fitness space overlooking the water. The 40 guest rooms are situated in a row behind the lodge, many with lake or garden views. Throughout the resort, well-appointed interiors offer a mix of Hill Country chic and cottage-style flair. Casual comfort reigns, with the intent for guests to “feel at home.”

In addition to the spa, recreational activities are a major draw at the resort: water sports, lake cruises, guided hikes, yoga, fitness classes and presentations such as culinary demonstrations and live music. Choosing among the nearly 20 options offered each day had us reminiscing back to summer camp, with more fun than we could ever fit in. I enjoyed yoga, Tai Chi, candlelight sound therapy and water aerobics, and spent extra time floating in the indoor pool, which is inside a converted barn. Rising steam on the warm water and piped-in classical music made for a very soothing ambience inside the beautiful wood structure.

Resort guests can access the grand LakeHouse Spa through a handsome wooden gate leading to a whimsical, S-curved garden path that will prime your senses for the spa experience. You’ll hear the gate’s iron latch click behind you, then the whooshing sound of waterfall as you wind your way amid terraced foliage to the spa building. Enjoy the stroll, or shortcut the traverse by way of large, well-placed rock steps.

It’s tempting to spend all day at the spa with its many treatment and leisure options, including an outdoor pool and whirlpool, a boutique and the Aster Café, a good choice for lunch. There are 30 treatment areas to accommodate an extensive menu of massage and body treatments, Comfort Zone facials, myofascial release and energy work, foot therapies and more. The lovely wood paneled “Blue Room” is a design showpiece and a favorite quiet space to relax in your robe before and after treatments. Spa day passes are available for non-resort guests.

Lake Austin Spa Resort is all-inclusive with delicious meals, refreshments, fruit and fresh baked snacks, always available. Alcoholic beverages are offered at extra charge. The resort takes pride in serving healthy, nutritious Hill Country cuisine, with fresh produce and herbs from the large organic garden on property. Chef Stephane Beaucamp offers a seasonally changing menu along with daily specials. Our favorites included the breakfast tacos and tropical smoothies, beautiful lunchtime power salads, and pan-roasted salmon with Morito chili sauce on the dinner menu.

While we experienced an extreme Texas cold snap during our stay, Austin typically has mild to chilly days in winter. Spring and late fall are ideal times to visit according to the locals, and summer is generally hot. Regardless of the season, Lake Austin Spa Resort offers a pleasant vibe and plenty of revitalizing experiences to enjoy anytime of year. I'll save paddle boarding, yoga alfresco and the lovely outdoor pools for another visit.

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