Lake Austin Spa
Lake Austin Spa
Distance from Dallas: 3 hours, 15 minutes or 199 miles
Cost: Rates starting at $595 per night, per person
Covid-19 measures in place: daily temperature checks for employees and guests, physical distancing and occupancy limits at restaurants, increased cleaning using superior high-grade products, and masks required. Find out more here.
This beautiful, 40-room boutique hotel is nestled on the banks of Lake Austin and feels like it could very well be on the cover of Veranda any month out of the year. Its 19 acres give you plenty of wide open spaces, allowing you to explore nature, refresh at the spa, or challenge yourself at one of the resort’s various fitness activities. It’s not every day that you get to aqua stretch via myofascial release in a pool barn, ya know? An all-inclusive-style resort, a night here includes a laundry list of amenities, however, a standout has to be the magical meals (more on that below).
Things I cannot stop thinking about:
1. The Interior Design
If you’re interested in seeing the sophistication of the Texas Hill Country on perfect display in all of her glory, tour one of the nine recently renovated rooms. They feature fabrics sourced from India and London, one-of-kind art and the perfect balance of old and new. The vibe is relaxed and residential, but it also manages to feel elevated and elegant. My favorite common rooms on the property? It’s a tie between the living room—which feels so cozy and close to the water that you are convinced you are aboard a yacht sailing down the Danube—and the garden library, which is just begging for an afternoon tea party. Pinkies up, ladies.
2. The Pet Policy
Although kids under the age of 14 are not allowed, guests are always welcome to bring their dogs. Because let’s face it, for the majority of us dog lovers, the best therapists have four legs and a tail. Lake Austin Spa Resort even goes so far as to offer pet-focused amenities that include beds, bowls, a chef-inspired dog menu and even a turndown treat each night. Want to take your dog out to explore the grounds? Play by the water with the toy your pooch gets upon arrival or take him/her to the local trails within Steiner Ranch. This is a big bonus for people who don’t want to leave man’s best friend at home.
3. The Farm-to-Fork Flavors
Executive chef Stéphane Beaucamp prepares seasonal foods with French influences that are so loaded with flavor, texture and color you’ll rave about them for weeks after your stay. You get three meals a day, so make them count. My recommendations? Start the morning with a Ladybird Bowl, which is packed with quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, Portobello mushrooms, sunflower seeds, broccoli sprouts and a sunny side up egg. Work up a sweat after a hydro bike session on the lake? Refuel with yellowfin tuna poke tacos or go with a smaller selection from the salad bar if you like to save plenty of room for dinner. Try the 44 Farms sirloin steak served with zucchini spaghetti, broccoli puree, sautéed yellowfin potatoes, radish and wine merchant sauce. Also, pro tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of the complimentary coffees, teas, and smoothies in all of the dreamy lakeside locations.
Distance from Dallas: 3 hours or 191 miles
Cost: Rates starting at $529 per night, per person
Covid-19 measures in place: Physical distancing, masks required, GBAC STARTM cleanliness and training accreditation, trained hygiene and wellbeing leaders at all locations, panel of trusted medical advisors including the Cleveland Clinic and flexible cancellations. Find out more here.
Perched above Lake Travis on 220 acres, this place is nothing short of a spiritual oasis. Its whole interior design scheme is based on the luxe, lush surroundings, and the resort sticks to a modern spa vibe in its 117 guestrooms. Although not included in the rates, most packages come with credits that can be used at the spa.
What exactly is included in your stay? The list is long, with daily amenities ranging from unlimited yoga and meditation to access to the more than 50 wellness classes and lectures. Your rate also includes unlimited meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages in the restaurant, which is basically the chicest cafeteria you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Vegan crab cakes? Pineapple matcha smoothies? Edamame guacamole? Okkkkurt! I was culinarily shook.
Things I cannot stop thinking about:
1. Hall-of-Fame-Worthy Beds
When I tell you that this was the most comfortable bed that I have ever slept in in my life, I am not being dramatic. I fell into said bed to give it a quick test the moment I checked in and knew it was going to yield a wonderful night’s rest. However, it was not until I crawled into it later that evening that I realized that I would, indeed, book this room again simply just to sleep. The bed was THAT great. Major pro tip: I found that you can actually purchase the bedding online. Is it too early to put together a Christmas list?
2. Outside-of-the-Box Experiences
This is an adults’ summer camp on (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, super healthy) steroids. Anyone who wants to do things outside of their normal life, be it physically or spiritually, will not be let down here. The programming list is incredibly diverse, with activities ranging from a private cleansing ceremony to challenge courses to beekeeping classes and everything in between. Next time one of the equine adventures is definitely at the top of my list. A favorite from my stay had to have been the aerial silks class at sunset in the yoga barn. Pure magic. While there, don’t miss the Life in Balance Spa either. It is next level, with offerings like a traditional hot stone massage and more unique services, like Vasudhara—a 50-minute stretching service where you receive a Thai massage while blindfolded in a heated, outdoor pool.
3. Free-to-Be Environment
Whether with a group, a spouse, a best friend or completely alone, it was refreshing to see everyone just “being.” I began my stay in yoga pants and a t-shirt and ended my time walking around in a bathrobe. Why is this important? Maybe it’s not. But for me, I loved the freedom to completely relax, and all the money in the world can’t make a wellness spa truly make you feel zen. It either has it or it doesn’t, and Miraval Austin definitely has that special sauce that makes people feel at peace. Even if you arrive anything BUT at peace with yourself or others, there are activities and classes to get you there or at least headed in that direction.
So…What’s the bottom line?
If you have the time and the money, the short answer is to go experience them both at some point in your life. While Lake Austin Spa and Miraval Austin equally encourage inner and outer wellness, the feel of each places is entirely different. Any traveler would undoubtedly enjoy the intricacies of both properties. That said, most must make a choice because for the vast majority of travelers neither time or money is overflowing.
If you are someone who feels the most at peace when close to water and/or can feel your heart skip a beat when a property’s interior design knocks it out of the park, then head to Lake Austin Spa. The property is uniquely cozy, and the food feels personal as if created just for you. Grandmillennials, this is the weekend of wellness you have been waiting for.
If you could take or leave proximity to the water (looking at it from afar via a killer infinity pool will suffice) and you are all about embarking on a spiritual staycation with yourself or others through activities, yoga, and cool cafeteria-style dining, give Miraval a try. The Gwyneth Paltrow within you will salute this choice.
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