Escaping the City :: A Travaasa Austin Review

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This weekend Brad and I took a trip out to Travaasa Experiential Resort and Spa near Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. It was a short twenty minute drive from our house but felt as if we were vacationing in another part of the country.

Check-in isn’t until 3pm but you’re allowed on the property as early as 9am. There’s a pretty healthy list of activities scheduled for the day so ideally you’d plan your day out beforehand and arrive accordingly. We had booked a Breakfast in Bed Culinary Class at 2pm so we got to Travaasa just before 1. Luckily our room was ready so we were able to drop off our bags and get settled in.DSCN0598Guests rooms are located in three-story individual dwellings, which I thought was a nice change of pace from the cookie-cutter rooms in one large building. We stayed on the 3rd floor in Hacienda Alamo and it was the perfect location. 2013-02-24_08-56-22_473

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After we spent 20 minutes ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the incredible views, we grabbed our property map and made our way to Jean’s Kitchen for the Culinary Class.

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I’m going to dedicate a separate post to both the culinary class and a wine tasting we did immediately following it. They were both exceptional and deserve special attention.

After the tasting we settled in at a table on the Mesquite Patio to finish our wine and kill some time before dinner. It was nice to relax and unwind, catching up after a busy week.

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Once our glasses were empty we decided to take a walk out to the spa and check out the rest of the grounds.

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The views out there were absolutely breathtaking. Austin is such a huge city and we tend to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, forgetting about the Hill Country out west. We need to take advantage more often.

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Our dinner reservations were for 7pm so we thought we’d grab a drink at the bar across from the restaurant.

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Brad went with a local beer, Stash IPA, and I chose a glass of Illahe Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. Our bartender was very helpful and allowed us to also taste a Malbec we were interested in ordering with dinner. Another gentleman (a manager, I assume) overheard Brad and I talking about how my phone was about to die and inquired what kind of phone I had. He disappeared behind the bar and produced a charger for me. Awesome customer service.2013-02-23_18-21-18_835

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Dinner was, as expected, awesome. It was pretty cool to watch Executive Chef Ben Baker hard at work. I love open air kitchens and wish we had requested to sit up at the bar so we had a better view!

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It was really dark in the restaurant so our meals didn’t photograph well. But the wine did.

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We started with Portobello Lettuce Cups, and then for dinner Brad ordered the Wild Boar with Blue Polenta and I had Texas Wagyu New York Strip with Oven Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli. Everything was excellent. New York Strip is pretty far down on my list of favorite cuts of meat but this was unlike any strip I’ve had before. And probably the only restaurant who has ever nailed the “Medium” cooking temperature. It was perfect.

For dessert we had Beignets with Mexican Chocolate “Cappucino” Fondue and a 12-year honeyed single malt scotch. Yes, scotch. Honestly I wasn’t interested at all in sharing the Beignets. We probably should have each ordered our own – they were that good!

We brought our bottle of wine back to the room with us and enjoyed it on the patio, watched a little bit of TV and were asleep by 10:30. We party HARD.

Around 3am I woke up VERY thirsty. I cracked open a bottle of water, but I really wanted ice for it. Or maybe I wanted a soda. One of the two would work. We grabbed the ice bucket and decided to go on an adventure. Our building didn’t have an ice machine or a vending machine, so we headed to the welcome center. An employee saw us out on our walk and asked if there was anything he could help with. He unfortunately told us there wasn’t a vending machine in the welcome center but he would be happy to grab us some ice. We gave him our room number and then headed back to the building.

Ten minutes later this amazing employee arrived at our door with a full ice bucket, four different cans of sodas, and three bags of chips. He seriously made my morning. Talk about going above and beyond. Customer service at Travaasa is definitely top notch.

At 7:30 we headed to Jean’s Kitchen for breakfast.

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After breakfast we hit one of the hiking trails so we could see the Solidago Gardens. The front desk recommended we check it out, as the waterfalls make it very serene and peaceful. This was definitely a last minute decision so we went hiking in flip-flops. Wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s doable.2013-02-24_08-42-09_432

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So now we get to the only disappointing part of our weekend. Some of the activities required signing up the day before since there were limited spots. When we checked in at 1pm on Saturday, the Challenge Course’s (an obstacle course with ziplining) eight slots were already full. We penciled ourselves in as two of the alternates just in case someone couldn’t make it. Unfortunately, everyone showed up so we were stuck with nothing to do for the remainder of the morning. Bummer. No one’s fault but our own – if we had shown up earlier in the day we probably could have gotten on the list.

We spent a little bit of time relaxing in a hammock and then headed back to the infinity pool.

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We lounged by the pool for about an hour or so, soaking up some sunshine and enjoying the killer view.

Seriously, how can you beat this? Hard to believe we were actually still in Texas.

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We had an early lunch and our final meal on the Mesquite Patio before checking out.

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Overall, Travaasa is a pretty amazing place. It’s definitely a hidden gem out there near Lake Travis and I’m glad we were able to visit. I’ll follow up with the Culinary Class and Wine Tasting reviews because I think they were my favorite parts of the weekend. Me? Love a wine tasting? Shocking, no?

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10 Comments

  1. That looks like it would be the perfect way to spend a weekend relaxing! I’m often surprised by the many different, gorgeous areas in Texas. I forget that there are some truly pretty areas that I have yet to visit.
    Steph @ Steph Runs On recently posted…Music MondayMy Profile

    • We were really surprised how close the resort was to our house, but yet felt so far away. It was the perfect getaway without having to actually get on a plane and go somewhere 🙂

  2. I feel like all your pictures look like they were taken in the 60s. Is that a filter or did everything really look like that? Love that pool!

    Also, Brad is a good man. If Fabian woke up thirsty at 3am and then made me go on an “adventure” to find ice, I would have killed him. 🙂
    Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run recently posted…Gasparilla Half Marathon 2013My Profile

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