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The Hill Country’s Hidden Gem

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Spend a weekend of luxury and pampering with girlfriends at Hill Country oasis Horseshoe Bay Resort.

By Deborah Stachelski, Photos by Troy Stecker

Picture yourself tossing a weekender bag in the back of your car, picking up your best girlfriends and driving out of the city on a crisp summer morning. Your windows are down and the rolling green of the Hill Country still clings to the last of the spring wildflowers. The drive is so calming that you barely realize you have arrived at a paradise hidden behind hundreds of palm trees. Welcome to Horseshoe Bay Resort.

Located in the picturesque Texas Hill Country wine-and-lake region, an hour’s drive from Austin, the 7,000-acre resort sits along the shores of Lake LBJ. Horseshoe Bay Resort is currently undergoing a $60 million renovation that will include refurbishing all the resort’s guest rooms and common areas, and a shake-up of its culinary offerings and amenities. The second phase of the renovation is expected to be complete in 2019, and will include new amenities like a swim-up bar at the Yacht Club pool.

Two days spent here is all you need for those muscles in your shoulders to loosen up. The perfect spot for a weekend getaway, Horseshoe Bay Resort is close to Austin but offers a wild enough change of scenery to make you forget the last time you sat in traffic on I-35, especially once the first round of mimosas arrives with breakfast.

Be sure to set aside a morning for appointments at Bayside Spa. The newly renovated oasis offers soothing massages, invigorating body scrubs, facials and luxury manicures. A guest favorite is the Blueberry Bliss body treatment, which includes a full-body organic-fruit sugar scrub and warm wrap followed by a facial cleanse and body massage. If you are really going for luxury, pair it with the Blueberry Bliss mani-pedi. After the three-and-a-half-hour treatment, retreat to the relaxation room while cozied up in a plush robe and embrace the fact you have absolutely nowhere to be.

Lunch at Horseshoe Bay Resort’s Lantana Restaurant is a laid-back affair in a Southern Italian style and includes classics like chicken piccata, roasted branzino and house-made pizzas. Grab drinks and head out to the patio to take in the pool views and refreshing Hill Country breeze.

Save time in the afternoon to stroll the beautifully manicured gardens and get to know the resident wildlife. Horseshoe Bay Resort has a rescue-and-rehabilitation program for birds and reptiles, and is currently expanding to accept more. The loud group includes a few cheeky macaws roaming free, 40-year-old giant tortoises, a bright-pink flamingo and several smaller birds. With the help of a handler, you can interact with the animals at the resort’s Birds of the Bay show and get to know how they ended up at the resort, what they eat and how friendly—or grumpy—they can be.

If your group likes to golf, spend a morning on one of Horseshoe Bay Resort’s several courses. Revered as a bucket-list golf destination, the resort draws avid players from throughout the world with its own airport and three award-winning golf courses, each designed by master golf-course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr.

The oversized pool is one of the main attractions at Horseshoe Bay Resort, as guests leisurely lounge while sipping frosty cocktails from Café Del Sol Poolside Bar, soaking in the Texas sunshine until dinnertime.

After a short drive, you can find yourself meandering through the vineyards of several nearby wineries. Sample some of the best Texas wines from Spicewood Vineyards, gaze at the rolling landscape of William Chris Vineyards and stroll through 400 acres encompassing the Hill Country’s Fall Creek Vineyards. For a perfect girls’ afternoon, arrange a private tour with the resort or ask the concierge to assist your group with transportation and an itinerary for a winery visit.

Surrounding the resort is Lake LBJ, which remains at a near-constant level, allowing for plenty of lake fun. Swimming, boating, kayaking and fishing tours are available just a few steps outside your guest room, and the resort has everything you need to spend a day out on the water.

For a scenic end to a relaxing day, take in the colorful Texas sunset while setting sail on a one-hour Sunset Cruise around the sparkling waters of Lake LBJ.

Get dressed up for dinner at the Yacht Club, the resort’s flagship restaurant. The upscale dining room serves a menu of fresh seafood and steak, and has an impressive wine list. Order dessert on the patio and salute as the end of a perfect summer getaway unfolds along the horizon.

Eat and drink
  • Summer Time Watermelon Salad at the Yacht Club Pool Bar
  • Prickly pear sangria at Cafe Del Sol
  • Chicken-fried lobster at the Yacht Club
Nearby adventures
  • Enchanted Rock State Park
  • Hamilton Pool Preserve
  • LBJ National Historic Park
  • Perdenales Falls State Park
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