The Spa at Travaasa
The biggest takeaways at a meeting are those special moments when the bond finally clicks between attendees. Experiential activities are always successful to break the ice. The 70-room Travaasa Austin specializes in these type of programs in Texas Hill Country and sparkling Lake Travis, about one hour outside Austin.
The camp-like property sits on the 210-acre Balcones Canyonlands nature preserve, surrounded by sky-high oak trees and a 3-acre working farm. There’s a true sense of zen the moment you step onto the worn earth paths to your cabin. The calming vibes really set in when you see all of your colleagues dressed in yoga gear.
The resort offers more than 15 classes of yoga, pilates and breathing. Groups can choose their day from the large list of activities located in the welcome center, categorized by adventure, culinary, culture, fitness or wellness.
“The possibilities are endless at Travaasa,” says Jorah Anderson, senior sales manager. “We specialize in helping groups bond and relax, but also have a lot of fun.”
I tried a boot camp class early in the morning. The air was cool and crisp as the sun rose over the Texan landscape. After an hour crunching through the nature trails with the group, we really felt as if we were away from civilization, just connecting with the natural elements of the forest.
I headed to The Spa comprised of 11 treatment rooms, hot tub, sauna and an infinity pool overlooking the lake and hillside. My treatment was called “The Rose”—a signature treatment inspired by the popular live music scene in the area. Lyrics and melodies of Janis Joplin slowly whispered while the masseuse used hemp oil and tie-dye sheets during my treatment. It really got me in my groove for my day of activity.
Build adventure programs at the state-of-the-art challenge course, climbing wall, zip line and equestrian center. One of the most popular outdoor classes is the Equine Encounter. You’re paired with a horse in a corral where you’re required to brush and pet the horse, before making it follow you. It’s designed to be a lesson in non-verbal communication, associated with self-awareness and awareness with others.
Our culture-themed classes included lessons for square dancing, harmonica, astronomy and Texas Hold ’em. It was fun to learn poker for the first time and it’s a great bonding exercise, especially with organic chips and local beer.
Experiential culinary events are a big deal at Travaasa. We toured the new farm onsite, which supplies 80 types of crops, perennial fruits, nuts, edible flowers and herbs to Jean’s Kitchen restaurant. F&B options for groups include seeding/greenhouse classes, farm tours and a wide array of seasonal cooking classes.
The luxury cabin-themed rooms are spectacular. They celebrate the natural surroundings with eastern-facing decks to enjoy the sunrise. The large windows and natural light are an especially big selling point. For business events, the 9,000 sf of meeting space includes a 6,700-sf conference center and the Solidago Gardens. The 2,400-sf, indoor/outdoor courtyard is perfect for dinners and cocktails.
“The garden is one of the most magical spots on property,” says Anderson. “The mason walls are hand-laid with hidden treasures throughout. There’s a true sense of unity buried at the floor of this space, and that feeling carries on for groups who gather here.”