Set on 19 acres about a half-hour northwest of Austin, this friendly destination spa has great food, terrific programming, and a large, lavish spa. Traveling alone? Lake Austin Spa Resort is an easy place to meet other people. The clientele tends to be Texas ladies who have money but are never snooty. As for the staff, expect a friendly "Yes ma'am!" when you make a request.
LakeHouse Spa, the huge, yellow limestone spa at the top of a hill, is open to the public as well as guests. But Lake Austin Spa Resort has a separate entrance for overnight guests, who enter a gate into their own special world, with access to the lake, their own pool in a gorgeous barn-style building, exercise studios, lectures, classes and exclusive restaurant.
Just 40 rooms are laid out along an arbor-lined walkway, each with a little sun porch, and beautifully decorated in a fresh, modern, refreshingly feminine style. Fourteen lakeview rooms have silk-trimmed linen swag canopies over the beds and a soothing taupe, teal and sage color palette. Luxury garden rooms are perfect for solo travelers and couples, with glorious 12-foot wooden architectural ceilings.
The rooms are small because of the resort's unique history: it dates from the 1940’s and was a modest facility popular with fishermen, nudists, and cowboys at various times! But the rooms are cozy, comforting and up-to-date. Prices for the luxury garden rooms start around $2400 per person (double occupancy), for three nights and include all meals, fitness classes and activities.
On The Waterfront
Lake Austin Spa Resort makes the most of its waterfront location, with kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding and pontoon boat tours on the long, narrow lake. Like the yoga, dance, lectures, and garden tours (more than 20 activities per day), the waterfront activities are available only to overnight guests. Food is a particular strength here. Guests are also welcome at his cooking classes, a staple of the spa programming. Executive Chef Stéphane Beaucamp blends influences from his native France with local inspiration to cook up healthy creations for the lakefront dining room.
The dining room is intimate and looks right over the lake–gorgeous.
The LakeHouse Spa
The yellow limestone spa at the top of a hill–open to the public for spa treatments–is gorgeous. You can bask in the buff in a clothing-optional outdoor garden, with a stone fountain and outdoor shower, or get outdoors massage in a large screened porch where you can enjoy the delicious drift of warm air from a ceiling fan.
It has over 100 treatments, including some new ones like The Inner Strength Massage, which helps to "uplift spirits for those who have experienced a personal trauma in life and are challenged by lack of energy, confidence or with the inability to see past their circumstance."
Lake Austin Spa Resort also has an acupuncturist who can make massage-resistant knots melt away, with or without needles. The Tour of Asia calls upon acupuncture and/or hari (a needle-free, non-invasive option), moxibustion, cupping and tapping in a personalized treatment.
An event series called "Aster After Dark" grants Austinites access to the spa at least one evening a month, when the doors to Aster Cafe will open to the public. The events range from seated dinners to educational programming with visiting chefs, sommeliers, and other high-profile guests.
There's a new way to get to the spa, too. A fun water taxi service pick you up from a predesignated location–including Oyster Landing and the Pennybacker Bridge, or, if you're a waterfront resident, your own home–and take you to the spa. The only downside to Lake Austin Spa Resort is the lack of great hiking from the spa itself. Development has cut off trails and you have to drive to greenways that pass by all the homes that have built up in this highly desirable suburb of Austin. Then again, most of the great hiking spas don't have all that water.
Contact Info: Lake Austin Spa Resort 1705 South Quinlan Park Road, Austin, Texas, 78732, 1-800-847-5637, www.lakeaustin.com