View by the pool at Travaasa — Photo courtesy of Travaasa Experiential Resort and Spa
Many hotels and resorts claim to offer an "experience," but few deliver on that promise as exceptionally as Travaasa. Located in Austin among the hills of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, this "experiential resort and spa" offers guests the chance to truly get away, relax and enjoy the bounty of nature.
Located on a substantial estate of live oak trees and beautiful foliage, Travaasa is spread out among several buildings so as to allow guests to commune with their natural surroundings. Strolling throughout the grounds is part of the fun.
You'll find surprises everywhere, such as rocking chairs outside of the restaurant or a two-person hammock nestled in the trees near the accommodations.
Each of the guest rooms comes with a private deck or patio that, again, encourages you to take in your surroundings and breath in the fresh, sweet air.
Although not overly opulent, the rooms, like the resort, are luxuriously rustic, and the staff is attentive to every detail and request.
Culinary class — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
The resort offers a broad array of original, fun and often Zen-tastic activities, from healing spa treatments to fitness and wellness workshops, guided adventures, horseback riding, culinary classes and more.
While some of the activities are considered an additional expense, many come as part of an all-inclusive package. Unique activities like archery, bull fitness, pilates, zipline, meditation, Thai partner stretch and Samba dancing are just a taste of what's in store.
The culinary class is a given for food enthusiasts, but it's also a great way to have fun with your partner and interact with other guests, something Travaasa encourages by offering other group activities and meet-and-greet opportunities.
Chef Marko Ellings is in charge of the culinary education at Travaasa, and he's clearly passionate about sharing his vast culinary wisdom and knowledge of the resort – its restaurant and garden, as well as their mission to promote and support healthy, happy lifestyles.
Ellings makes sure to engage the guests by involving them in the cooking process, teaching them about the ingredients and techniques and, in the end, providing them with a scrumptious meal that rivals anything The Preserve restaurant has on its menu.
Private tranquility bath at Travaasa's spa — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
The spa, rather than being merely an amenity of the resort, is a centerpiece of the Travaasa experience and must not be overlooked. The spa menu is expansive and features all the usual treatments, along with special options such as Watsu, a water treatment that guides you through gentle and deep stretches while floating in a private pool.
For individuals or couples looking to completely unwind, you can sign up for the Ultimate Bliss Full-Day Spa Package, which includes five hours of spa treatments, a healthy lunch and access to all of the spa's amenities.
Whether you're listening to the water fountain in the spa waiting room or reading a book by the pool, sitting outside in the dappled sunlight with the most incredible view of the Texas Hill Country makes it easy to forget everything but this Travaasa-made serenity.
For more information, visit Travaasa.com.