Seeking Wellness in Austin
Seeking Wellness in Austin
Miraval’s newest resort and spa takes relaxation and reconnection to a whole new level
The world feels frenetic, people are too connected to their phones, and friends barely have enough time to catch up over coffee, let alone to spend a few days together really reconnecting. You’ve heard it all before. Let us offer a new antidote: Miraval Austin, the newest resort and spa from the renowned wellness brand, which joins the Tucson flagship as a top destination for wellness warriors.
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About 30 minutes from downtown, Miraval Austin sits on 220 acres near the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, with a view of Lake Travis. “I was immediately impressed by all the beautiful lush green trees and thought it was the perfect setting for a wellness resort,” says Christina, who recently visited with friends Awilda and Debbie for a long weekend of relaxation. “When we pulled up to the arrival area, I loved the use of all the natural woods and the open, airy feeling of the arrival lounge, with the view out onto the hills.”
The three friends each checked into one of the resort’s Hill Country King Suites, which offer king-size beds (“I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud,” says Debbie), an indoor shower—that leads straight to an outdoor shower—and other special touches, like a sound bowl and meditation cushion.
And then they checked their devices at the door: While there are specific spots to power up (and you can use your phone on airplane mode to take pics), the resort is resoundingly cell phone-free. “I loved this! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be—maybe I was at a point in my life where I needed this more than I knew,” says Awilda.
Bonding—35 Feet in the Air
Miraval Austin offers an extensive (and many included-with-your-stay) roster of classes, with a rotating daily schedule. While there, the friends tried a number of these—from yin reiki yoga to a tarot card workshop to floating meditation.
Of the floating meditation class—think meditation meets aerial yoga—Christina says, “You are ensconced in a beautiful lavender silk scarf hanging from the ceiling and you lay down and gently rock in the scarf while you are guided through a meditation that gives you a sense of safety and warmth.”
But the highlight for the trio? Swing and a Prayer, where you’re suspended 35 feet in the air, and then swing down.
“It wasn’t just an adrenaline rush, it was a way to free yourself—to set an intention and choose something to focus on that you need to let go of—and putting the choice and power to let go literally in your hands,” says Christina. “When you are up there, it’s you who makes the decision on when to let go and soar through the air. It gave me such a sense of empowerment and reminded me how strong of a person I am”
And it also offered a bonding moment. “I’m a person who does not hesitate to jump in and get things done,” says Awilda. “But when I was holstered up 35 feet in the sky, let’s just say, I was not releasing the rope to swing down! It took coaching from my support system below, assuring me it would all be ok.”
It was the most memorable part of the weekend for Debbie: “I was really scared and walked away feeling proud, happy, emotional, fulfilled and lighter all at the same time. I highly recommend this experience to anyone visiting the property.”
Treatments and Farm-to-Table Eats
Along with classes and activities, Miraval Austin is home to the 20,000-square-foot Life in Balance Spa, which, while large, still has an intimate, relaxing feel. The friends each tried different treatments—from Christina’s Jade-Meridian massage, to Awilda’s 100-minute Pradhana Veda Ayurveda treatment (where she fell asleep, it was so relaxing!) to Debbie’s Naga massage, a Miraval exclusive. “I booked this treatment on our last evening at 9 p.m. and floated off to my room for a great night sleep right after,” she says.
But no girls weekend would be complete without some great eats and conversation. The property has three dining options, with all meals and drinks (except wine and alcohol) included. At the signature Hilltop Crossing Kitchen, the food is either local—or comes straight from the resort’s 10-acre Cypress Creek Farm & Ranch. Pro-tip: “I’m a popcorn gal and they had the tastiest herb popcorn that they served in the cafe area, which went perfectly with a glass of wine or cocktail,” says Debbie.
Recharge and reconnect
With so many classes, activities and offerings—there are also culinary classes, horseback riding, wellness counseling and so much more—the resort truly offers a chance to disconnect with the outside world, to recharge with friends, and, most importantly, to reconnect with yourself.
“I feel it’s so important to find time for yourself,” says Debbie. “Practice self-care, self-love and hit that reset button.”
Hong Kong Homecoming
Rosewood’s new flagship redefines the art of hospitality
The Rosewood Hong Kong hotel opened this year as the brand’s flagship property—its twenty-sixth, including Paris’ famed Hôtel de Crillon, New York’s historic Carlyle, and the Mansion on Turtle Creek, where Rosewood first received guests on a private Dallas estate forty years ago. Despite Rosewood’s world renown, Hong Kong still holds special significance for its owners.
Sonia Cheng’s family has owned the land at Victoria Dockside for three generations. She remembers pedaling her bicycle along the water here as a little girl, the views across the harbor to Hong Kong Island’s jagged skyscrapers and towering peaks. Long before that, it had been a key shipping terminus and railhead on the mainland, until Cheng’s family turned the centrally located promontory into a park and cultural center. So there’s a particular tenderness to her voice as she describes their newest venture here.
“With Hong Kong evolving from a business and financial center to becoming a true global cultural capital,” says Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, “I wanted to create an iconic property that not only showcases the city’s rich history but also reflects its bright future.”
At the epicenter of Kowloon’s business and entertainment district, the Rosewood Hong Kong is a destination in its own right. A water front promenade designed by the architects behind New York’s High Line connects the hotel to K11 Musea, an innovative office space with high-end retail, dining and art venues designed to lure young creatives. A few steps further lie the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Cultural Center, and the shopping mecca of Canton Road. A few blocks inland, a more local-style business district will satisfy even the hungriest Instagrammer.
Inside, meanwhile, the hotel is a model of Rosewood’s residential approach to luxury and creating “A Sense of Place”. Materials varying between mineral tones and metallics dispel any notion of institutionality. The service is obliging but never obsequious. The experience is more that of a lavish penthouse than a large hotel. And indeed, the Rosewood Residences are designed for extended stays. Guestroom floors greet you at the elevators with spacious salons, where you can relax with a book before retiring to your harbor-view room or gather with friends before going down to dinner. The eight bars and restaurants offer contemporary takes on Cantonese and international flavors, and private rooms for family-style service.
“Rosewood Hong Kong sets bold new benchmarks for design, guest experience, cuisine, and culture,” says Cheng. “Our ambition is to create a new world standard for ultra-luxury hospitality and a focal point of the vibrant Hong Kong lifestyle, reflecting its incredible dynamism, style and diversity.”
NoMad Las Vegas
NoMad Las Vegas
Area: Las Vegas, Nevada
Vibe: Chic and sexy
Fun Fact: There are 25,000 books in the NoMad Restaurant
Don’t Miss: The JEMAA pool party
If you’re ready for something new on your next trip to Vegas, here’s a great option: NoMad Las Vegas. Located inside Park MGM—it calls the top floors home—the hotel has all the makings to truly elevate your Sin City experience: gorgeous rooms, great dining led by a world-renowned chef, a weekend pool party and, of course, a casino.
Location: A quick 10-minute drive from McCarran International Airport, the hotel is located right on the famed Strip, close to all the action. But in terms of location, this one is unique: The NoMad sits on the upper four floors of the Park MGM hotel, though it has its own private entrance, as well as its own pool, restaurant, bars and casino. Its central location means it’s easy to check out what the rest of the city has to offer, while never having to stray too far from your home base.
Vibe: Chic and sexy, the hotel has that cool, old-world Las Vegas feel—think lots of wood, antique finishes and velvet textures in jewel-toned colors—while still feeling totally modern. There are close to 300 rooms and suites, from rooms with queen- or king-sized beds to larger suites, like the 1,200-square foot NoMad Suite and the 1,600-square-foot Suite Royale, which sleeps up to four and has its own pool table and dining room. When you’re ready to bring your stay to the next level, check out the Suite Royale Premiere, a two-bedroom, 2,000-square foot suite with a pool table, its own bar, six-person dining room and views of The Strip.
Why We Love It: Along with the great vintage Vegas vibe and the energy of the city itself, there’s so much to love about this hotel—not least of which is the dining experience, which has Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara at the helm. The duo are also behind NoMad’s culinary offerings in New York and L.A., plus the World’s Best restaurant winner, Eleven Madison Park in NYC. In Las Vegas, the hotel is home to both NoMad Bar and NoMad Restaurant. The \restaurant is dark and sexy, with lots of club seating and velvet accents, all surrounded by some 25,000 (!) books. “The robust menu celebrates grand, clubby mid-century dining with a dash of theater—Grande Plateaus of Fruits de Mer, seasonal pastas, our signature black truffle-laced Roast Chicken, and Baked Alaska flambéed tableside,” they say. Also not to miss: The NoMad Casino, which offers “high limit” gaming like blackjack and roulette, as well as its own bar. The NoMad Pool is primed for relaxation on the weekdays—and for partying from Friday to Sunday. That’s when you’ll find the JEMAA pool party, complete with DJs, music, bottle service, and more. Along with these features, there are amenities like a spa and 24-hour fitness center, both of which are accessed through Park MGM, as well as lots of space for meetings and events.
Why Go F1rst: If you book your stay through First in Service, you’ll receive a slew of extra amenities, including a $100 food and beverage credit, early-check and late check-out and a room upgrade, if available.
F1S Tips: Want to relax with a spa service? You can head to the spa at the Park MGM—or have the service done right in your room. Also fun: Jazz fans should reserve Sundays for the Jazz Brunch at the NoMad Bar.
Conrad Washington, DC
Conrad Washington, DC
Area: Downtown Washington, DC
Fun Fact: The restaurant’s chefs competed on Top Chef
Don’t Miss: The Sakura Club
There’s a new spot in DC to make your home base while visiting the city: Conrad Washington, DC. The flagship property for this high-end Hilton line of hotels, the Conrad is part of CityCenter DC, a development in the center of the nation’s capital, featuring high-end shopping and food options. The Conrad also offers its own signature restaurant and lounge with amazing city views, as well as its one-of-a-kind Sakura Club, which offers exclusive access to unique amenities.
Location: Here’s what makes the location of this hotel distinct: It’s part of CityCenter DC, a hub for high-end shopping and dining, including designer stores like Gucci and Hermès alongside must-try restaurants like Centrolina and Momofuku. And, with its central location smack in the center of Downtown DC, the Conrad is steps away from many DC landmarks: The White House, Smithsonian museums, and National Mall are all around a 15-minute walk and the National Portrait Gallery is a five minute walk. Plus, the hotel is about a 40-minute ride from Dulles International Airport, and just 10 minutes from Washington National Airport.
Vibe: Stylish and modern, The Conrad has all the trappings of a great city hotel: Incredible views from floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek, spacious rooms and an unexpected contemporary atmosphere enhanced by elevated terraces and a curated art collection. The 360 rooms feature a sleek, natural décor, while at the same time showcase the intuitive technology that is a staple of the Conrad brand, with smart lighting and streaming options for the HDTVs. Guests can opt for either a deluxe room or suite, the largest of which is the Presidential Suite. Clocking in at 2,405 square feet, it boasts its own kitchen and dining room, gas fireplace, office area and reading nook, and a custom baby grand piano made by DC native, Warren Shadd. Should you opt for one of the Park View or specialty suites, you’ll also receive access to the Sakura Club, a private club on the 10th floor that offers meals made by a private chef, whiskey tastings, a concierge service to help with restaurant reservations, and more.
Why We Love It: As the Americas flagship for the Conrad brand, the Conrad Washington, DC features a wealth of incredible assets that truly make it stand out. Not only is the central location fantastic for travelers looking to explore DC, but the offerings within the hotel are fabulous in their own right. Here, you’ll find the hotel’s signature restaurant, Estuary. Led by Top Chef and James Beard Award finalists, brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, Estuary features a menu with dishes that reimagine the traditional flavors of the Chesapeake Bay. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch are served at the restaurant, and there are two distinct private dining rooms and a prominent bar and lounge, as well. Another must-try: Summit, aptly named for its spot on the rooftop of the Conrad. Along with creative cocktails, Summit offers inventive small plates (avocado fries, anyone?), all with sprawling views of the nation’s capital. If you’re hosting an event or a party, consider renting the terrace event space, also on the rooftop of the Conrad. If hosting outdoors isn’t the right vibe for your event, the Conrad also features 32,000 square feet of meeting space, including three conference rooms, two ballrooms and two executive boardrooms, all elevated above ground level and all featuring natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Why Go F1RST: If you book through First in Service, you’ll receive continental breakfast for two every day of your stay, a $100 hotel credit, a welcome amenity and early-check in/late-check out as well as an upgrade, if available.
F1S Tips: Choosing a room with Sakura Club access really does have its perks: Afternoon tea? Cuisines from around the world? 24-hour access? All included—plus lots more.
The Lodge at Blue Sky
The Lodge at Blue Sky
Area: Wanship, Utah
Vibe: Rustic luxury
Fun Fact: The Creek Houses are for adults only
Don’t Miss: Heli-skiing, heli-snowboarding—even heli-yoga
Nature lovers, take note: If you want both the great outdoors and lux accommodations, then The Lodge at Blue Sky is the place for you. Set in the mountains of Utah, the 3,500-acre ranch offers everything from great dining to rejuvenating spa treatments to tons of fantastic activities—all set against a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop.
Location: This rural resort is set in the middle of the Uinta Mountain Range and Wasatch Mountain Range in Wanship, Utah. It’ll take you about 45 minutes to reach the lodge from Salt Lake City International Airport and it’s easily accessible by car. If you’re interested in seeing any nearby cities, Park City is about half an hour from the resort, while Salt Lake City is about 40 minutes away.
Vibe: Peaceful and bucolic, the lodge offers three distinct types of accommodations: Sky Lodge, Earth Suites, and Creek Houses. At Sky Lodge, there are 19 suites, all of which have private terraces, high ceilings and contemporary décor, with lots of wood tones and neutral colors. The two-bedroom signature suites clock in at 2,240-square-feet, and are each spread out over two floors, offering separate dining and living rooms, as well as a large terrace. For a different feel, there are the Earth Suites. They are “designed as a natural extension of the land by utilizing locally-sourced limestone and living grass roofs”—and all have a private terrace and outdoor fireplace. Lastly—and only for the adults—are the one-bedroom Creek Houses, which are located right along Alexander Creek and feature floor-to-ceiling windows, a terrace, and more.
Why we love it: There’s so much to experience at this resort, particularly when it comes to the wide variety of activities. And we really do mean a wide variety: There’s fly fishing, biking, horseback riding, an 18-stand sporting clay course, and of course, miles and miles of hiking—not to mention painting, photography, and so much more. There are a number of ski resorts in the area, including at the nearby Park City Mountain Resort, which offers a private lounge exclusively for Lodge guests. But if you’re really looking to take things to the next level, ask about the heli-program. Whether you choose heli-skiing, heli-mountain biking or even heli-yoga, you’ll be able to take a helicopter ride to experience nature in a totally new way. On the dining front, there are eight different options, including a few private dining options, as well as The Bar + Lounge, The Refectory, and Yuta. At Yuta, much of the food is locally and sustainably sourced, with ingredients like eggs and honey coming straight from the resort’s farm, Gracie’s Farm. Then, to truly unwind, head to the Edge Spa at Blue Sky, which overlooks Alexander Creek and offers treatments like “Back in the Saddle Massage” and “High Whisky Journey,” which starts with a whiskey, salt and sage foot soak. Plus, there’s a heated pool, meditation classes, and more.
Why Go F1rst: If you book through First in Service, you’ll receive a $50 breakfast credit for two every day of your stay and a $100 resort credit, as well as early check-in/late check-out and a room upgrade, if available.
F1S Tips: Yogis in particular will appreciated the special yoga experiences the lodge offers, including “yoga in silks” ”snowshoe and yoga” and “heli-yoga and meditation”—plus free yoga classes four days a week.
Equinox Hotel New York City
Equinox Hotel, New York City
Area: New York, New York
Vibe: Sophisticated wellness
Fun Fact: Can’t sleep? Ask for the Equinox Sleep Coach
Don’t Miss: The 60,000-square-foot Equinox Club
Fitness and wellness take center stage at this new Hudson Yards hotel—the first for the Equinox brand. That includes access to the 60,000-square-foot fitness center and SoulCycle studio, the signature Electric Lemon restaurant, and guest rooms that help prioritize sleep—plus so much more to make you centered and happy during your stay.
Location: Set in Manhattan’s newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards, the hotel is located at the corner of 33rd street, between 10th and 11th avenue, at 33 Hudson Yards. And it’s quite the new neighborhood: You’ll also find lots of restaurants and shopping like Dior, Fendi and Neiman Marcus (plus so many more), as well as the climbable Vessel, which is fast becoming a must-see for tourists and New Yorkers alike. The area, on the west side of the city, is accessible by bus and the 7 subway train—and is about an hour from JFK airport, and half hour from both LaGuardia airport and Newark International Airport.
Vibe: Sleek and modern, the hotel is the place, as they say, “where the science of fitness meets the art of travel.” There are 212 rooms and suites, which are “dark, quiet and cool”—a motto you’ll see carried out throughout. It’s in the contemporary décor and black and white colors, the blackout blinds, the soundproofing, the shower with three showerheads, and the “proprietary sleep system.” All the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, some with views of the Hudson River and others with a full-on city view. The largest of the suites is the 1900-square-foot “EQX two bedroom corner suite,” which sleeps up to six and includes a separate living and dining room space.
Why We Love It: Just as the name implies, this hotel puts fitness and wellness at the forefront—and then takes it one step further. Here’s what we mean: Upon check-in, all guests receive 24/7 access to the huge (we’re talking 60,000-square-feet) Equinox Club. There, you can stick to your usual fitness routine, try your hand at any number of classes (you can even take some on the Vessel!), go one-on-one with a personal trainer or take a SoulCycle class in their dedicated studio. But that’s just the start of the wellness options: The 27,000-square-foot spa features everything from cryotherapy to an infrared sauna to the traditional offerings like facials and massages. Need more? There’s an indoor saltwater pool, an outdoor pool with great views, you can have an in-room IV vitamin drip or hang out in the super-relaxing sounding E.Scape Pods, where you can “enjoy a meditation session incorporating our intelligent audio library and EEG data, developed with sleep scientists, to help you manage stress and switch off.” Now, on to the dining options. Electric Lemon, the hotel’s signature restaurant, sits on the 24th floor—the views from the 8,000-square-foot terrace alone are worth the trip—and offers American cuisine, plus everything from cold-press juices to drinks and dessert. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and there’s also a bar on-site, as well as in-room dining, including the RoomBar, their take on the mini bar, with cocktails, snacks and more.
Why Go F1rst: If you book with First in Service, you’ll receive daily continental breakfast for two, a $100 hotel credit, and early check-in/late check-out as well as a room upgrade, if available.
F1S Tips: If you take sleep seriously, then this is the place to be: From the blackout curtains to the “ high-grade STC (Sound Transmission Classification)” for quiet to the lux bedding and the Equinox Sleep Couch on hand, you’ll truly be able to rest and relax.
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens