Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Little Slice of Heaven Near Austin

Take Off Your Shoes and Sit A Spell

The Capital of Texas is known for rolling hills underlain with limestone, kids wearing "Keep Austin Weird" T-shirts, the sound of music from the airport all the way to Austin City Limits.

Austin is the University of Texas and its ubiquitous tower, LBJ's distinctive presidential library, and Ladybird's beloved bluebonnets blooming along every major highway. It is sunsets over Lake Travis, amazing steak dinners, and bar-b-que elevated to the status of a religion.

It is zillions of bats emerging at twilight from under the Congress Street Bridge, overpaid geeks, and (of course) the "Leg" (pronounced "ledge").

Austin works hard and it plays hard. Which leads to the need to slow down once in awhile.

Well, I have found the perfect place to do just that. A place to unwind, rewind, or recharge. It is just a little over 15 miles out of town and halfway to another world. It is the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort.

To get there, you point the old Chevy toward Bastrop Texas. When you reach the funny blinking lights drive a bit further and then turn left. From there you will need to drive another 2 miles through a beautiful nature preserve. Take care as you will cross a couple of horse trails and be rewarded with glimpses of the resort's golf course and the Colorado River.

Upon arrival you will see that the hotel is made up of a rambling series structures. It is clearly designed to be reminiscent of a comfortable old farm. Parking is not convenient. But a proper stay at a resort like this means you will have no further need for your car, so that part is forgivable. Plus a hotel staffer in a golf cart will likely greet you at your car to shuttle you to the lobby.

Welcome Home

Once you park the chevy, you are done with it.

Entering the lobby is a pleasure. It is big and beautiful, yet it somehow feels homey and understated at the same time. There are big stone fireplaces at each end, big comfy seating, and a chandelier overhead that is actually an old tree branch.

The Lobby

Check in is smooth, but then you must actually make the trek to your room. It may prove to be a real hike as the place is very spread out. Along the way, however, you will journey through an amazing photo and poster gallery of the who's who of the Texas music scene. I found myself wandering almost aimlessly through the whole place just to see all of the photos.

The Galleries

Outside the hotel is another story. You have horseback riding, views and trails along the river, a magnificent golf course, and a huge fitness complex. Then there is the swimming pool. The pool area is a complete party zone. There is a walk-in sandy beach, waterfalls, beach volleyball, waterslides, even a lazy river where you can jump into an innertube and just float.

The Swim Extravaganza

There is a big bike rack with cruiser bikes you can just grab and go. And everyone is taken care as there are bikes of very size and shape (even the tricycle and training wheel set is covered).

Nights Are Special Too

The rooms are big and comfy and quiet as can be. The beds are great.

The only drawbacks are miserable water pressure (water dribbled out of my shower and refilling the tank after a toilet flush is an all day affair), weak front desk / bell service staff, and that annoying "Resort" fee. Earth to Hyatt: The place is worth it, so just adjust the room rate.

Overall, I'd have to say, this is a place where you can step back to a better time. A place where it is totally viable to just sit on a porch and read a book.

One of the Dining Rooms

It is a place to play with the family, eat some great food, and just get human.

All found - deep in the very heart of Texas!

Roadboy's Travels © 2010

PS: Special Thanks to Paul for the Great Photos!

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