Austin, Texas with Lisa Bain
From Vancouver, I flew on United Airlines from Vancouver to Austin with a change of planes in Denver on my outbound then on my return United Express to Houston and Air Canada nonstop from Houston to Vancouver. A few days prior to my flight from Vancouver to Denver, I was able to upgrade to business class for $127.00 USD. The upgrade included access to the Air Canada lounge at the Vancouver Airport, a free checked bag, a hot breakfast with a mimosa (or two) and the nice wide seat business class provides.
TIP – Download the United Airlines App on your phone or tablet.
When travelling economy class, you must add your credit card details on the App in order to make purchases on board.
Another great feature of the App is that you will have access to the Wi-Fi for the on-board entertainment as well as using your own social media, and texting while on airplane mode.
It is always in your best interest to check in early at YVR. Once through security and customs the airport offers plenty of options to help fill in the extra time you might have. Denver is an easy airport to navigate, if you have time between flights you can get some great food in one of their amazing food courts to eat there or take on your connecting flight.
Austin airport has some really good food options and live music throughout the airport.
The Miraval Resort includes free transfers to and from the airport between certain hours of arrival and departure. Upon my arrival in Austin, the Miraval driver was waiting for me with a sign with my name on it, at the baggage claim area. After a short walk to the car, we were off to the resort. Taxis and Ubers are available, however it involves a bit of a walk to the garage pick up area.
The drive from the Austin Airport to the Miraval Resort is about 30 minutes.
First Resort–April 30th to May 3rd
Miraval Resort and Spa (Adults only inclusive resort) – Part of the Hyatt Hotel Group
The resort is set on top of a hill in Austin Texas, with wildflowers growing all around, and beautiful views of the valley below. Driving up to the gated resort you feel as though you are going some place special. Check in is at the arrival centre, once all the paper work is done I was given a Miraval tote, a reusable water bottle, and a copy of the program with the daily schedules.
A member of the team will take you to your room on a golf cart, with a tour of the property. My room was located in the Serenity Cove building 8 on the 3rd floor with stunning views of the valley below me.
There are four different coves of accommodation in 14 buildings with three floors in each building. All rooms are beautifully appointed with slightly different layouts that include a huge king bed, with cloud like bedding to make you feel like a princess. The bedding includes a down filled feather bed, beautiful crisp white sheets, four luxurious pillows and a cloud like feather duvet.
In the bathroom I had a large walk-in shower with full size local beauty products for personal use. Also in the room is a mini-fridge, coffeemaker, and freshwater that is replenished daily. There was a comfortable day lounger by the window, a nice sized balcony with two chairs and a table to relax outside. The rooms offer a ceiling fan and AC, so you can pick which suits you best.
Miraval has one main restaurant that offers a buffet breakfast and lunch with a small menu of choices made by the kitchen as well.
At dinner they have a menu service, the menu changes daily with lots of amazing choices of starters, main courses and desserts. If you just want to have something quick, they have a coffee shop with grab and go choices all day long. This is a great option if you have a lot scheduled during your day, they have breakfast, lunch and snack items all in takeaway container smoothies, and specialty coffees.
Depending on what classes you have signed up for there are various locations throughout the resort that start as early as 7am and end as late as 830pm. The different location include Millhouse wellness lounge, body mindfulness centre, yoga barn, live oak center, life and balance culinary kitchen, life in balance spa, solidago, blue heron challenge course, hill country challenge course, two outdoor saltwater pools with hot tubs at each pool, they also have the Cypress Creek Farm a five-minute shuttle away that offers an equine center, bee hives, chicken coop, gardening, fly-fishing in the creek and lots more.
While I was at the resort, I chose the following paid classes:
- Hive Mind – two hour introductory lesson on beekeeping
- Art of cocktails – learning about crafting the perfect cocktail
- Transformative Tortilla Journey – learning how to assemble and make a tortilla then enjoy eating them with the perfect accompaniments
- Wine and your Sign – having my sign read based on time, place, and date of birth while trying some amazing wines
- New Habits for a New You – learning about habits and how you can change them to improve your life
- Miraval grounding massage – a relaxing massage that focused on my head, hands and feet
Some of the classes I took that were included in the cost of the room are:
Nature walk, Pilates fusion, Cypress Creek Farm tour, Country line dancing, Yoga Nidra Meditation, and Body & Barr.
I left time to enjoy the resort as well including the grounds, the pools and my room.
Marriott Downtown Austin Hotel stay – May 3rd to May 7th
When I checked out of the Miraval Resort, I took an Uber to downtown Austin to check into the Marriott Downtown Austin for a four-night stay. The drive from Miraval to downtown Austin was around 30 minutes.
The Marriott Downtown Austin is centrally located, a beautiful property built in 2020. The hotel offers some great options for dining and drinks including the very popular Zanzibar, a lush rooftop (7th floor) destination with modern tiki cocktails and island inspired bites. They have a great happy hour. Loaf and Vine is located in the lobby and offers coffee, pastries and grab and go snacks. Corinne is their all day restaurant with a nice outdoor patio on the street level. They also have 2 bars, one located in the lobby called the Lobbyist and the Rye bar located just above it on the 2nd level.
The elevators in this hotel are very modern, you have to scan your card and punch in your floor on the lobby level, the system will tell you which elevator to take to your floor. This is a secure way to ensure that people not staying at the hotel do not have access to the guest room floors. The rooms are nice and modern with all the amenities you need. We were staying on the 29th floor with views of the city.
Austin is a very walkable city you do not need a car, there is a river that runs through the city and you have a few bridges you can walk across easily. The Congress Bridge is famous for the bats that live under it, if you time it right you can watch the bats fly out at dusk to go catch their dinner. This is a pretty spectacular site that attracts a lot of people every night just before dusk.
Once over the bridge the South Congress area is hip and offers lots of diversity including old and new shops, bars, hotels and restaurants. You can buy a hat from the Stetson store that will be fitted to your measurements or a pair of yoga pants from Lulu Lemon.
Eat at a diner that has been around since the 40s or a modern new sushi restaurant. Catch a show at the Continental Club, open since 1955, where Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Butthole Surfers played there. They say that if you time it right you might catch a famous musician who just performed a show in town and show up to play afterwards.
For accommodation in the area, there are Lots of cool hotels including the Austin Motel, the Hotel San Jose and the South Congress Hotel.
Downtown Austin has 6th Street that offers bars and amazing live music.
A lot of famous musicians got their start performing on 6th Street such as Janice Joplin, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and Spoon. 6th Street has an epic Music festival every year called the SXSW, James Blunt, John Mayer, Ellie Goulding, Katie Perry, The Strokes and Amy Winehouse are a few artists who went on to fame and get major record deals.
Just below the convention centre area you will have the Rainey Street area that has a lot of charming bars in houses from the 30s and 40s. This area is being bought up and developed by hotels and condos but there is still a good selection of places to check out. They have a food truck area and different music going on from the afternoon until late into the night. East Cesar Chavez and the Holly district are East Austin, lots of cool bars, restaurants and hotels.
I love this area. A few of my favourite places are Cenote for breakfast and coffee or wine and snacks, Laundrette for happy hour and dinner, Shangri-La cute dive bar with a great outdoor backyard.
For accommodation in this area I would recommend The East Austin Hotel, The Arrive hotel part of the Palisociety hotel chain and Heywood Hotel Austin.
Zilker Park is where you can find jogging trails, the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue, a place to picnic and hang out. It is also where the Barton Springs pool is located. The Barton Springs pool is fed by a set of four natural springs, the average temperatures of this pool range from 20 to 21 degrees Celsius year round. They say Robert Redford learned to swim at these pools when he was five years old.
Last but not least, if you don’t go to Texas and do not enjoy the BBQ from Stubbs to Ironworks there are plenty of amazing places to check out.