Lake Austin’s Restorative Oasis

Lake Austin’s Restorative Oasis
By Suzanne Ferrara

Mark my words, you will NOT want to leave this sanctuary, and will long for your return even while you’re still there. The moment you step foot on the Lake Austin Spa Resort, your cares of the day instantly melt away as you are absorbed into a world of tranquility and wellness.

This wellness resort in Austin, Texas is truly a piece of heaven on earth and awakens all of the senses. No stone is left unturned at this world-class, full-service paradise, and guess what? Almost everyone walks around the property in their robes and sandals (provided by the resort), the latter of which you can take home as a gift; however, the real gift is the restorative you that will walk out of its doors.

“It’s hard to capture how special it is. Where else can you go with these surroundings and all that is offered here?” says first-time visitor Kacee Geoffrey, a California resident who is experiencing this restorative oasis with her mother, Lisa Hale. And Mom concurs. “I’ve been to several stunning places in the world, and never have been to a place like this,” agrees Hale. “I’ve been transfixed just walking through all of the gardens, and I can go to breakfast and dinner in my robe…and it’s expected!”

It is certainly not surprising that, for the past decade, this wellness resort has been ranked among the top 10 by Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. The all-inclusive experience includes gourmet garden-to-table, award-winning meals and snacks, and refreshing drinks to quench your thirst. Executive Chef Stephane Beaucamp makes certain you are never hungry, and that rings true with the four-course dinners and multi-course lunches and breakfasts offered daily. (Fun Fact: Chef Beaucamp, a France native, has cooked for Nicole Kidman and Elton John). (Tip: There are no limits as to how many scrumptious healthy starters, soups, entrees or desserts you can enjoy during the three daily meals; however, the resort promotes moderation, not deprivation, as a key to healthy eating). There are also gourmet snacks and drinks available to guests throughout the day, and a stellar wine and champagne list can be found at both restaurants.

Resort dining is enjoyed in the property’s dining room with its picturesque views of the Lake Austin, or at the Aster Café. (Tip: Be sure to eat at both during your stay). They’ve thought of everything here; there’s even a large ‘Friendship Table’ with open seating at the Aster Café’ for those wanting to meet some new friends. You can also opt for room service or, upon request, they’ll set up a private table for two outside overlooking the glistening lake, or inside the picturesque library.

This is truly a cinematic postcard perfect scene, and you can’t help but keep your eyes on the hypnotically clear blue-green waters of lake with its backdrop of lush foraged green hillside skirting the banks. There’s a breathtaking view from practically every vantage point on this 19-acre lake shore property; at every turn, there are unexpected eye-pleasing surprises, from flowered canopy-covered walkways to a butterfly preserve, all of which add to this transformative experience. The globally- recognized healing garden oozes a plethora of both one-of-a-kind and traditional herbs, vegetables and flowers. This ‘secret garden’ plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of guests, all thanks to master-gardener extraordinaire Trisha Shirey (and we will cover the garden in a later article).

There are also therapeutic aquatic gardens and water features strewn throughout the grounds for an added sense of relaxation. “People come here for the healing properties of water, and wellness touches everything here; and you can literally go to dinner in your bathrobe, and no luxury hotel can offer that,” says Janice Clapoff, Lake Austin Spa Resort’s Managing Director. “Don’t rush this experience even when it comes to all the courses at dinner; it’s about taking your time and mindfulness.” And you can take part in this wellness sanctuary if you are at least 14 years of age. (Tip: If you get a chance, be sure to meet Clapoff who is not only chock-full of information and tips, but is also a consummate example of living the lifestyle inspired by this wellness resort).
Also included in your all-inclusive stay are a plethora of classes and activities– nearly two dozen offered daily—and it’s completely up to you as to how many you attend. In addition to varied levels of fitness offerings, there are many programs reflective of the healing power of water through yoga, meditation and aquatics. (Tip: Lake Austin Spa Resort offers Ripple Effects: The Wellness of Water program which is based on scientific evidence which suggests how water can heal the mind and body, and thus make you happier and healthier). The daily schedule runs the gamut from hiking the bluffs or canyon to meditating through creating art programs. Want to cook? There are nutritional cooking classes with guest chefs, plus classes with book authors and lecturers from all over the world; you can also request a personalized class and experience a la carte.

Since water is the focal point of health and well-being at this destination spa, it’s only apropos that there are open dock hours along Lake Austin where an attendant will help you get in and out of the water with hydro bikes, the new Hobi pedal boards, kayaks, or boats. Have a need for speed? Sign up for skiing or wake boarding. There are also three different pools: the barn pool which is an Olympic-size lap pool that’s covered and heated; a main pool overlooking Lake Austin; and the Palm Pool with cabanas. There’s also a full-service state-of-the-art fitness center that has an inspirational view of the lake.
When relaxing, it will be hard to choose where you want to enjoy a brief or long respite. The resort’s Living Room, Lake Room, library and the Blue Room will certainly add to your well-being and peaceful state, and the décor here is second to none. (Tip: Be sure to grab a refreshing drink and relax on one of the hammocks on the lake).

The team at this wellness resort is second-to-none, and friendly staff members will make sure your every whim is met. Adding to this blissful haven are the endless details and touches that will make your experience one of great ease and truly unforgettable, from soothing music playing softly at the barn pool to mouthwatering homemade healthy snacks (including frozen yogurt and sherbets with ingredients straight from the garden), or to the bottles of sunscreen available throughout the property.

You will certainly get a good night’s rest at the Lake Austin Spa Resort. There are 40 rooms, which are more like cottages; each has a front porch with a table and chairs from which you can look at the lake or the award-winning garden. Most of these rooms, decorated in soft hues for tranquility, also have a private back patio with a water feature, and It’s so private you can take a shower with the bay windows completely open. (Tip: Rooms #39 and #40 are choice rooms; both have great views of Lake Austin and are the quietest on the property). Yes, there are luxury bath accessories which are also sold in their gift shops, which by the way, are chock-full of great items including clothing, books and jewelry.

A stay here is not complete without a visit to the world-class and award winning Lake House Spa, which uses unsurpassed ‘ancient and modern therapeutic techniques’. There are more than 100 spa treatments, each of which will surely melt your stress away, and the pampering and service you’ll receive in this 25,000-square foot spa is second to none. The treatment offerings are all aimed at rejuvenation, healing and balance and, believe me, you will not leave the same person you were when you walked into this spa. (Menu Tip: The Lavender Dreams and the Weekend Warrior are among the most popular body treatment massages). (Tip: The spa is open at night, so you can receive a single or couples’ massage inside or at one of the outdoor treatment areas and then walk back to your room under the stars all renewed and relaxed).

(Big Tip: The best way to arrive at this transforming oasis is via the resort’s private boat taxi that can pick you up near the airport and whisk you to the Lake Austin Spa Resort so that your rejuvenating experience begins even earlier). While you are only 20 minutes from downtown Austin, no one who comes here ever wants to leave for any reason. Once you visit, you, too, will know why.
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