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This Luxury All-inclusive Spa Resort in Texas Is a T+L Reader Favorite — and It’s Set on a Stunning Lake



A quintessential summer in Austin, Texas, involves getting out on the water. In fact, the heat almost demands it.

While Lady Bird Lake is right in the heart of the capital city’s downtown, it’s often crowded, has a recurring algae problem, and you can’t swim there — but, just a short drive from downtown, you’ll find Lake Austin, a cleaner, more serene neighbor and home to the oasis of Lake Austin Spa Resort. What started as a fishing camp in the 1930s has transformed over the decades into one of the best spa resorts in the country, one that’s beloved by Travel + Leisure readers year after year, and is home to 40 unique suites, all of which feel like a home away from home with antique furnishings paired with rocking chairs and private gardens. 

The resort itself is a bit of a window back in time. The decor is vintage mixed with a Texas charm that makes it cozy and comforting, and the systems here are primarily analog, from the activity desk to room service — yet everything still runs like clockwork. The ambiance encourages you to get off your phone and soak in your surroundings and the water.

Cindy Present, the resort’s director of marketing and wellness, notes that water is central to the experience at Lake Austin Spa Resort. She coined the phrase “Blue Mind” to describe how being in or near a body of water is good for your health. This “Blue Mind” philosophy also guides the wellness program, which includes everything from cold plunges and “ice facials” at the spa to water sports and pool classes.

Staying at Lake Austin Spa Resort is a bit of a choose-your-own adventure. With a stacked daily events calendar, a dock loaded with water equipment, and a luxury spa, you can choose just how active or relaxed you want to be. Personally, I thought I wanted to relax. Still, I then attended several experiences I’ve always wanted to try, like stand-up paddleboard yoga or activities I wouldn’t find anywhere else, like a traditional Japanese sword class.  

Another thing that struck me was just how attentive the staff were. There was never a moment where I struggled with a question for more than 30 seconds because someone was always right there to help. From arriving, where they whisked away my car and took care of my bags, to helping me schedule activities and spa time, I was always met with a smile and a solution. The class “teachers” or facilitators were always warm and upbeat, making each experience so enjoyable, and I walked away from each one saying, “I want to do that again!”

It’s easy to see why Lake Austin Spa Resort is so loved. The staff is accommodating, the menus are thoughtful, and the experiences available are abundant. But what stuck with me was how much intention was put into everything; from the front desk to the activity coordinator to the servers at dinner, everyone there seemed to care about the experience they were providing.

To learn more about that experience, read my full review below. 

Lake Austin Spa Resort

  • The location can’t be beat — the resort is directly on Lake Austin in the Texas Hill Country, across from a nature reserve, making it a serene oasis.
  • The design is vintage but imbued with Hill Country charm, making it welcoming and cozy.
  • There are countless free activities included with your stay, from classes to water sports.
  • The spa offers more than 100 different treatments.

The Rooms

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The property has a total of 40 rooms, all of which are uniquely decorated. Each offers a casual yet upscale atmosphere with hand-picked antique and vintage decor that maintains the resort’s Texan charm.

Basic or Signature rooms provide a personal front patio, vitamin C-infused shower heads, soaking tubs, and plush, cloud-like mattresses you’ll sink into. The Lake View and Garden rooms have similar offerings with a more scenic view. For even more outdoor space, you can upgrade to the Premier Hot Tub Cottage, which offers a separate living room, fireplace, and private back garden with a sauna. 

Those looking for the ultimate pampering — and perhaps a history lesson — can stay in the Lady Bird Johnson Suite. Named after the former First Lady (a beloved guest), the room is styled with some of the same antique decor from her stay decades ago. I was lucky enough to experience this suite during my stay, and it felt like stepping into a beautiful time capsule that still had all the modern amenities. The suite offers a separate living room and bedroom with an electric fireplace in both rooms, a back garden with a hot tub, and several complimentary extras like a bottle of Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival and nightly cheese and fruit plates.

Food and Drink

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A huge part of wellness is food, and Lake Austin Spa Resort takes that very seriously. Stéphane Beauchamp, the resort’s director of culinary experiences, curates the menus around the fruits and vegetables grown directly in the resort’s garden. The team sources anything they can’t grow directly from local farmers.

The menu accommodates various dietary and health concerns, from dairy- and sugar-free to vegan and gluten-free options. To say these ingredients are fresh is an understatement. I ordered almost every fish dish they had and was hard-pressed to pick a favorite. Even with restrictions, the kitchen can cook up magic — the vegan desserts here knocked it out of the park. But it doesn’t have to be all health and wellness, as the cocktails also thoroughly impressed me. My favorite was the Hill Country Ol’ Fashioned, with Citrus & Smoke being a close second. 

As an all-inclusive resort, all meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the nightly rate. The main restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the spa also offers a Mediterranean buffet meal during lunch. If you get hungry, visit the front desk, as the kitchen puts out a new baked good every day starting at 3 p.m. 

Activities and Experiences

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Listing all the activities that Lake Austin Spa Resort offers would be both impossible and overwhelming. The resort has a daily rotating list of activities guests can participate in, from relaxing classes like barefoot tai chi to adrenaline-pumping water skiing to educational cooking or astronomy classes — at Lake Austin Spa Resort, the world is your oyster. A surprising favorite for me was the bokken-do Japanese sword class, where a knowledgeable and friendly instructor created a fun atmosphere for the class.

While most activities are included in your stay, a few require advance sign-ups, and even fewer require an extra fee. The easiest way to see what’s on the docket for the day and get all the pertinent information is to head to the activities desk in the main building. 

Outside the scheduled activities, there is still much to do at the resort. Perhaps the biggest draw is the lake. Lake Austin Spa Resort has all the necessary water equipment, and all non-motorized equipment — including kayaks, hydrobikes, paddleboards, and more — is free for guests. There are also two daily cruises up the river to enjoy the scenery and learn about Austin, and a spacious gym with top-of-the-line equipment for those who’d rather break a sweat indoors. 

But if it’s relaxation you seek, that is also not hard to find. Three pools are available to guests: one by the main building, complete with cabanas and a lake view, and the other two near the spa. One pool is located in the pool barn, where many aquatic classes occur, but the spa-adjacent outdoor pool is also a great place to relax. 

The Spa

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure


One of the resort’s biggest draws is the spa — it’s in the name, after all. The spa is in a separate building connecting to the main resort through a gated walkway. The spa area includes two of the three pools, a wild garden, saunas, whirlpools, and zen-like treatment rooms, in addition to more than 100 treatments covering a wide range of concerns.

Guests can enjoy traditional spa treatments like massages and facials or try out more new-age treatments like sound therapy and energy healing. I enjoyed trying out a few different experiences in the spa. My first stop was the newly installed hydro-circuit. I began with an exfoliating mud scrub and then rotated between a warm shower and a cold plunge. Even though the cold plunge was intimidating, I left feeling invigorated, and my muscles felt like they had gone through a workout. I also tried the Luminosity of Ice facial, which left my skin plump and glowing. However, my favorite would have to be the private aqua stretch. I’m convinced that Monica works magic and not only released tension throughout my back and shoulders but also found built-up fascia, which I wasn’t even aware was limiting my motion. 

While resort guests have free range to explore the spa and all its amenities, treatments, and day packages can be purchased separately from the resort; however, this only gives access to the spa area and not the rest of the resort. 

Family-friendly Offerings

Lake Austin Spa Resort is a favorite for multi-generational getaways, with activities appealing to a wide age range. However, only ages 16 and up are allowed at the resort. Teens can enjoy yoga, water sports, and other activities. 

Accessibility and Sustainability

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure


Lake Austin Spa Resort is located on a scenic lake across from a nature reserve, placing it smack dab in the middle of a natural oasis. The resort doesn’t take this beauty for granted, though, and has implemented several green initiatives to ensure the resort’s sustainability.  As previously mentioned, most food is grown on-premises or sourced locally, but the efforts go well beyond that, using non-toxic pesticides and composting food scraps, as well as other kitchen waste, to create more soil. Glass, plastic, cardboard, and paper are also recycled for landscaping projects. 

The resort also provides each guest with a reusable water bottle and has eliminated single-use plastic in addition to its robust recycling program. It also donates old linens and blankets to local animal shelters.

Lake Austin Spa Resort has two ADA-compliant rooms.

Location

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure


Lake Austin Spa Resort is located on the eastern edge of Austin, about 40 minutes from downtown. A water taxi service, departing from downtown, is available — and it’s a very scenic 40-minute journey. If you are arriving from the airport, options include rideshare apps, private transfers, and SuperShuttle, which takes multiple groups at a time and will make stops along the way. 

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Stay 

Lake Austin Spa Resort is not part of any loyalty program, but it still offers several offers when booking directly. These offers range from free nights if you book a minimum number to discounted couples packages, discounts for Texas residents and residents of neighboring states, and more. 



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