The folks at Lake Austin Spa Resort aren’t shy about the place’s less-than-impressive past. Once a residence for traveling cowboys and a so-called “fat farm,” the homey spot along the shores of the Colorado River (aka “Lake Austin”) now claims a new title: No. 1 destination spa in North America, as voted by readers of Conde Nast Traveler.
But the spa doesn’t sacrifice comfort for cool. No tightly trimmed hedges here; the colorful gardens flow naturally through the grounds. The various common rooms are cozy and equipped with warm, crocheted throws just in case you doze off (as we observed a guest doing one afternoon during our Inspiration Awards weekend).
That’s not to say that the Texas lakehouse-chic setting invites laziness. Guests can earn their naps with cutting-edge fitness classes, personal training sessions with top fitness pros, and a variety of watersports, including sculling, kayaking and lap-swimming in the gorgeous “pool barn.” Various seminars on topics such as nutrition and acupuncture are offered, as well as special weeks with guest presenters on themes like gardening, cooking and reading.
Spa treatments, too, reflect the setting, whether it’s the Gifts of the Garden treatment, which incorporates garden-grown herbs like rosemary, spearmint and lemon balm, or the Tour of Texas, which includes native prickly pear and aloe vera.
Lake Austin Spa Resort offers three- to seven-night all-inclusive packages beginning at $1,635 per person, double-occupancy; check the website (lakeaustin.com) for specials.