This Destination Spa Is Even Better With a Plus-one

May 8, 2022

Media Contact: Darlene Fiske, 512-331-7755/[email protected]

TEXAS Monthly (May, 2022)  – The first time I went to Lake Austin Spa Resort, eighteen years ago, I was about to get married, and—in a smart move that boded well for our future together—my fiancé had given me a day at the property’s LakeHouse Spa, which had just opened a few weeks earlier. What I remember most about that day is reading on a hammock on the shores of a private, quiet, glistening corner of Lake Austin and lounging by the LakeHouse pool. This, I thought, is a place I’ll come back to a lot—and I’ll bring a friend when possible.

I made good on that (easy) promise to myself through the years, coming for both day visits as well as overnight stays, which are the best way to take full advantage of this wellness-focused lakeside retreat some twenty miles west of downtown. It ranks among the top destination spas in the country yet is still unassuming in an “old Austin” kind of way. Perhaps that’s partly because of its history, which goes back to its days as a fishing camp in the forties. In the seventies, it had a short-lived stint as a nudist colony. Then it was a lodge for cowboys and rodeo clowns (the seventies were wild) before functioning as a weight-loss resort in the eighties and then, finally, becoming Lake Austin Spa in 1994. It’s now an upscale destination that attracts guests from all over the world with its idyllic location right on the lake, chef-prepared meals, three swimming pools, well-appointed accommodations, and many activities and spa treatments.

Although I still come for solo visits to recharge, I’m happiest when I can bring someone. Over the past five years, my dear friend Maya has been that person. In our matching white robes, we have explored every wallpapered nook and every outdoor cranny, looking for the best spots to read, talk, or just sit quietly together. We’ve swum laps in the covered pool barn, enjoyed a sunset sauvignon blanc on a short pier decked out in white lights, and paddleboarded side by side. We’ve spent hours under a poolside cabana talking about work, family, books, and movies. I remember one breakfast when a charming waiter tried to get us to guess the secret ingredient in that day’s muffin. “Poppyseed?” “Thyme?” we threw out. In his equally charming Italian accent, he told us: “No—it is love. How could you miss it?” That has since become our catchphrase.

Most recently, we carved out a late-winter day to spend together. It was a little too cold to spend much time in our favorite poolside position, but we enjoyed the luxurious warmth of the heated indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna before our treatments. The spa was letting me try its newest facial—the Regal, designed exclusively for Lake Austin by La Maison Valmont using the Swiss skin-care leader’s products. It’s one of the most expensive facials in the world—$1,050 for a treatment lasting more than two hours that consists of four masks, a HydraFacial, LED treatment, several massages (including a facial massage based on the Japanese Kobido technique), and a collagen treatment. One of the key ingredients in Valmont’s newest line of products is sturgeon, a fact I marveled at for 135 minutes—a caviar facial!

Although I’ve yet to try Botox or anything in that realm, I do love a good facial. Knowing how expensive it is, though, made the whole experience a little stressful and uneasy—until I quickly fell asleep, despite my every intention of taking mental notes throughout the whole process. More than halfway through, the skillful technician woke me up for the collagen treatment, which normally requires covering the entire face—eyes and lips too—to make sure I didn’t need a break first. I sleepily shook my head, but as soon as she started applying the treatment, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. We compromised and decided to forgo the lips and eyes—my visions of plump puckers dashed just like that—and I immediately relaxed again.

When I rejoined Maya for a glass of wine by the water—it was now warm enough to sit lakeside—we were both a little astonished at how immediate the results were. My skin glowed, and my neck and chest especially looked at least a few years younger. This must be what having a face-lift feels like, we decided, and because that costs so much more, this really is a bargain in the scheme of things. We clinked our glasses. Then she quickly ushered me out of the sun.

—Kathy Blackwell


Nestled along the shores of scenic Lake Austin in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Lake Austin Spa Resort offers guests the sanctuary of a world-class spa and the warmth of a best friend’s lake house. Lake Austin Spa Resort offers all-inclusive vacation packages, which include accommodations in one of 40 charming lakeside guest rooms, three gourmet meals daily, indoor and outdoor fitness activities and classes, and a selection of more than 100 spa and body treatments in the 25,000-square foot spa.

The resort has consistently been recognized for its excellence and as a result has received numerous industry awards.  Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Town & Country Magazine and Southern Living have honored Lake Austin Spa Resort as one of the best in the country and in the world.

For additional information and reservations, call 800-847-5637.