Special Content Collaboration with Texas Lifestyle Magazine
Some folks are campers. Some like comfier accommodations. Some are okay with grub fixed over a fire. But some like to be served a gourmet meal on their vacation. Within this venn diagram, there exists the ideal glamper.
For this model glamper, there’s a hidden gem, tucked deep in the Texas Hill Country, near Wimberley. Recently nominated for Travel +Leisure World’s Best Awards 2021, Collective Hill Country is “socially distanced by nature.” In a year where most of the world’s travel destinations were devastated (financially and otherwise), Collective Hill Country rose to the top of the hill. Folks flocked to this upscale glamping hideaway to experience gourmet dining, breathtaking stargazing and their own space on this expansive ranch.
One of the features that makes this getaway a “world’s best” is their culinary program. From dawn till dusk, Chef Ezra Lewis creates a banquet fit for royalty. Your stay includes breakfast, and you can purchase lunch a la carte. You choose one of three options for dinner: chef’s tasting with two choices ($150 per person); for the grill masters, a barbecue box ($120 for two people); or their recent addition of Supper Club on select nights. This special event offers 25 seats during two time slots (5-7 p.m. and 8-10 p.m.) for $150 per person + $50 pp wine pairing option.
Supper Club wows with seven courses in addition to welcome cocktails and amuse-bouches to kick off the evening. The creative menu showcases local seasonal ingredients iconic to the Hill Country region. As an example, the menu might include cocktails like the CampFire Fizz (mezcal, Topo Chico, burnt honey and lime) or the Lemon Kiss (sage syrup, lemon vodka and limoncello). It might also include bites such as pimento cheese profiterole or sweet Sichuan pickle, followed by courses comprised of crispy squash blossom, lady peas and pickled shallot; braised pork belly, cauliflower, cinnamon and green apple; beef shoulder, red mole and marigolds; Texas antelope, coffee, cream turnip and pickled blueberries; ending with desserts with blackberry sage sorbet, smoke salt and sunflower seed oil. These healthy farm-to-fork tastings are all expertly paired with Texas wine choices.
One of their signature activities is Bubbles & Branding—where you get to brand your own cutting board—and outdoor enjoyment of your own charcuterie board of cheese and crackers paired with champagne, Texas wine or a local craft beer.
Another unique activity is Axes & Arrows ($250/couple) where you’ll work with an expert thrower to learn the basics of axe and knife throwing, bow and arrows and other javelin-like throwing concepts. Whether you’re looking to burn some calories or some aggression, this might be your thing! But my favorite part came after, when we were treated to a CR box full of yummy goodies like hummus, olives, watermelon salad and Topo Chicos. Pro tip: Schedule one of these activities right before mealtime to enjoy its foodie bonus!
Their new Collective Wellness program offers outdoor healing sessions including yoga and pilates, live sound bowl restorative healing and other classes for the body and mind. The property is ripe for self-guided hiking, and it’s dog friendly (although there’s a fee, and you must kennel the dog when it’s not with you).
If you don’t feel like you can get away for pure relaxation, instead of WFH, go “Work from Tent” for the best of all worlds. Tents start at $379/night on weeknights. Collective Hill Country is open from September to June (due to the Texas heat).
Check out collectiveretreats.com/retreat/collective-hill-country-3 for more info.
• 3:30 p.m.: Arrival/check-in
• 4:00 p.m.: Charcuterie Journey w/ Chef Ezra
• 8:00 p.m.: Supper Club chef tasting
• 9:00 a.m.: Yoga/Pilates fusion class w/ green juice shot
• 10:30 a.m.: In-tent breakfast
• 1:00 p.m.: Lunch on the ranch
• 2:00 p.m.: Self-guided hike
• 4:00 p.m.: Bubbly & Branding
• 7:00 p.m.: BBQ Box
• 8:30 p.m.: Campfire s’mores
• 9:00 a.m.: In-tent breakfast
• 11:0 0a.m.: Check-out/departure
The retreat introduced an array of new luxury offerings like reimagined wellness programming and Instagram-worthy culinary experiences.
Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the travel editor of Texas Lifestyle magazine. She began her travel writing career with Austin Woman magazine when it premiered in the fall of 2002. Now you can watch her offer travel tips on TV shows across Texas, in addition to her long-running “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.