Back in October, Travaasa reached out to us about visiting their property, trying out some treatments and activities, and sharing our experiences with our readers. We had both been out to Travaasa for an event, but neither one of us had partaken in all the Travaasa goodies. Of course, we enthusiastically said “YES” to this generous offer.
This past Saturday was the big day, and I was signed up for their Organic Ultimate Hydration Facial. I had been having issues with some unsightly (to me) bumps on my forehead, so I was happy to have a professional take a close look and hopefully nip those in the bud.
Upon entering, my nose was delighted by the wonderfully fresh, soothing aroma of a spa. Sean, the front desk attendant promptly greeted us, and then Maggie, the Spa Director, gave us a brief tour of the facilities. Due to cold and rainy weather, we didn’t take advantage of the infinity pool or hot tub. The tour ended with the women’s locker room, where we stored our belongings in lockers with programmable electronic keypads; no need to carry keys on your person. Once we changed into our comfy robes, we went to the waiting room where there were almonds, cucumber water, and intake forms.
My aesthetician, also named Jennifer, came and took me to the treatment room, which was relatively large, with lights appropriately dimmed and the usual spa music playing. It was a lovely surprise to lay down on a heated table. She asked if I had had a facial before, and I replied “yes” and was also sure to mention that I had Rosacea. (NOTE: When you have a facial, don’t rely on the aesthetician to guess your skin type and issues. Tell her/him!) I was impressed when she recited potential irritants of Rosacea (see Wendy’s excellent post for these) and asked if I wanted to have her do extractions. I again replied “yes”, so she pointed the steam machine in my direction, but from a safe distance. Jennifer also made sure to tell me about the skincare products she was using, Primavera, a line based in Germany that uses essential oils obtained through fair trade partnerships with organic farmers. Most of the products were from the Revitalizing Rose Pomegranate Collection. Needless to say, it all smelled wonderful. Here’s a rundown of my facial:
- Scrub – using round jojoba wax beads meant to be gentle enough for even sensitive skin
- Extractions – done by hand, no scary stainless steel tools here
- Very thorough neck, shoulder, and chest massage
- Rose pomegranate mask with a hand massage
- Specially mixed sea algae mask peel with a foot massage (pretty sure I dozed off for a minute or two) – this was my favorite part of the facial
- Final coat of moisturizer, eye cream, and lip balm
Eighty minutes later, I was thoroughly relaxed. I find that immediately after a facial you never look all that great, because your face has been thoroughly scrubbed clean. However, a few days ambienbuy later, my skin looks refreshed and less congested. Also, I’ve noticed that my make-up is applying with a smoother finish. And those bumps on my forehead? I feel confident that they’ll heal and be completely gone in a month. It was definitely a thorough facial with positive results.
Before we left the spa building, we made sure to closely browse the gift shop. I was pleased to find that they carried Coola Suncare products, a line I’ve been eyeing for a while but is a little hard to find in stores. After getting a consult from resident skincare ingredients expert Wendy, I decided to purchase their Face SPF 20 Unscented Mineral sunblock. Expect a post on that product in the future!
Wendy and I then sat down at Jean’s Kitchen for lunch. We were brought menus with a selection of five entrees. I opted for the tamales carnitas, which were delicious, served with brown rice and corn. We also had dessert options, and I enjoyed a few yummy bites of a lemon bar.
Following lunch, Wendy and I perused the schedule of afternoon activities. I decided that since I was wearing suitable rain gear, I would try the Ecology Hike. As it would turn out, I was the only guest on the hike, so it was just me and my guide, Jesse. We opted for the easier Western Rim trail that was about a mile long. The one-on-one hike ended up being a fantastic opportunity for me to ask questions and learn a lot about Travaasa Austin. The word “Travaasa” is a concoction of “travel” and “pravaasa”, a sanskrit word meaning “memorable journey”. Travaasa itself is about 8-9 acres, but the property adjoins 210 acres of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. The Preserve is a breeding home for the endangered Golden-cheeked warbler.
Travaasa has another property on the Hawaiian island of Maui in Hana. However, Travaasa Austin and Travaasa Hana aren’t simply different for their geographic locations. Travaasa strives to capture the local flavor, so in Austin, treatments and activities reflect the Texas setting. Hence there are activities like Bull Fitness (can’t wait to see Wendy’s post on that!), roping, and horseback riding. Lest you think it’s all stereotypical Texan activities, there’s also a music component with massages inspired by the tunes of Willile Nelson and Janis Joplin. It’s an interesting and unique concept, for sure.
The hike fittingly ended at the labryinth. Even though I tried to make my way through at a quicker pace, the twisting turns forced me to slow down, both physically and mentally. And I think that’s a great analogy for the Travaasa experience. If you’re in search of an in-town retreat, or you’re thinking of gifting a loved one a little R & R , Travaasa is a fabulous option. Just head west and spend some time slowing down.