Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beauty's Spa: Lake Austin Spa Resort - The Ultimate Spa Experience

It does not show up on film but in the afghan-draped sofa chair by the fire place, there is a hollow shell of my old self. This month has been a constant journey for me. In the last 30 days, with destinations as widespread as New York City, San Felipe Mexico, Los Angeles and Dewey Beach, Delaware, I've travelled through much of the North American Continent. In the middle of it all, both geographically and sequentially speaking, I spent a day in heaven.

Voted the #1 destination spa by Conde Nast Traveller's readers' choice awards (the Oscars of the spa industry) Lake Austin Spa Resort is a slightly larger version of the ideal ancestral family home. I first heard about this must see spa from a friend who visits for a week each time her children are in utero. (Note to my future husband, a week at Lake Austin Spa Resort is to be included in any supposed pregnancy budget.) Rather than devour the resort ravenously through pre-visit research as is my usual routine, I decided (out of fashion week vagabond necessity as much as marketing-jaded skepticism) to walk in blindly. I wanted my experience, and my ability to relate it to you, unfettered by expectations.

During the conscious moments of my stay I repeatedly thought 'this is exactly what I would want my family vacation home to be.' Hammocks dotting the shore line of a lake so green the line between it and the foliage surrounding it was consistently undefined, hot tubs and pools in most sitting areas, an unmaginable list of decadent, effective spa treatments, outdoor treatments rooms and showers, hydro bikes, kayaks, an outdoor yoga deck a top the lake, an organic garden that supplies the chef's cupboards, a gym where all of my obsessively athletic relatives are confined. In sum 19 acres where it's completely acceptable to wear nothing but a bathrobe and unlimited fat free frozen yogurt is offered frequently and often by people whom I have never met before. I could go on, forever. The point is, like one of the five tenants of Islam, if you are ever of the earthy means to do so you have a personal and spiritual obligation to journey, (here's where it differs - a lot - from the Q'uran) to the middle of Texas. If you never get there, you can't say I didn't tell you. Please just trust me and go.

On my day there after being rubbed down, hot tub soaked, swimming in the most enchanting pool barn (I know, not even Martha Stewart can imagine a pool so pleasant it is housed in refurbished, garden-moated, barn) and lolling in a lake side hammock, I finally, overcome with delirious relaxation, sat down to nap. A moment after my exhausted body collapsed into the comfy embrace of the over sized sofa chair I fell into a deep cathartic slumber. This nap was the kind that invites a deep meditative conversation with the universe. I think during this nap I made an agreement with the universe about treating myself more gently and promising to let go of any notion that I am not deserving of the absolute best of everything the world has to offer. And isn't that the purpose of a Spa? To heal and rejuvenate? Honestly, it is easy to make such an agreement at Lake Austin Spa Resort as it is a literal slice of heaven. (In all the years I have imagined heaven, I never dreamed a 19 acre parcel of highland lake country in Austin, Texas is actually what lays behind the pearly gates - but it is. Texas? Really? huh. )

The effect, one week later, has not worn off. I left behind, in the blue room, the quickly fading adolescent idea that I am somehow undeserving of living this life to fullest with the best possible friends, companions, and business associates. I can't explain it except to say that when I woke up, a hologram of myself stayed - perhaps to continue breathing in the healing waters and treatments - while the rest of me goes forth, a little stronger from having been in a place so safe so restful so unpretentious that I am certain it was meant for nothing else than to wrap myself in love and a healing consciousness so authentic that it is mine to carry with me wherever I may roam.

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