In the heart of Texas Hill Country, on a serene section of the Colorado River, the famously luxurious Lake Austin Spa Resort might be just half an hour from Austin’s city center, but it feels miles away from anywhere, an oasis surrounded by ruggedly beautiful wilderness. And that’s intentional: the destination spa caters to every need and whim, offering a daily calendar of outdoor activities and educational talks and classes and serving healthy and locally-sourced cuisine. Spa treatments are not included in the rate—which, it’s worth noting, starts at a three-night minimum stay—but use of the spa’s two pools and other pampering facilities are, and it’d be a shame not to sample at least one of its more than 100 natural treatments.
But the best part about the resort is that, once you’re there, no one cares what you do. Take advantage of the packed schedule and spa offerings, or just claim a poolside lounger, take a walk along the lake, or read a book in the fragrant organic garden. Relaxation means something different to everyone, after all.
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Nearly a 40-minute drive from downtown, Lake Austin Spa Resort is no city retreat. Instead, the picturesque Texas Hill Country is the neighborhood here, the glassy lake a thoroughfare for exploring, the resort’s spa treatments and classes the adventures of any given day. And, since rates are all-inclusive, there’s really no reason to leave. While in the area, though, oenophiles should visit some of the Hill Country’s vineyards to taste the local vintages, as the resort’s focus on healthy living means a more limited wine selection.
Need to Know
Rooms: 40 rooms, one suite. From $2,328 per person for a three-night, all-inclusive stay. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: As a spa resort, the hotel focuses on fresh, healthy cuisine, and many of the ingredients come from the on-site organic garden. Three meals daily are included in the rate, as well as snacks and nonalcoholic drinks; all meals are served in the lakefront main dining room, and the Aster Café at the spa offers fresh salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads for lunch. Any meal can be ordered as room service for private dining on most rooms’ breezy patios. Cooking classes are also included in the myriad activities at the resort, taught by executive chef Stéphane Beaucamp. And, not to worry, wine and beer can be ordered for an additional fee. Spa and gym details: The renowned LakeHouse Spa is a destination in its own right, a sprawling complex with two pools, steam rooms and hot tubs, 30 treatment rooms (including garden cabanas), and over 100 treatments that run the gamut from Ayurveda to Thalassotherapy and use herbs from the hotel’s garden. As for a gym, sticking to the fitness center would mean missing out on the more than 20 free activities offered daily, from canoeing to yoga, hydro-biking to dance. Sessions with personal trainers can also be arranged, and a schedule of activities can be organized in advance to help guests reach personal fitness goals.
Who's it best for: Lovers of luxury, healthy living, and the great outdoors. The resort caters especially to girls’ getaways, though couples and families with teenaged children are also welcome. Our favorite rooms: Overlooking the lake, the Luxury Lakeview rooms—renovated in 2014—have a modern French-countryside look and private patios with unobstructed views of the water for lazing away the afternoon or enjoying a quiet breakfast. Also redesigned in 2014, the Luxury Garden rooms have vaulted 12-foot ceilings, California king beds, private meditation gardens, and a porch looking out toward the water. Don't forget: In addition to the full complement of fitness activities, the resort offers a range of Discovery Programs that are also included in the rate. These include gardening and painting classes, stress and health workshops, live music sessions, author talks, and more.