SVV and me, we’re no inert travelers. While it’s true, I love nothing more than laying by the pool all summer long with my Kindle in hand, when we’re on the go, we want to be, well, on the go. Which is why Travaasa Austin is the ideal weekend getaway for travelers like us.
Update as of January 2020: Travaasa Austin has since sold and is now Miraval Austin Wellness Resort & Spa.
I’d never heard of this active resort until my BFF Lemon and her husband Keaney visited the year prior for their anniversary. Even though I’m the one who works in the travel industry, Lemon is my friend who always knows things before everyone else. So I listened keenly as she regaled me with their trip.
“You have to go,” she called me afterward, raving about the experience. “There was never a vacation more perfectly made for you two.”
And so when I booked SVV’s surprise birthday trip out to see Lemon and Keaney in their new home of Austin, she reiterated: “You should come a few days early and go to Travaasa if you can.” And so we did. (Lemon rarely—make that, never—steers me wrong.)
We had no idea what to expect, but after landing in Austin, picking up our rental car and driving half an hour out to Lake Travis, we saw an unassuming sign pointing us toward the resort. We climbed the steep road up to the top by car, then parked in the lot and abandoned our vehicle for the next 48 hours.
Because at Travaasa, you need no car. You walk everywhere (or hitch a ride on a golf cart if you’re too tired).
After you check into your room, it’s time to make a game plan. After all, there are 210 acres full of trails to traverse and, literally, dozens of experiences to choose from daily—everything from the Two-Step and Vision Boarding to Learning the Harmonica and Geocaching—some of which require an advance sign-up while others you just show for at the allotted time; some cost an extra fee (like horseback riding), but the majority don’t if you purchase the inclusive option.
The rooms at Ta
Speaking of the rooms, they were not only gorgeous and luxurious but offered sweeping views of the lake and surrounding brush.
All the meals, served in the Preserve Kitchen + Bar, were fresh, locally sourced, organic and mostly gluten-free, meaning it’s perfect for those with Paleo inclinations like us (and also well-suited for those who aren’t and just like tasty food).
I’m sure by now you’re wondering what all activities we partook in, yes? Well, to be honest, we had grand ambitions when we arrived, scheduling something for every other hour. What we didn’t realize is that while we came from Tennessee, we’d find the humidity of Texas draining—not to mention, that glistening, chilly pool enticing—and would want more lay time than we initially budgeted for.
That said, here’s what we did leave our loungers for:
Rock Climbing & Ziplining
This was your pretty standard climbing wall attached to a ropes course. I was super stoked for this, as I love any feat of strength; however, I’m not going to lie, I got stuck right at the top and never could make it over the hump. SVV later told me it was because I was using my arms instead of my legs, and multiple (failed) attempts rendered me too exhausted to try again.
You think this chocolate lover is going to refuse the chance to learn how to make some (Paleo-friendly) cacao treats? Never! Six of us gathered around Chef Marko as he taught us how to make truffles, bark and mousse in no time flat.
This was, without a doubt, the funnest thing we did at Travaasa. I have zero experience with mountain biking, so I was timid about this endeavor as it entails trying to ride a bike all the way around a track without pedaling.
Silly me, I had nothing to worry about. We had a great instructor who made me feel confident and made the whole activity a lot of fun. I’d definitely bike pump again if ever I was traveling somewhere where there was a track!
The Farm Tour
Those of you who follow us on Snapchat will not be surprised that SVV’s favorite part of our two-night stay was, indeed, the farm tour. He has a bit of a green thumb—or rather 10 green digits, I should say—routinely coming home and saying, “honey! I bought another 150 plants today. Are you free to help me come put them in the ground?”
We have myriad plants, herbs and fruit trees and bushes—blueberries, Goji, kiwi, fig, grapes, etc.—growing around our old Victorian home, and we’re always more than eager to draw inspiration from other people’s gardens.
Travaasa boasts a fairly modest farm—only 3.25 acres but a very well planned 3.25 acres at that, with 80 varieties of vegetable crops, a large green house and 100 laying hens in a very spacious coop—tended to by Kim, the resident farmer.
When possible, Travaasa’s on-site restaurant, sources its eggs, herbs, and whatever else Kim and her team are growing from the farm for meals each day.
We took the Overview course, though there are also specialties in chicken keeping, fowl, spring seeding and more for those who want something a bit more specific.
The Giant Swing
I think these images speak for themselves.
Because of a delayed flight, we did miss Mechanical Bull Fitness and Slacklining, so we’ll save those for a return trip. I also wanted to do: Hatchet Throwing, the Prickly Pear Challenge Course and the Spa (obviously), but we ran out of time or the activities overlapped with others we wanted to try.
The best thing about Travaasa is that it’s great for all kinds of trips: honeymoons, anniversaries, girlfriend getaways, mancations. While there were plenty of other couples there, I also spied a big gaggle of gal pals, in addition to a small cluster of men on a bachelor getaway. I mean, can you think of a more fun way to travel with your loved one or closest friends?
For more Texas travel inspiration, start here:
- Meet Austin’s Glitziest New Downtown Hotel, the Fairmont
- The Ultimate Couples’ Guide to a Weekend in Austin
- Beat the Crowds at Hamilton Pool (+ Other Texas Swimming Holes)
- Highways & Byways: The Ultimate Texas Road Trip
- Austin Like a Local: Eat, Drink, Play
- Travaasa Austin: Where Active Travelers Play in Texas
- A Luxury Getaway, Deep in the Heart of Texas