Culture / Travel

One of Texas’ Top Wellness Retreats Hosts Its First-Ever Bluebonnet Festival

Miraval Austin Invites Us to Stop, Smell, and Meditate in the Bluebonnets In a Year We Needed It Most

BY Amanda Eyre Ward // 04.28.21

I’m sure I’m not the only pandemic parent who hasn’t stopped in some time to smell the roses, literally or metaphorically. So when I heard about the Miraval Austin’s first-ever “Bluebonnet Festival,” I jumped at the chance to experience special programs at the resort that promised to “immerse guests in the beauty of Texas’ Bluebonnets and, like the Bluebonnets, discover beauty in their own imperfections and find renewal after a difficult year.” Renewal? Beauty? Sign me up!

I arrived at Miraval, nestled into the rolling hills of the Balcones Canyonland Preserve with views of Lake Travis below, and settled into my room overlooking wildflowers. The brand-new Austin Suite boasted not only an outdoor and indoor shower, but a King-sized bed: a cloud created with 300 thread count sheets, Italian pillows, a featherbed, and Hungarian down comforter.

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Miraval has gained a reputation for its heavenly beds. Fortunately, you can purchase many of its most cloud-like components.

Skipping the many strenuous and adventurous activities on offer (there’s a towering Hill Country Challenge Course, for those who dare), I chose a “Wildflower Meditation.” I reclined in a field of bluebonnets and my mind slowed a bit as I listened to our teacher’s soothing voice, thinking for the first time in a long time about my breath instead of my children. Afterward, I stopped into the “Nook” for a pineapple smoothie and an avocado-chocolate cookie, ordering a cheese platter to go and spending the afternoon in my heavenly bed eating cheese and gluten-free crackers.

Later, I made my way to the Life in Balance Spa, where the best masseuse in the world, Raine Nobles, treated me to the “River Flower Wrap,” which combined skin dry-brushing with a “layer of botanical butter” and a neck and scalp massage, leaving me glowing with Icelandic moonflower oil. After a glorious dinner for one and dessert in bed, I fell asleep, more rested than I’d been since I’d first heard the word “Cononavirus” back in 2020.

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The Serenity Pool comes with unbeatable views of Lake Travis.

In the morning, I savored a rich cup of coffee, gazing out the window at the flowers. I made my way to one of the many splendid buildings at the Miraval, the Solidago, where Sound Healer Kimberly Humphries instructed us to make a nest of yoga blankets and pillows, then treated us to a concert of Tibetan singing bowls and a gong.

My final experience was an hour massage with one of the resort’s signature scents, “Wanderlust,” and a few avocado-chocolate cookies to go. I walked the resort’s labyrinth path slowly. I found myself noticing how vibrant the grass was, marveling at tiny, yellow butterfly midair. Seriously: my experience was so transformative that I actually caught myself stopping to gaze at a Bluebonnet.

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Who had I become?

Would my family recognize me?

As I drove the winding road back toward Austin, I felt I’d been returned to the woman who’d entered the nightmare of 2020 an innocent and hopeful person. She’d been lost for a while, and I was thankful to have her back.

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