Lake Austin Spa Resort is a friendly, low-key destination spa with great food, terrific programming, and a lavish new spa. Traveling alone? It's an easy place to meet other people. Lake Austin Spa Resort is about a half-hour northwest of Austin and set right on a green, glassy, but rather cold and narrow lake (this is because the lake was created by a dam). The spa makes the most of its waterfront location, with kayaking, pedal boat workouts, and tours on pontoon boats (I saw baby eagles), even waterskiing lessons. The dining room has great views of the water and tree-lined bluff on the opposite shore. The grandiose 25,000 square foot spa at the top of a hill is built from yellow limestone native to the Texas Hill Country. I enjoyed basking in the buff on “clothing optional” outdoor garden, with a stone fountain and outdoor shower. It has three pools, including a big pool barn that opens onto a sunny patio, and a full day of programming that includes classes on yoga, Nia (a form of dance exercise), tai chi, and lectures. As far as treatments at Lake Austin Spa Resort, I always try to do something unusual, and was really amazed by the results from their acupuncturist, who can work with or without needles. Massage-resistant knots melted away and after a little work on my right ear I could suddenly turn my head to the left much further. ("No one knows why it works," confessed the acupuncturist.)
There are several places to get outdoors massages, including a large screened porch where you can enjoy the delicious drift of warm air from a ceiling fan and the burble of water from the fountain. It’s not as controlled an environment as a regular treatment room in terms of sound, so you might hear people walking by. At 80 minutes, The Ultimate Swedish Massage leaves you thoroughly satisfied.
Fun Texas-inspired treatments include the Texas Pecan Scrub and the Ruby Red Grapefruit Refresher. A large fig tree grows by the lake, inspiring “Fruits of the Shore” , a 130 minute extravaganza that includes a fig-scented scrub and hydrotherapy bath, followed by a long, soothing massage with fig-scented lotion. This is so relaxing it’s a good evening treatment, right before bed.
It's a small spa -- just forty rooms laid out in single file along an arbor-lined walkway, each with a little sun porch facing the lake. The most desirable rooms (#27 and up) overlook the lake. Interiors are comfortably rustic, with Spanish tiled floors and fabric covered headboards. The only real downside to Lake Austin Spa Resort is the hiking. Development has cut off trails and you have to drive to “greenways” near homes.
Contact Info: Lake Austin Spa Resort 1705 South Quinlan Park Road, Austin, Texas, 78732, 1-800-847-5637, www.lakeaustin.com