Highlights of a Stay at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas

I’d long coveted a stay at Lake Austin Spa Resort on the shores of Lake Austin (which is actually the Colorado River, but not that Colorado River in Colorado — I know, it’s confusing).

Grassy area with sandy walkways on a river

I figured eventually I’d get to the Texas all-inclusive destination spa with a girlfriend for a few nights of pampering. I didn’t expect I’d book a last-minute stay at the resort with my husband when we had to pause our multi-week road trip while our 35-foot motorhome was stuck in the mud at a friend’s fishing club in Waco.

As stress levels skyrocketed, we decided to detach our car from the rig and wait for the land to dry out while taking off for a much-needed respite on Lake Austin. (This wasn’t the first snafu we’d encountered on the road trip: Just a couple of days earlier, we had to replace all six RV tires after skidding to a stop to avoid an accident. This was not a cheap vacation.)

Woman in tank top and shorts on a pontoon bike on a green-blue river with forest.

The two-night splurge fit the bill for a reset where we balanced relaxation and activity. There’s a lot to love about Lake Austin Spa Resort. That said, I also encountered some missteps during my stay. I’ll explain with the scoop: 

The Location and Grounds

I thought we were heading in the wrong direction when Apple Maps had us driving through a residential subdivision along a road that dead-ended at a parking lot and boat put-in area on the river. But to our left was a simple wrought iron gate with instructions to dial the resort to let the front desk know we’d arrived. 

We pulled up to the lobby and were quickly greeted by a member of the bell desk who took care of our bags. We checked in at the front desk and relaxed in the sunny library with a glass of sparkling wine while filling out paperwork, followed by a tour of the grounds. 

Grassy lawn with seating areas in front of river with hydrobikes and stand-up paddleboards

I quickly gathered just how intimate the property was. The resort is laid out lengthwise along the river, with facilities like the water-based activities center, resort pool, dining areas, lobby, and exercise rooms close to the water, and the 40 guest rooms plus spa and other pools set slightly further up the hill inland.

A huge riverside grassy area featured mature trees, sandy walkways, and a few hammocks. I liked all the different indoor and outdoor seating and relaxation areas for guests, where you could be social with others or reflective on your own.

The Guest Rooms

We wanted to book our last-minute, two-night stay as cheaply as possible (despite our “let’s splurge!” mentality). So we ended up with the most basic Signature room category with two queen beds. All guest rooms have doors that lead to the outside, with a charming private front porch and seating area. 

Wicker chairs on a porch in front of a rustic looking hotel room.

The resort describes room decor as “casually elegant”; I’d call it cottage classy, with checkered drapes in the bedroom and sage-green built-in cabinets/drawers/closets in the bathroom (lots of storage). In-room amenities include a refrigerator (great for storing leftovers from the resort’s all-inclusive dining plan) and plush bathrobes (ideal for traipsing to and from the spa).

The Barn Pool

I came into this little getaway with a hefty amount of stress built up, so as soon as we got settled in our room I made a beeline to the Barn Pool and found my nirvana. This indoor pool has a dedicated lap lane, piped-in relaxing music, and delightfully warm water. There’s also a shower and changing area. I was the only person using the Barn Pool for about an hour in the late afternoon.

Long pool with a lap lane in a barn.

The Fitness and Wellness Activities

All-inclusive Lake Austin Spa Resort offers a plethora of scheduled fitness and mindfulness activities for guests, all included in the room rate. Each morning of our stay we took a guided hike — a moderate three-miler on the network of trails located in the residential subdivision and a more mellow nature walk that featured a boat taxi to the trailhead. These hikes with friendly and knowledgeable guides were high points of our stay. 

Sound bowls and candles grouped together on the floor.

While high-impact cardio and strength-training classes are available, my husband and I leaned toward the more mellow fitness offerings: yoga, stretch sessions, and aqua aerobics. My absolute favorite was restorative yoga followed by a Crystal Bowl Sound Bathing Journey. Held in the late afternoon, these included activities set the tone for a perfect “wind-down” to a busy day. 

I adored my introduction to myofascial release in the water. In this group session, AquaStretch practitioner Monica Gutierrez showed us the benefits of assisted stretching in a shallow pool. While fascia adhesion release ideally takes place with an expert (like Monica), she did teach us some moves we could do on our own in a pool at home to help increase flexibility and alleviate pain. 

With just two nights at the all-inclusive destination spa, we didn’t have time to enjoy all the offered activities, such as culinary demonstrations, garden tours, boat cruises, and wellness lectures. You could be busy every moment of the day here!

We did squeeze in a stint on the hydrobikes we borrowed from the activities center on the lake. I’d never used one before — it’s basically a bike on pontoons — and we had such a good time getting in some exercise and enjoying a different view of the resort and surrounding lakehouses from the water. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available to borrow.

The Food

One place where Lake Austin Spa Resort really shines: the food. Three meals a day in the lakeside dining room, which has indoor and outdoor seating, are included in the room rate. (In-room dining is also an option.) Locally sourced ingredients — including vegetables grown in the resort’s own garden — take center stage on the menus here. 

We filled up at breakfast to fuel morning activities, choosing from egg dishes, side dishes such as applewood smoked bacon and oven-roasted potatoes, fruit bowls, and smoothies. Lunch options were awesome: grain bowls with or without protein, flatbreads, burgers, salads, and wraps.

The dinner menu might get old if we were staying at the resort for a week, but the nightly appetizer and entree specials kept things interesting. My favorite dinner meal was off the changing special menu: baked goat cheese salad followed by miso cod with jasmine rice and Asian slaw. For dessert: chocolate almond cake with chocolate amaretto sauce. Delish!

Otherwise, dinner menu items included a variety of salad starters, and fish, meat, and vegetarian entrees. Alcohol is not included in the all-inclusive rate. A self-serve tea, coffee, and lemonade bar in the lobby is available all the time, as are freshly made snacks (like chocolate protein balls). There’s also a basket of packaged snacks like popcorn and trail mix near the fitness center. Trust me, we did not go hungry, and we thoroughly enjoyed all the food. 

Baked goat cheese on top of salad greens on a restaurant plate.

A Few Concerns During Our Stay

Many of the staff we encountered were just lovely, and I was so impressed with our hiking guides and most of the fitness/mindfulness staff. That said, one male instructor mocked my grunting and groaning as I was coming out of a difficult-for-me stretch pose. I was so surprised and hurt, that I laughed it off, but later realized just how offensive his mimicking of my difficulty was. I reported his behavior (and the other issues spelled out below) in a post-visit online survey.

My husband and I each received a $400 spa credit with our package. We used that toward 80-minute custom massages that cost a whopping $330 each (not including tip). This was among the priciest massages I’ve ever had, and I’ve enjoyed more than 200 in my lifetime (probably a conservative number).

Alas, my massage at Lake Austin Spa Resort was also among the worst I’ve ever encountered. The therapist didn’t seem tuned into the areas where I said needed extra work, and he seemed to just go through the (fast and furious) motions. It was a far cry from one of my top 5 massages ever at The St. Regis Deer Valley. My husband reported his massage was good, so perhaps I just got the bad luck of the draw.

Also, regarding the spa, I was disappointed in the upkeep of the women’s locker room. First, the steam room wasn’t working: things break, I get it. But I also found towels and a hairbrush in a shower that remained there the entire two-plus hours I was at the spa (an attendant didn’t clean them up). 

I also had to ask for water to be refilled in a pitcher in the locker room. For the amount of money charged for spa treatments here, I’d expect better attention to tidiness and amenities in this space. 

Two queen hotel beds with white comforters in a room with white walls.

Finally, the beds in our room were so soft, we felt like we were sleeping in a taco. Each bed in our room had definite divots in the middle of the mattresses. In a follow-up email to my survey responses, the GM said those were new beds — not more than a year old — which I found surprising. 

The Bottom Line

Despite some concerns, all of which the GM said she’d look into, I recommend Lake Austin Spa Resort. In fact, I’ll happily head there again, if only to have a full hour-long guided myofascial release from Monica. (She also books sessions for day visitors.) With so many ways to keep busy, or just kick back, Lake Austin Spa Resort appeals to all sorts of travelers.

Clamshell-like comfy seating on an outdoor pool deck under blue skies

We spent about $3,600 for our two-night all-inclusive stay in the most basic of rooms. That came with the $400 spa credit. Check out the resort’s Offers webpage for deals or check Booking.com for deals.

Review and photos by Colorado-based travel writer Kara Williams.

One Response

  1. akhilash June 15, 2024

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