If you’re gaining weight at a spa, to borrow a catchphrase from the movie Mr. Mom, “You’re doing it wrong.”
At the glorious Lake Austin Spa Resort, situated in a pristine valley on the doorstep of the Hill Country, eating healthfully is encouraged. Plus, there is a bevy of fitness programs aim to entice. But, sometimes, the New York steak with bordelaise sauce, the day boat scallops with house-smoked pork belly and/or the lamb chops with mint chimichurri tempt beyond all else.
The award-winning resort does an excellent job keeping its swoonable, revelatory food — much of the menu is sourced from an onsite garden — in check with a rigorous devotion to fitness. Where a zen-like barn houses a junior Olympic-size swimming pool, and daily hikes in the surrounding splendor might have you feeling more like a pampered celebrity gone wild, literally.
And for more than 40 years, the 40-room resort has wooed guests the world over with its carefully considered programs featuring lifestyle-oriented special guests. On past visits, I’ve seen chef Sara Moulton chop plums with aplomb, watched feng shui master stylist Billy Yamaguchi cut hair with uber-sorcery, and even received writing tips from critically acclaimed author Amanda Eyre Ward.
It’s the perfect place for ladies to have their own Mr. Mom moments, as we did recently. After all, we deserved a little indulgence as well as those lamb chops.
Here are some Texas spas that are also an eater's paradise:
Lake Austin Spa Resort
1705 S. Quinlan Park Road, Austin, 78732
Who it’s good for: Moms and daughters; girls’ getaways; men who don’t mind wearing terry-cloth robes in public.
Why it’s so great: Signature spa services (try the prickly pear Tour of Texas body treatment, $350) mix with the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Whether it’s doing yoga on the shores of Lake Austin, swimming solo in a made-for-Instagram shabby chic pool barn or eating endless bowls of very good frozen yogurt you’ll experience bliss.
Don’t miss the: Housemade pickles at the salad bar; the luxe signature lavender candles for sale in the resort shop; the resort shop, with its high-end wares and frequent sales; the scallops at dinner.
The Spa at The Joule hotel
1530 Main St., Dallas, 75201
Who it’s good for: Moms and daughters, girlfriends, and those who feel at home in an ultra-personalized (you might have the spa to yourself on a weekday) experience.
Why it’s so great: With its luxurious subterranean setting, the spa derives inspiration from European geothermal treatments. The signature Joule treatment (Monday-Thursday, $295; Friday-Sunday, $310) begins with a signature foot ritual and then moves into a gentle facial cleanse and a Himalayan salt dry-body brushing treatment. Warm volcanic and jade stones make it more than interesting.
Don’t miss the: Tranquil indoor pool, under-lit and perfect for those who look like they like double cheeseburgers—which can be found upstairs at CBD Provisions. The excellent grass-fed burger ($15) comes with “fancy sauce.” Naturally.
Loma de Vida spa at La Cantera Resort & Spa
16641 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio, 78256
Who it’s good for: Moms who like nature; those who would like to ditch the family down the street at Fiesta Texas to enjoy their own thrills here.
Why it’s so great: Situated on one of the highest points in Texas, the Hill Country views are tops. Two outdoor treatment areas called Sky Lofts feature soaking bathtubs, outdoor showers and some of the most relaxing lounge chairs this side of the fairway (the spa overlooks an adjacent golf course). A six-visit “Relax pass” ($300) gets you access to various pools, not to mention the Himalayan salt sauna.
Don’t miss the: Gin n’ juice garden cocktail ($13), which features honey—because there’s an onsite bee sanctuary here! Health alert: The menu at Quenche Juicery veers into clean-eating territory with smoothie bowls and light items like quinoa and grilled shrimp salads.
ZaSpa at Hotel ZaZa
5701 S. Main St., Houston, 77005
Who it’s good for: Moms that enjoy bespoke services in exceedingly attractive, urbane settings.
Why it’s so great: What Mama doesn’t like a custom-designed massage? ZaSpa even improves on the classic spa sauna experience with new infrared saunas that help to detoxify, heal, revive and stimulate.
Don’t miss the: Bella Vita facial ($200), which uses Vitamin C, argan oil and microcurrent technology for glowing end-results. Afterwards, you’ll practically float to nearby Rice Village, where the best sweet plantains in the city (El Meson) and/or a ‘Shroom burger (Shake Shack) await.