Lakeside Idyll

Monday, June 6th, 2011
People of all ages wander the lush grounds in fluffy white robes. I'm at Lake Austin Spa, a 19 acre facility in a waterside setting -- not a rehab facility. Easy to reach from Houston or Dallas, it's also accessible from the Austin airport. Just don't miss that left turn off Riverbend or you'll end up in the lake.

Named the #1 destination spa in North America for 2010 by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, LAS has only forty rooms. Each room has two queen-sized beds and thoughtfully arranged closet and bath space for singles, couples, or friends sharing a room. With over 200 staff attending to the needs of so few people, the service is personal and attentive. But because this is Austin, home of the Whole Foods empire, staff members are down to earth, local and organic. So is the food.


Original and delicious, the meals at LAS consist of four courses, and are a good lesson in portion control. If the menus didn't have calorie and fat counts, no one would guess this is smart eating-you can even have dessert and not feel guilty. From leg of lamb to vegetarian entrees, the food is perfectly seasoned and beautifully presented. There are no limits to how many items you can order or how many times you go to the dining room so you will never leave hungry.

A full menu of spa services could keep you busy for weeks. My personal favorite, because of allergies I've been dealing with, is a facial specially designed to clear sinuses and freshen the skin. It really works. Outdoor tables in the men's and women's areas provide a delightful respite from the rat race. Couples or friends can order up double massages in the sun filled Bamboo Lodge. Three swimming pools, private and public hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas offer all the Zen a body needs. We especially enjoyed slipping into the hot tub late in the evening when things were quiet and we were the only people around.

A boat dock with kayaks, hydro-bikes, and canoes operates from 8 to 3 or later if Winston knows you plan to be there. Gentle instruction for newbies comes with the equipment. I'd never been in a kayak and within minutes was a marvel of speed and balance. The lakeside grounds with flower and vegetable gardens make for great walking. We loved checking out the lettuce and herbs we knew would show up on our plates at the next meal.

Yoga and exercise classes are available throughout the day. Energetic guests can keep their schedules full. Others find peace sitting on the porches attached to each room, drinking coffee or wine depending on the hour. You can order wine from room service or bring your own from home. They serve wine in the dining room as well.


Many weeks have themes when excellent speakers and artists come in to entertain and educate. While I was there, Good News Girl, Karen Cortell Reisman presented her keynote, Letters from Einstein, and a workshop on how to get your message across. People from as far away as Georgia, Washington D.C., and Missouri attended the sessions. She made us all laugh and cry--we were passing the tissues around.

Pack a small bag and head on over to Lake Austin Spa - you won't need much, that white fluffy robe goes from treatment room to dining room.


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