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  • Writer's pictureDawn Neufeld

Spa-ing Like a Rockstar

I recently spent almost an entire week at my happy place - Lake Austin Spa Resort. I spent the long, hot days being catered to, meditating, learning, eating incredible food, hiking, boating, being massaged, resting and sleeping, enjoying peace and quiet, and refilling my gas tank. Yes... by myself. I've blogged before about why I travel alone and I'm so grateful that I was able to visit my happy place again this year for some rest and rejuvenation.

My usual Lake Austin trip lasts around 3-5 nights. 6 nights felt long. The last morning there I'd planned to go on one last hike on the paths of Steiner Ranch but decided I'd hit the road instead to get home to my family. But there was one benefit of taking a longer trip. The resort has activities scheduled throughout the day from which I'll make my plans... I decided what classes I'll take, when to eat my meals, etc. Having a couple extra mornings made it easy to forego plans without any guilt and just chill. Those mornings were extra special on the days it rained.

If you're thinking about planning a trip to Lake Austin or any other spa-like destination, here are some tips.

  • DO: Take a solo trip! There's something to be said for going with the flow and not having to coordinate daily schedules with anyone else. If solo travel isn't your thing, Lake Austin is the perfect spot for a girls trip (there's wine - lots of wine), a baby moon or couples getaway.

  • DO: Sign up for promotional emails. Lake Austin always has great specials or theme weeks. The theme the week I was there was ART! I did some crafting, attended a talk by an author who has published 7 books, and even created a mandala and had it analyzed.

  • DO: STOP and appreciate your surroundings. On the evening of the last day it rained, I was attending a talk with a life coach about living a life with less stress and more joy when I noticed one of the most incredible sunsets I've ever seen. The leftover clouds were bright hues of pink and orange. I pointed it out but the life coach kept on with her talk. I should've excused myself and gone outside for a couple of minutes to enjoy the view.

  • DO: Eat! Eat! Eat! The food at Lake Austin is extraordinary. The clean, whole meals cooked up by Executive Chef Stephane Beauchamp are divine. My favorite of the week ended up being a roasted cauliflower salad with dates - I ate it at every dinner. And one night, I had both scallops dolloped with a bacon-y jam AND a lobster pasta. I gained 4 lbs on my trip! But the good news is you can eat as little or as much as you want and everything is good!

  • DO: Enjoy a meal outside in the morning. During the late spring and summer in Texas, it's stupid hot. But the mornings were perfect for eating breakfast by the lake. I finally enjoyed my last meal at the resort outside. I watched ducks swim buy, watched resort guests doing yoga in the water, and even noticed the shadows from the clouds on the hills. Lake Austin is a beautiful property so head outside to take it all in... even when it's hot!

  • DON'T: Pack one bathing suit for lounging. I grabbed my bikini I wear at home when I'm laying out or chilling in the pool with the fam. I quickly noticed it was a bit snug and I was falling out of it. It was borderline inappropriate so I didn't spend any time at the pool. While the gift shop does have some swimsuits for sale, the selection is limited. Getting to a mall or a nearby Target to pick something up isn't really practical either. I totally could've Amazon Primed something I guess.

  • DO: Make sure you pack a more sporty swimsuit if you plan on taking any of the daily water aerobics classes... triangle bikinis and water Zumba don't really go together.

  • DO: Try something new. Whether it's a hula hoop workout or spa treatment, definitely step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of the incredible offerings. I tried acupuncture for the first time in my life and my lower back is pain-free for the first time in forever.

  • DO: Meet new people. Over the years I've met some of the most incredible people at the resort... other solo travelers seeking out some rest and relaxation, moms celebrating 21st birthdays with their daughters, three generations of a family traveling together. I always leave having enjoyed the week with others even though I travel there alone.

  • DON'T: Be the person that snores through meditation. My first class on my first day of vay-cay was a candlelight meditation class. A guy fell asleep almost immediately and snored for the rest of the half-hour class. I wanted to cry.

  • DO: Plan on running into some of the local deer on the property. One little guy walked right outside my room one day and was often seen strolling throughout the property.

I think next time I travel to Lake Austin it'll be during a less busy time of the year. There was a lot of water traffic on the lake and it can get a bit noisy. The resort itself has never been overly busy because there just aren't that many rooms. I could walk to and from the spa in the evenings without running into another human (deer, hooting owls, etc. - yes; humans - no). I just love it. Best of all? The resort doesn't allow children under the age of 14. Hallelujah! It truly is a calm, relaxing, happy place to find some peace, and quiet, and zen.

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