Relaxing on the water at Lake Austin
Hey Hey Diva friends!
Patrick and I just got home from our week long birthdaversary extravaganza :). Each year we try to take a full week to disconnect from the world, reconnect with each other, and relax in a beautiful setting.
This year we chose the Lake Austin Spa and Resort. We aren't really the the kind of people who enjoy sitting on the beach for more than a day or so, so we choose places that allow us to be active, eat healthy, and experience new things. As a health and fitness coach it almost turns out to be a business trip for me because I'm inspired, I learn from the classes, I observe other trainers, and I come back reinvigorated to share my new knowledge with my clients.
I wanted to share a few things that make LASR special, namely, the view, the classes, the food and the people.
The resort has been a staple in Austin for many years. Celebrities like Sandra Bullock will stop by the spa for a treatment and many guests at the hotel will tell you that they come back every year. One lady shared that this was her 32nd visit!
It's easy to see why the resort is so popular - anywhere you look is a relaxing view. Set right on the lake you can take walks, hammock, or eat your meals, all with scenic view.
Being on, or near water is itself very relaxing, and for me personally, it brought a lot of childhood memories back from when my family would visit Spring Lake, MI every summer. Even if you aren't looking at the lake, the resort has provided beauty wherever you go. I was constantly stopping to take pictures of the beautiful flowers and landscaping throughout the property.
I know this sounds weird, but when we are looking for a vacation destination I LOVE it when they have an activities calendar!!! Lucky me, LASR has health talks, cooking classes, fitness classes, hikes, meditation classes, yoga, boating cruises, and more. Every day we would get up, review the activities schedule (about 1000x) and make sure we had signed up for the ones we really wanted to do. Most of the activities were free and a few (like skiing) you could pay extra for.
Beyond the scheduled activities and classes, you could simply hop down to the dock and ask to use their hydro bikes (literally a floating water bike) a pedal paddle (stair stepper on a paddle board) or kayak! They also had a fun floating mat that was anchored just off the dock. It was green so I called it the Lily Pad. You could hop off the dock, swim over, and float your cares away :)
Speaking of activities, don't leave without getting a spa treatment! Patrick and I chose to get facials and massages at different times during the week and both were fantastic. The massage really stood out to me because Elizabeth (I'd ask for her if you go!) beat the crap out of my back! I asked for deep tissue and where many massage therapists shy away from really getting in there, she let me have it which is just what my sore muscles needed. The whole massage was amazing and she would regularly check in to make sure it was what I was looking for. Patrick said his massage was great too - "definitely a 9-10" in his words ( and to be honest, we're pretty picky about our massages).
Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Let me just tell you - Stephane Beaucamp (yes he is from Paris France) is the REAL DEAL. Not only did he study from the best chefs in France, but he came over to America, started his career and found himself serving 3 oscar viewing parties for Elton John! As Stephane tells it, the LA life was stressful and exhausting so he found himself looking for a change in scenery. Lake Austin provided just that, and so he stayed.
It was really nice to talk with him, get to know his story, and hear a little about his food philosophy. He is very health conscious and many of the options on the menu were gluten free, dairy free, or both! The resort has several gardens where they grow their own herbs, squash, etc... making the food that much more flavorful and delicious. You can even clip some herbs on your way out, in fact they encourage you to do so!
You won't be disappointed with the food and you don't have to feel guilty indulging as the portions are small, and you know the ingredients are quality!
While we did opt for some more protein dense breakfasts like omelettes, or fruit + eggs + bacon on some days, we also loved some of their gluten free breakfast treats like blueberry cornmeal pancakes!
For lunch you could hop in and put together a delicious salad from the salad bar, or you could sit down and order a plated meal. Or both! We mostly opted for the salad bar which was just right for our mid day pick me up. One day we even took a salad to go on our afternoon boat ride :)
Dinner was a regular menu + a daily specials where every evening you would have new fish, meat, or vegetarian dishes to choose from. Plus of course....dessert :)
Again - the quality of the food was spectacular and as someone who is gluten free and mostly dairy free, vacationing can be tough - This place not only provided options, but they were phenomenal options. and if something could be modified to accommodate a request - they would do it!
When you stay overnight all your meals are included, so you can order breakfast lunch and dinner freely with no extra charge (or tip!). In addition to your meals you are provided with water, tea, lemonade and coffee that are out daily for you to grab as needed. And don't forget that snack in the "living room" at 3pm (if you have time between activities or naps).
I really saved the best for last. You could have the most spectacular view, the best food, and greatest activities planned but without the right people it could still be a negative experience! Thankfully LASR has hired the best. Like any establishment there are bound to be those stars that shine a little brighter and throughout the week we found a few favorites that we really connected with.
Kamryn - she was our boat dock girl! We loved her constant smile and enthusiasm for being around the water. Growing up on the lake she had lots of cool historical facts and she could tell us who owned some of the mansions we would drive by (like the Dell estates....you know like DELL computers?!).
Lauro - ok, I had a little fitness crush on Lauro. One of the fitness instructors there, he was the nicest guy but MAN did he know how to kick your butt in the workouts! We went to as many of his classes as we could during the week. Ps. I took notes so if you're one of my clients, just let me know you want to try "the Lauro" :)
Michael - he was a really interesting guy! Originally from Australia, he is ah holistic nutritionist and trainer who worked for several years at the Biggest Loser in CA before moving to Austin where he now works privately for a family in addition to training at LASR and giving health talks. He is a no BS kinda guy and he makes you push your limits while telling you its your own choice :)
Andrei was one of the welcome desk attendants and he stood out because every time you saw him he was smiling! I finally asked him where he was from (detecting a slight accent) and found out he's from Moldova. Where the heck is that?! (I didn't know). It's smooshed in between the Ukraine and Romania. He speaks English, Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian because.....yeah :) Super positive, happy guy.
Liz and Remi ahhhh....I don't know if it is Liz' gentle spirit, Remi's dry wit, a combination of both, or just the fact that the service seemed to be best when they were working, but these to gals were our favorite hostess and server. We always smiled when they were on duty :) And yes....I was that guest that got a picture with them when we left!
Oh and I can't forget to mention the guests themselves! The best way I can describe this experience is like adult summer camp. So whether you are more focused on relaxing and frequent the meditation and stretching classes, or you really want to be worn out so you hit all the bootcamp classes you are sure to run into the same people over and over that have similar interests. You sweat together, you relax together, you eat together. By the end of the week you are wishing it was HS so you could pass around your yearbook and have everyone sign it :)
I really hope you get to visit soon - you'll get to hula hoop, learn about acupuncture, take some cooking classes and just relax by the water. If you can't make it, I hope that this post has inspired you to search out some vacation spots that allow you to eat health and stay active so you don't have to "recover" when you come home :)
Happy Travels! By for now :)