Rolling hills carpeted in green, limestone that glows a pinkish gold in the setting sun, and miles and miles of river, dammed into sections referred to as lakes, define the Texas Hill Country that surrounds Austin. It is here, 35 minutes northwest of the energized capital city, where you'll find more than 1,000 species of trees, flowers, herbs and vegetables on 19 lakefront acres designed to nourish the body and soul. This is Lake Austin Spa Resort, which is quite simply, really darn pretty.
Left: Vine covered arbors in front of guest rooms feature Trumpet creeper, wisteria and crossvine which provide almost year round blooms. The trumpet creeper provides a summer long buffet for hummingbirds to the delight of guests enjoying the lake views from the front patios.
Check in with family or friends (or just yourself) for at least three days, and enjoy simple but sumptuous accommodations, healthy gourmet meals, daily mind and body classes, and best of all, the LakeHouse Spa where the garden is queen. When the massive spa opened in 2004, the selected location was placed slightly farther from the previous spa's site and also uphill from the main part of the resort.
Left: Looking west toward guest rooms from the limestone walls at the entrance to the serpentine trail. Fig ivy covers the walls on the right side.
Director of Flora and Fauna Trisha Shirey knew she wanted to provide guests with an interesting and enjoyable experience while walking there, so with the help of the landscape architect, she planned a meandering path beneath old-growth pecan trees and devised surprises for the senses around each turn: flowers that attract butterflies, water features that calm and connect the viewer to the river below, aromas that sooth.
Left: Decomposed granite and sandstone stepping stones line the path to the covered Pool Barn. White lantana blooms on the right side, velvety lamb's ears are on the left, and white pampas grass plumes wave in the breeze.
The garden is woven into every part of the spa experience, from selecting herbs from the organic Healing Garden to be used in your treatment to the private gardens where au naturel sunbathing is permitted off both the men's and women's locker rooms. Even the elevator carries on the motif: It is lined with silk that is embroidered with butterflies.
Left: White pampas grass plumes flank the cabanas at the Palms Pool.
A water feature in the private garden off the men's dressing room.