A trip to Lake Austin Spa Resort is pure paradise. Just 45 minutes outside of downtown Austin, this wellness-centric retreat leaves honky-tonks and barbecue far behind for the serene quiet of a lakefront setting, superb low-calorie cuisine, more than 100 spa treatments and 40-plus fitness activities each day. Although there’s much to keep you busy during your stay, here are our five favorite things about Lake Austin Spa Resort.
1. Guilt-free gourmet dining. All-inclusive pricing includes three meals daily from Lake Austin’s acclaimed French chef, Stephane Beaucamp. Take your meals anywhere you desire — from the patio or your room’s private garden to the main dining hall or the Aster Café, the perfect place to grab a quick bite pre- or post-treatment. In every dining space, there’s even a large communal friendship table geared toward single travelers. While the cuisine is certainly low-calorie, it’s anything but low on the indulgence factor. Beaucamp lightens up favorite dishes such as pizza, steak and pancakes by using only the freshest ingredients and low-fat creams, cheeses and oils wherever possible. Expect dishes such as a daily frittata or smoked salmon and a bagel for breakfast, an open-faced hummus-and-guacamole sandwich at lunch, and an herb-crusted filet mignon with mushrooms, asparagus and shallot-capers jus at dinner, almost all of which is under 400 calories per entrée. Inventive appetizers (yellowfin tuna tartare, anyone?) and even desserts such as blueberry cobbler ensure you never feel anything less than fully satisfied — especially when you get a peek at the beer and wine selection (think Far Niente chardonnay and Fat Tire Amber Ale).
2. Rock the robe and expect an electronics-free lifestyle. Leave the heels at home. Lake Austin Spa robes and flip-flops are given to every guest on arrival, and you’re welcome to wear them anywhere you choose — even in the dining room. Workout gear is the preferred dress code for those who want to get a bit more fancy-pants. The only thing not allowed is your cell phone — use is prohibited outside of your guest room so that guests can truly relax and enjoy the spa ambiance anywhere on the grounds. Take advantage of it — read a book in one of the lakeside hammocks or curl up with a magazine in the resort’s living room. But don’t worry if you can’t put down your devices for the whole trip. Rooms offer free Wi-Fi and cable TVs.
3. Spa bliss. There’s a reason Lake Austin has the word “spa” in its name. Day guests and overnight visitors alike flock to the 25,000-square-foot, 30-room sanctuary offering an extensive menu of more than 100 treatments geared toward pampering every inch of your body. Begin your treatment by the pool before retreating to the his-and-hers locker areas, where you’ll find your basic array of saunas, steams and whirlpools, or a little relaxation time in the Blue Room, a massive living room-style space featuring cozy couches, comfy chairs and an array of coffee table books we’d die for (Austin Then and Now; Opera: Composers, Works, Performers; and Reflection of a Man: The Photographs of Stanley Marcus, to name a few). Many overnight packages include 50- or 80-minute treatments daily, or day guests can splurge on signature rituals such as the 110-minute Tour of Texas, a scrub-wrap-massage combination featuring a local prickly pear scent that left us practically drifting back to our cottage in pure euphoria.
4. Fitness for every level. It’s easy to begin a new fitness routine or enhance an existing one in the more than 20 different classes offered at the resort. From yoga and Pilates to spinning and water aerobics, you’ll find all of your traditional gym offerings, plus full access to water sports on the lake, where you can enjoy stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, or a weekly boat tour and nature hike. Personal training is also available for those who want a more private approach, but we found that even the group classes offered a very individualized style.
5. Discovery Programs and theme weeks. We’ll admit that the workout-spa-eat-sleep routine might get old after a few days, but the resort’s “Discovery Programs,” offered in both mornings and evenings, guaranteed we never got bored. Seminars and classes include titles such as “Transforming Stress,” “Master Your Metabolism” and even cooking classes. Healthy pretzels or homemade ravioli, anyone? Don’t miss special theme weeks, either, including focus areas on culinary, mother-daughter getaways or even a January weekend geared toward Downton Abbey.
Photos Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort