Culture / Travel

Checking Out the Lake Austin Spa Resort — What It’s Really Like to Stay at the Pampering Wellness Retreat in the Hill Country

Taking Self Care to New Levels

BY // 02.21.24

Today, we’re living in an era where self care is health care, and there may be no place in Texas that can kick start your wellness journey better than Lake Austin Spa Resort. Poised at the edge of the placid waters of Lake Austin, check-in for a night, two, three, or more, and you’re liable to feel instantly at ease as I did when I spent a few days there recently along with my 85-year-old parents and sister (a first timer).

If you’ve never ventured to the renowned spa resort (winner of accolades too many to enumerate) and you’re nervous you’ll invariably starve with some preposterous 1,000 calories daily regiment or be subject to grueling physical workouts, those illusions couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s never a sense of deprivation. Eat as much of the chef-driven farm-sourced food as you like (there’s even wine), dip into a class from aqua core in the indoor heated pool barn meant to perfect your posture, take a foam roller and Hatha yoga class to stretch those aching muscles and attend a cooking class with a visiting chef.

You can schedule your day at Lake Austin Spa Resort like I do, busily going from one class to another, often taking the opportunity to try things like meditation (admittedly, that’s a tough one for me), Zumba, hopping on a cruise of the lake or simply dip in and out of any activity that spurs your interest.

Pool Barn Lake Austin Spa Resort
A host of water classes are held at the Pool Barn at Lake Austin Spa Resort.
Claridge, her sister and parents hydro bike on Lake Austin. (Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort)
Claridge, her sister and parents hydro bike on Lake Austin. (Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort)

Way back in another lifetime, the 12 acre property served as a fishing camp, as well as a hippy-dippy nudist commune, but that was before Mike McAdams and William Rucks bought it in 1997. The duo brought with them the novel idea at the time of creating a luxe experience with food that was healthful yet utterly delectable in environs that feel cushy yet homey. Think Mark Hampton or Sister Parish.

It brings to mind the East Coast aesthetic of a summer house on Nantucket.

When you arrive, you are ushered to the cozy living room to check in and begin your stay.
When you arrive, you are ushered to the cozy living room to check in and begin your stay.

Late last year this world class spa resort was purchased by DiamondRock Hospitality, a real estate investment trust with hotel and spa properties all over the United States. Best yet, it’s likely you’ll never notice the hand of its corporate parent, only the myriad upgrades to the property from Lake Austin Spa Resort’s plush guest accommodations to the Spa to the verdant grounds that surround it all.

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Rooms at Lake Austin Spa Resort (Photo by Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort)
One of the 40 guest rooms that are curated with custom furnishings and amenities. (Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort)

One exciting addition that recently launched is a partnership with the Italian sustainable skincare company Comfort Zone. The Lake House Spa, in fact, is the very first spa in the United States to offer what’s been dubbed FACE SPAce, an interactive results-driven express style facial (which runs $180 for a 50 minute session).

Sound intriguing? You’re essentially a student in a masterclass (and a very intimate class at that). Seated in one of two chairs in the spa’s former salon area, an aesthetician does a deep analysis of your skin, then prescribes one of five lifting treatments which all utilize Comfort Zone’s clean, vegan-friendly formulations, all while they talk you through the application of each serum.

In addition your aesthetician applies a host of different massage techniques to your dewy visage designed to work on the deeper facial muscles and bone joints to release tension, stimulate collagen production, boost circulation and improve the elasticity and lift of your skin. It’s truly a workout for your face and a great way to move lymphatic drainage too. Add-ons — just $20 each — include treatments for the eyes, hands and neck.

Also new downstairs in the former stead of the Spa’s salon is The Lab, where you can book a 30 minute Hydro Circuit session ($55). Here you’ll begin seated at a Turkish bath house bench where your legs are slathered with Comfort Zone’s thermal mud mask, followed by a refreshing rain shower rinse before you bravely jump into an ice cold therapy plunge pool for a few minutes. It’s just the right prescription for those combating poor circulation and inflammation as it’s reputed to also increase dopamine levels (that feel-good hormone).

The Lake Austin Spa Resort is located 1705 S. Quinlan Park Road in Austin.

Lake Austin Resort and Spa Garden Library (Photo by Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort)
Escape to the Garden Library for a moment of solitude or join one of the inspiring lectures given daily. (Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort)

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