Time to get away, isn’t it? An escape from the mundane, crushed, everyday world of work – even when (or maybe especially when) this daily grind is complicated by the latest variant of COVID-19 and all that it entails?
This pandemic does little to ease the frayed nerves of a modern human, I tell you what, and here’s a whole new year in which to take positive steps to take care of yourself.
Now, of course, traveling by plane might be out of the question right now – but those big old jets don’t matter. The change of scenery is always good, even if it is only a few dozen kilometers away – or quite simply in another more chic part of your local environment. And not just change for a few hours – although, if that’s all you can handle, give it a whirlwind and more power – but for a overnight stay, quite a change through unconsciousness and vice versa, before returning, refreshed, to the same old same-old.
It’s no big secret: Hotels in and around Austin weren’t built just for outsiders to fill up during SXSW.
You knew that, right? You’ve been downtown, noticed the fanciest places and cheap beds, at least from the outside, and you’ve probably had a drink in some of the nicer bars associated with the best hotels, maybe dined at some of the excellent restaurants there? And you also know that there are, for example, resorts along the Colorado River – architecturally expansive venues where conventions, family reunions and fabulous weddings take place?
Here is your escape, citizen. There is your reprieve, however brief, from the mind-numbing dross of daily drudgery. There is, if you choose wisely, your little piece of heaven on Earth: it’s waiting for you downtown, or it’s just beyond the city limits.
What about that article you’re reading now? This will give you an example of one of those options – the just beyond Austin option.[And here’s where we cover the downtown option.]
This article will take a look at the magnificent Lakeway Resort & Spa, right there along the shores of Lake Travis.
Okay, let’s bench this off as a to-do list: ten things. But, instead of it being a list of things that you have to do to accomplish a project is a list of things you to have things to do to relax and enjoy your hard earned free time at Lakeway Resort…
1. First of all, you have to drive for a little while. Not too far, nothing like a day or even a half-day trip, but far enough away that you feel like you’ve got past all the Austin hubbub you’re trying to escape . A short jaunt past the Mansfield Dam, in other words, winding through well-paved tree-lined roads until you reach the seaside resort on the lake.
2. You must smell the air when you arrive. Really, about half an hour out of town and it’s already significantly cooler and cleaner. (You’ll also notice this at sunset – the absence of what planners call light pollution, the greater presence of night, and its natural darkness allowing all these stars in the sky to shine on you in all their glory.) You’re only in the parking lot, at this point, and you’re already thinking, “Yeah, that was a good choice. “
3. Check in at reception. That’s what you do in hotels and resorts, of course, and it’s done so easily here – the staff at Lakeway are on top of their game and will make you feel welcome in these elevated accommodations. Look around the hall with its rock solid walls, expanses of dark wood, that high ceiling. It’s a place that says, “This is where the tradition of hospitality thrives.” This is where your daily worries will be dispelled. (Also, ah, you should have been there in December, when the lobby was adorned with a huge Christmas tree – so beautifully decorated, its base surrounded by brilliantly wrapped gifts, its upper branches tickling the rafters. But, don’t. don’t be too disappointed: there is something about this hall that is always there, that is even bigger and more impressive than any tree that is not a Giant sequoia: The curving stairs from the lobby to the bar and lounge on the lower level. What a combination of physics and carpentry and polished wood! So many expert crafts and materials just to tie one place to another, you know? You were probably planning on visiting this bar during your stay, anyway, right? No matter. It doesn’t matter if you are allergic to drinks in general: you have to go down these stairs at least once or your life will be duller if you messed up the experience.)
4. Go to your room. It requires a hallway, yes; and if the width of a corridor can be used as an indicator of quality, then you will nod your head that Good choice nods again. Because the corridors of the Lakeway Resort are generously wide. Your reporter suspects that it is because of all the weddings and conventions and the like that take place there that the extra width of the hallway allows easier passage for several serving carts and so on, and that is why they are weakly, uh, broddingnagian and certainly beyond the width of the corridors in even more chic hotels. Does it seem strange, to be so impressed with a hallway? Suggestion: go through one of them and see if you don’t agree.
5. Enter the room you have reserved. Your current reporter and his lovely wife stayed in a regular room, not a fancy suite or anything, and it was satisfyingly comfortable: clean, bright, equipped with all the usual amenities a good hotel should to have. (The bed was particularly good. Which, thinking of this recent review of Bee Cave’s Hotel Sonesta, makes me wonder if there has been a, what, a recent upgrade to the sleeping furniture on the scale of industry over the past few years? Because I slept so peacefully in this bed.) And here’s another plus: Even though it was a regular room, it had a small balcony with a view of Lake Travis. “We have 168 guest rooms and suites,” as the Lakeway’s website notes, “many of which face Lake Travis with private balconies and have unparalleled water views.” This incomparable isn’t just a hyped adjective: The Lakeway Resort is built into a cliffside, after all, which makes the views like a * chef’s kiss *. And, speaking of chefs …
6. Have a meal at Restaurant TR. It’s the resort’s primary dining venue, and it’s a solid example of casual fine dining Austin. We can give the resort spiel another look – “The Travis Restaurant offers a sophisticated yet rustic atmosphere with stunning views of Lake Travis and the Texas Hills.” Enjoy a varied menu of comforting Southern cuisine including entrees for breakfast, lunch and dinner made with fresh local ingredients. – because we found it to be true. The cocktails and appetizers were delicious on their own, but the night view of Lake Travis from the outdoor patio made them downright enchanting. And, as a main course, the papperdelle pasta was exquisite – the delicate roasted tomato sauce just spiced up (and the noodles not too much damned al dente, you know what we mean?) – and the savory elegance of this dish was matched by the eggs benedict at brunch the next day. You don’t even have to stay at the hotel to happily savor such cuisine; if you live in the area, the place may already be your go-to for fine dining.
seven. But – there is something you need to know about the Lakeway TR Restaurant. No, it’s not funny that they call the place TR Restaurant, even though TR stands for Travis Restaurant, so it’s like they call it Travis Restaurant Restaurant. Everybody knows it’s funny (and just the kind of linguistic blunder you find in a David Foster Wallace story). No, what you need to know is this: The multi-room TR site, when it was first built in 1963, was the entire original complex. This is why the restaurant building, towering majestically above the resort’s pools, is so impressive and contains several large dining areas. And the rest of the complex – with its lobby and bar and spa and guest rooms, huge meeting rooms and that one huge Glass-walled main ballroom overlooking the water – the rest of the complex, completed in 1989, was constructed with all of its wonderful rocks, wood, glass and steel, to match this original building. The consistency of style is remarkable and the style itself is grand and welcoming.
8. Oh, did we say “spa” up there? Because that’s another thing you should do – indulge yourself with a full massage or facial at the professionally staffed spa at Lakeway Resort. The experience is heavenly whatever options you choose, especially if you arrive early and use the dry saunas and showers before your session. The Spa at Lakeway offers a variety of refreshing body services using the popular SkinCeuticals products, the prices aren’t out of step with what you’d find elsewhere, and – when you step out of the beaming spa and feel like your time-worn carcass has just won the Rejuvenation Lottery, guess what? You are still on vacation in the middle of a charming seaside resort by the lake.
9. To swim. Yes, to swim. Sometimes, before you have to leave this lakeside paradise, take advantage of the many large swimming pools available to guests. There’s an adults-only pool (with a swim-up bar, for maximum rockstar style), a family pool, and a separate wading pool for kids. In the spring, summer, and fall, the resort hosts live music nights where they grill burgers and more by the pool, making the entire island scene even more festive.
ten. And finally, to recover. Because, yes, you will eventually have to leave this relaxing reprieve and get back to your daily routine in the city. Ah, it’s a shame! But the Lakeway Resort & Spa is not going anywhere: it will be right there, enhancing the views by Lake Travis, all of its amenities beating smoothly and waiting for your next visit.