After 193 days at home (but who’s counting?), I finally hit the road earlier this month. I’ve pictured this moment every day for quite a while now – if there’s anything I’ve learned from 2020, it’s that travel is truly integral to who I am.
Hotels have taken great care in implementing new Covid-19 health and safety protocols, and I’ve watched friends, colleagues, and Virtuoso advisors carefully get back out there, so I was ready to pack my Rimowa and make the three-hour drive south from Dallas to the Lake Austin Spa Resort. (Confession: My packing skills were rusty. I forgot several toiletries, because I’ve not-so-secretly been raiding my “go-bag” while quarantined at home.)
Set in the Texas Hill Country, the 40-room Lake Austin Spa Resort welcomes guests for scenic, nature-centric wellness getaways. I arrived to 19 acres of socially distanced bliss, and after a quick temperature check (guests must have their temperature taken each morning and wear masks in all common areas), I threw my bag down and headed straight for the water. Forty-eight hours later, I left restored, reenergized, and ready to travel again. Here are five of my favorite things from my stay:
See you later Zoom calls, Teams chats, emails, and text messages. The only thing as strict as the resort’s Covid-19 protocols is its cell phone usage policy. You don’t have to relinquish your beloved device upon arrival, but guests are asked to always silence their phones, or, better yet, leave them behind on the special Cell Phone Pillow on their bedside tables. I gladly ditched mine and spent a lot of time lounging on the resort’s dock. I even spent an hour sitting in silence under a giant tree while it rained. I had almost forgotten what silence felt like. (If you need to work, speedy Wi-Fi is available property-wide.)
As expected, Lake Austin’s spa is world class, with pages of treatment options ranging from full-body scrubs to aquatic-centric therapies. The expert staff took every service up a notch. I brought home the resort’s signature Lavender Fields products as souvenirs. Tip: Arrive to your appointment early so you can enjoy the beautifully designed Blue Room.
You can be as active (or as still) as you want to be.
Activity options at Lake Austin are endless. From hiking excursions to watersports outings and meditation sessions, there’s something for everyone. I hydro-biked one day, took an aquatic yoga class the next, and embarked on a scenic boat ride around the lake before departure. That said, it’s also completely acceptable to wear your comfy white robe all day and do absolutely nothing.
Lake Austin takes spa food to the next level with an extensive, vegetable-forward menu. (Meat options are available too, and many dishes are gluten- and dairy-free.) I loved the macadamia nut “ricotta” and beet salad so much that I asked for the recipe and it was in my hands within minutes. As part of the resort’s Covid-19 protocol, guests can dine-in with limited capacity, sit outside on the waterfront patio, or opt for in-room delivery. Lunch comes packed in a cute picnic basket so you can grab and go. During an afternoon cooking demo, executive chef Stephane Beaucamp encouraged us to move beyond our every day go-to meals (I’m looking at you, Taco Tuesday) and find new recipes to perfect and add to our repertoires. One of my favorite culinary details: Frozen yogurt and sorbet are available every afternoon at the front desk for the perfect mid-day treat.
All the good vibes.
Lake Austin has found a way to perfectly combine five-star service and laid-back vibes. It was the ideal place for me to safely dip my toe, literally and figuratively, back into the wonderful world of travel. For the first time since March, I finally felt like myself again.
Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 spa credit.