Indagare member Ann Cochran recently returned from a trip to the Lake Austin Spa Resort. Here are her impressions from the trip.
This spring, I was in Austin for a few days and I wanted to explore the city, but I also longed for relaxation. A few of my friends from Texas raved about Lake Austin Spa Resort (www.lakeaustin.com) so I decided to try it out.
After a 30-minute drive west from Austin I arrived at the spa in Texas Hill Country, where I was greeted by an enormous sparkling lake. The shimmering waters can be seen from nearly everywhere on property, including the dining room, where guests can indulge in healthful but filling options. Many of the ingredients are grown in the property’s organic garden.
Making full use of Lake Austin, the spa has its own boat, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and other water equipment such as hydro bikes. I opted for a boat ride to a park, and a hike from there with a group of women guests, most of whom came together in two’s and three’s. After a good hike, we were grateful for some refreshing, house made sorbet and a dip in one of the hotel’s three pools.
Walking around the property was relaxing, but not in the way one typically associates with spas. The décor is decidedly different and no detail was overlooked. Even in the elevator, I found sumptuous, embroidered silk panels and a beautiful leafy light fixture. Rather than an Asian-inspired or new age atmosphere, the hotel reminded me of how I feel when I am in the home of a stylish friend—appreciating every exquisite pillow, each saturated color choice, fine bed linens and enjoying the cozy places to curl up with a good book.
I loved that my facial started off on a high note rather than an expression of concern. The aesthetician told me I had great skin. How about that? At the end of the treatment, she recommended only one product strongly, which I purchased and now use twice weekly, as prescribed. Often, I leave facials with a bag full of things I end up never using because the ritual was too involved, or I purchase nothing because the long list intimidated me. This was just right.
Since I was feeling wobbly from all the pampering, I spent some quiet time in the spacious Blue Room, meant for relaxation. I stretched out on a chaise, pulled an afghan up to my chin, and gazed up at an enormous tin chandelier, crafted on site because it was too large to transport.
I later learned that the deliciously overstuffed chaise was one with a story behind it: the lounger was one of the co-owner’s first furniture purchases after graduating from college. It has been refurbished, naturally, and copied so there would be a matched set.
The sophisticated but warm décor in the 40 accommodations and many of the guest areas was achieved by co-owner Michael McAdams and designer partners such as Julio Quiñones, named one of the World’s Best Young Talents by Metropolitan Home Magazine. Some of the art was commissioned and is supplemented by American, European and Chinese antiques and decorative arts, including everything from unusual chairs and tables to fabrics, mirrors and lanterns. As one would expect in a private home, the old blends seamlessly with the new.
The magic at Lake Austin Spa is in the natural setting, casual elegance and alluring attention to detail. Looking back with longing as my driver navigated the first turn back toward Austin, I promised myself I’d return, with my husband or a girlfriend so that I’d have someone to ooh and aah with.
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