Saturday, March 31, 2012

Travaasa Spa

I hadn't intended to write about my stay at Travaasa Spa when I went last week for the first time. But it was such a wonderful experience, I feel that everyone should know what a great place it is! Mostly, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves....these are all from my camera phone, as I didn't take my real camera.
My food blogger friend Christy, of Epicuriosities won an overnight stay for four people through a contest on Mix 94.7 -- thank you Mix! Each person received a $125 spa credit, and we had all of Travaasa's daily classes available to us, as well as the pool, hot tub, and sauna. So Christy, her friend PJ, our food blogger friend Kristina of Girl Gone Grits, and myself had about 24 hours to indulge at Travaasa. Formerly known as The Crossings, Travaasa has new ownership, and will celebrate their first full year in May. (To get to Travaasa (map), take 2222 west of 620, where it turns into Bullick Hollow; this dead ends into FM 2769, go right, and it's about a quarter mile on the left.)
For me, it started with a 50 minute hot rocks massage at the spa. This is the first stone massage I've had, and this one is designed to balance your chakras. A nice and relaxing way to get away from it all! The spa does facials, massages, and body treatments; I think next time, I will try the avocado body wrap! The radio station hosted a happy hour in our honor, so we were treated to Gruet sparkling wine and some healthy appetizers, mushroom caps and lettuce "tacos" with a mushroom saute inside. 
Travaasa's general manager, Tim, chatted with us on the patio with a gorgeous view overlooking Lake Travis -- nice to see some water in it! He said that most of the visitors are people from within driving distance -- Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, but they are working to get the word out. They are currently rated the number one spa in Austin by Trip Advisor, no small feat, given the fame of Lake Austin Spa nearby, so congrats! Granted our time at the spa was comped, but I feel the prices for Travaasa are more affordable than that of Lake Austin. And Kristina put it very well, Travaasa has the feel of an intimate bed and breakfast. All of the staff we encountered were so genuinely friendly and welcoming!
We checked into our rooms which had great canyon views, and luxurious beds and linens! Our rooms were in the Longhorn building, to the left of the main check in.
The restaurant, known as Jean's Kitchen, is a great big huge room with an open grill and prep area at one end, and a lounge (where we had happy hour) at the other. I started with a mixed green salad. We had a bottle of Matsu Tempranillo, and nice big red, that complemented everything extremely well.
For my main, I had the antelope scallopini, my first foray into antelope, and it was delicious! It was pounded thin, and served with a bit of goat cheese and pecans, and served with mashed sweet potatoes. I would SO eat that again!
Kristina had the grilled mahi over kale, both cooked perfectly, and Christy and PJ each had the ribeye, which was a little fatty and smoky, but beautifully grilled, and good flavor.
For dessert, we had the chocolate chipotle tarte.... this was my fave of the three -- it was a perfect chocolate and spicy balance, and the flavors even more enhanced by the tempranillo.
 ... the blackberry pie.... the top crust had been baked as a separate piece, and then added -- smart!
And the pound cake with soft fruit (on the inside).
Hearing we were "food people," the food and beverage director, Edward, sent over glasses of port to go with dessert. Turns out, it's a Bogle Petit Syrah port, that none of us were familiar with, and it was extremely tasty, though a touch sweet.
After dinner we took advantage of the hot tub, sauna, and pool, and chatted with some of the other guests who were doing the same. In the morning, various classes were available (yoga, challenge course, horseback riding, cooking class...), and Kristina and I went to the chakra meditation, which was held in a beautiful building with huge wooden doors, medieval chandelier, and a calming garden outside.
Then to breakfast, which was good, but not as good as dinner. My fritatta with mushrooms, potatoes and turkey sausage were all well prepared; the polenta French toast could have been crispier. Did have a bite of an apricot scone which was exceptional!
I wish I could have had some time by the pool, but it was then time for a shower, and gathering my stuff up. Hard to leave this lovely place! And now that my chakras have been (apparently!) balanced and mediated upon, I need to find out what that all means! Very excited to come back later this year, as -- *lo and behold*-- there was a coupon on Travelzoo for Travaasa this past week, so I am already plotting my return trip to this little bit of paradise a mere 20 miles from home.