Trip Carter, center, with Jenny Block, left, and her wife, Robin Brown
Lake Austin Spa Resort offers everything you need for a perfect getaway
JENNY BLOCK | Contributing Writer
Lake Austin Spa Resort is just a few short hours away from DFW, but it feels worlds apart from reality. The minute you enter the gates, you can feel your breathing slow down. The property is deliciously serene, and the staff makes you feel as if you’re coming home to your own personal retreat.
The lakeside resort offers so many activities that it’s like summer camp for adults — although you could certainly spend your time doing nothing at all. It’s that duality that I love so much. I went from class to class, and my wife caught up on work in a gorgeous setting, and our friend lounged by the pool.
You don’t need much when it comes to packing. I brought three yoga sets from Target and a couple of tank tops.
There are a ton of classes at the resort that you won’t want to miss, as well as plenty of opportunities to hike if it’s not too blasted hot. When it is so hot out, I like to keep the room really cold, so I also brought the Smitten zip-up boyfriend hoodie and shorts from Boys Lie (which are the softest sweats you’ll ever melt into. The set is especially close to my heart because they are a fundraiser for The Trevor Project).
I packed a handful of sundresses, too, to dress for dinner. But you certainly don’t have to dress for dinner if you don’t want to; spa robes and workout clothes can be spotted at dinner on any given night.
Just the same, it was my birthday weekend, so I brought along two super cute dresses from LSPACE, the Isabelle Dress and the Eyelet Santorini Dress, and two from the cutest little boutique in Livingston called Fitz by Annie (recently was folded into Petalz by Annie). And, of course, I brought bathing suits, a cover-up and a wide brim hat.
We arrived at 3 p.m. and were greeted with glasses of prosecco and ice water. Then we were given a tour of the property, along with branded water bottles, flip-flops and backpacks. I dashed off to yoga while my wife and friend went for a pontoon boat cruise on the river, complete with charcuterie and wine in fabulous spill-proof wine cups.
After yoga, I put in some time on the treadmill and then had the best time talking poolside to the F&B manager, Nicholas (Nick) Holloway, who happens to be an award-winning fiction writer. I was so inspired by our conversation that I even got a little writing done after a marvelous dinner.
The next day, I tackled another yoga class and a cardio drumming class.
Truth is, after yoga I was torn about the drumming class; I had never done anything like that and wasn’t sure if, A: I would like it, and B: if it was something I could do. But the instructor and the other guests waiting to take the class encouraged me to give it a whirl.
It was so much fun. (And, I did great, by the way.) But, more importantly, I felt super-supported by the instructor and my fellow classmates.
That’s the thing about Lake Austin Spa Resort: It’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s kind of magical — other-worldly even. From the moment you arrive on the property you feel more whole somehow.
I also made a visit to the spa, where I had the most luxurious treatment, called the ginger scrub and wrap. The spa is stunning and has to be one of the most serene places one could imagine. They even have an outdoor pool and a café. So, if you’re a day guest, you really could make a whole day of it.
Along with all of the classes and the hours at the spa, I also spent plenty of time in the pool. It was exceptionally hot the weekend we were there, so I do mean in the pool. But when the weather is more reasonable, it is also a wonderful place to lounge the day away.
The food at the resort is stellar, and it is included in the price. The chef is marvelous and makes everything to order, just how you want it. For breakfast, my go-to was the heavenly Maqui- Blueberry Bowl with banana, kiwi, blackberries, granola, chia seed and Gogi berries, and the equally delicious egg white scramble complete with heirloom tomatoes.
For lunch, I was obsessed with the Forbidden rice bowl with edamame, shiitake, celery, pickled cabbage, heirloom carrot, toasted cashew and citrus ginger hoisin sauce with chicken and the cilantro hummus with almond butter, tomatoes, olive oil, cucumber, red onion and queso fresco.
For dinner, I had the Heirloom Tomato Salad with cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, Thai basil, chia seeds and goma dressing and the 44 Farms short ribs with peanut romesco, eggplant barigoule and créme fraiche. It was so good I had it both nights.
The resort makes sure you are satisfied. They even offer all sorts of activities like cooking demos and craft classes. I had a blast decorating a lit wine bottle that now happily lives on our deck, reminding me of our marvelous weekend. There are a zillion perfectly decorated and incredibly comfortable spots to relax and read or to catch up with your traveling companions or other resort guests.
There are books and games and a lovely herb garden, as well as shops in the main house and the spa. There’s a pool barn, too, for classes and chilly visits.
I’m telling you, they have everything.
The Lake Austin Spa Resort feels more like a home away from home than a resort. The staff will call you by name, and they will remember your order in the restaurant. The fitness instructors will ask after you, even if you’re only there for a short visit. And the property is set up to be used like it’s all your own.
There are many spots around the world that I would recommend, but this is one that I would say can’t be missed. Lake Austin Spa Resort is a most welcome respite from all the noise.
And, lucky for us, it’s right in our own backyard.