Lake Austin Spa Resort is the destination of the rich, famous and those who want to heal their minds and souls with world-class spa treatments. Take our hand as we take a stroll through a peerless experience you’ll have when you visit.
By Lance Avery Morgan
Photography by Lake Austin Spa
You’d have to be living under a rock if you didn’t realize that one of the world’s premiere resorts is in our own region’s backyard, yet It seems like a world away. Picture 19 lakefront acres in the Hill Country that not only offers the luxury of a world-class spa, yet presents the experience as if you were visiting a longtime friend’s vacation lake house.
What was once a fat farm where brides and debutantes would scurry off to when losing that last 10 to 15 pounds before shimmying into their white dresses, Lake Austin Spa Resort has grown up to be the crown jewel of the spa-lirati set here and abroad. Fast forward to now where the several-million dollar 25,000-square-foot expansion and renovation completed in 2004 features an outdoor Palm Pool, hot tub and cabanas, 30 treatment areas, including garden tents and suites, an indoor Junior Olympic-length lap pool in the East Coast-flavored Pool Barn, and two acres of lush water features.
It’s hard to imagine the serenity one encounters here knowing that a booming metropolis hovers nearby, But it is indeed serene. Just driving through the Austin stone gates signifies the pace has slowed down. Way down. Lake Austin Spa Resort seems to sooth the spirit in a casually upscale atmosphere that is surrounded by the quieted grounds, nature and wildlife trails at the edge of the cool, blue body of water that streams by the resort’s namesake, Lake Austin. There is truly something for everyone. Activities can include extensive indoor and outdoor fitness opportunities as well as a plethora of water activities and innovative wellness and discovery programs. Discovery indeed. You’ll discover why this resort is so appealing on many levels.
Not one to rest on its laurels, and there are many, including the highest ratings by Conde Nast Traveler, the resort adds to its repertoire so that repeat visitors feel both the familiarity and inventiveness the resort has to offer. The LakeHouse Spa at Lake Austin Spa Resort offers over one hundred spa and salon treatments and a variety of treatment location options. Want a massage for two in a secluded location? Done. Want to get a facial with European-style products? That’s easy. The best part is that the activities and spa services are designed for men, women and teens age 14 years or older, so bringing a group, as well as experiencing the services alone, are encouraged. In fact, there are so many choices that can be designed around each visit that we like to call it Lake Anything Spa.
The resort’s newest incentive is a program called Quench, which highlights the water water-themed activities such as stand up paddleboarding, Aqua Zumba, sculling, kayaking, boat cruises and Hydro-biking as well as motivating discussions given by Olympic champions and water sports experts who will excite and inspire beginner and experienced water enthusiasts to quench their desire for an array of water adventures. It’s the first program of its kind, combining more than 25 water themed activities into a four-day program.
Lake Austin Spa Resort has abundant organic Healing Gardens, from which herbs are picked daily to be used both in the kitchen and in select spa treatments. More than 1,000 species of plants, herbs, vegetables, spices and wildflowers fill the abundant organic gardens. Lake Austin Spa Resort was among the first to create gardens specifically for growing herbs used in spa treatments. Classes and demonstrations on gardening topics and aromatherapy are offered weekly by the Director of Flora and Fauna, too.
The LakeHouse Spa at Lake Austin Spa Resort offers more than 100 spa and salon treatments and a variety of treatment location options. Activities and spa services are designed for men, women and teens age 14 years or older. Really, though, it’s more than the standard features that create a sense of retreat here. During a multi-million dollar renovation combining high technology and high comfort in early 2008, the spa focused much more about knowing the wants of its discerning clientele. The management and staff listen and welcome feedback to make the experience even better. Part of that listening process incorporates the select spa treatments. for men, women and children aged 14 years or older.
The accommodations reflect the sense of the resort’s mastery for understanding its guests. Once you stroll beyond the front desk area and Living Room across from it had just been completed, you enter the magic. The resort has 40 lakeside guest rooms have a casually elegant décor and furnishings crafted by local artisans while the rooms encourage relaxation. All guest rooms include Egyptian cotton sheets and down comforters, artesian afghan throws and hand-made quilts, Kohler steeping/soaking tubs, spacious writing desks, custom-designed furniture, signature lavender spa amenities, luxury cotton spa robes, high definition digital LCD TV with DVD, iPod docking station with remote control, complimentary high-speed Internet access, remote-controlled ceiling fan and in-room safe and refrigerator. Some suites even have private wildflower gardens and hot tubs. The Lady Bird Suite honors Lady Bird Johnson and includes a sitting room, fireplace, private wildflower garden and hot tub.
Hungry? You’ll get full yet you will likely not gain much weight here. The new
Executive Chef Stéphane Beaucamp comes with a culinary pedigree and serves three delicious healthy meals daily. Dining is available in the resort Dining Room and in the Aster Café at the LakeHouse Spa. Beaucamp approach is blending French influences with local inspirations to cook up healthy creations at the resort. Healthy cooking classes are scheduled throughout the week for those daring to try something new in an interactive way. In the Dining Room, we loved the Friendship tables for guests who want to mingle where there fellow guests they have yet to meet. At the resort, really, every table is a Friendship table since a wildly convivial essence permeates the entire property.
Want a massage, but not like the ho-hum kind you might have had at lesser environments? That’s easy since LakeHouse Spa offers more than 100 massage, body and skincare treatments and therapies. Something for every temperament and preference. Thirty treatment areas are available, including outdoor garden cabanas, screened verandas and private tandem suites. Healing and indigenous treatments, many using the herbs grown in the organic Healing Gardens, are based on ancient principles of aromatherapy, Ayurveda, hydrotherapy, Moortherapy and Thalassotherapy. I had the Deep Healing massage and for about 90 minutes the feeling transcended time and space like only a world-class massage can evoke.
Away from home but still want to release all those great feeling endorphins with the perfect work-out? Step right up. Over 20 activities for all fitness levels are offered daily, ranging from BodyFlow® and Trek & Spin to Gentle Yoga and Nia Dance classes. Other offerings include canoeing, Hydro-biking™, kayaking, sculling, hiking, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Spinning®, meditation and dance. Aquatic aerobics and swimming classes take place in one of three of the resort’s pools, which are never crowded. The fitness training center overlooks Lake Austin and features state-of-the-art cardiovascular, circuit and free weight training equipment. Private sessions with certified fitness professionals are available, too, to gain some expert advice. Afterward, the ladies can saunter into the Iris Salon that offers a selection of luxe hair, make-up and nail services.
The path to whole wellness is through enlightenment, right? The resort’s Discovery programs are designed to approach both the mind and the body enrichment through programs taught by staff and special guest instructors. I was astounded at the choices when presented with the whole spectrum. Discovery classes in healthy cooking, nutrition, communication skills, body image, relationships and sexuality, journaling, crafts, gardening and others are offered regularly by some of the best experts in the region and beyond. Special weeks and seasonal topics include programs such as Gardening for Life, Mother/Daughter, the Culinary Experience™, For the Love of Books Club author series and the Gathering of Wise Women. Special events are also planned around holiday seasons, too. While I was there I attended one by international style expert Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti. Group participation is encouraged at all the activities or if you want to simply be an observer, that is also welcome.
While a world class spa, there’s something for everyone and Lake Austin Spa Resort offers a variety of three-night or longer packages for groups and individuals. Vacation packages include accommodations in one of 40 lakeside guest rooms, three gourmet meals daily, unlimited indoor and outdoor fitness activities and discovery classes, gratuities and a selection of spa treatments based on packages selected and length of stay. If you book your visit now, you’ll de dazzled at the adventures that await you nestled in the hills beyond Austin, yet feels so far away.
For more information:
Lake Austin Spa Resort, 1705 S.
Quinlan Park Road, Austin, Texas
800.847.5637 toll-free or 512.372.7300
or visit Lakeaustin.com