- By Mauri Elbel Special to the American-Statesman
It was a typical weekend day. Our oldest had a soccer game, our other son had martial arts and our toddler had a birthday party to attend, the moments in between a chaotic dance of making meals, shuttling kids across town and squeezing in last-minute errands. What wasn’t so ordinary was that by midafternoon, my mom and I were beginning an early Mother’s Day celebration at the JW Marriott Austin. Inside a dimly lit massage room layered between warm, supple sheets at the new Spa by JW, I felt myself slipping slowly from reality and into a rare state of relaxation. Scents of peppermint and lavender filled the air, and all previous stresses melted away during this heavenly head-to-toe aromatherapy treatment.
Post-massage and feeling carefree, we sauntered out onto JW Marriott Austin’s rooftop pool deck to lounge near the sparkling pool flanked by posh private cabanas and shiny high-rises, sipping prosecco and watching the sinking sun cast a rosy glow over downtown. Dinner was just an elevator ride away to Osteria Pronto, the upscale Italian restaurant tucked into the hotel with an outdoor patio wrapping the corner of Second Street and Congress Avenue. Here we shared uninterrupted conversation, a Central Italian red and craveable dishes crafted by executive chef Gilberto Ramirez, like crispy calamari and rock shrimp tossed with charred lemon and artichokes, endive and pear salad with gorgonzola dolce, perfectly seared sea scallops stacked atop potato fondant, melt-in-your-mouth tuna with foie gras and a decadent tiramisu. After an uninterrupted night’s sleep, we woke rejuvenated and headed to the hotel’s expansive fitness center that eyeballs downtown through floor-to-ceiling glass walls for a midmorning workout. One last meal at Corner, the hotel’s restaurant known for its Texas-inspired dishes and crafted tequila cocktails, and I was back in time to pick the kids up from school, amazed at how a 24-hour timeout just 10 minutes from home left me feeling more rested and recharged than I can remember.
If vacant weekends and days surrounding Mother’s Day are hard to come by, why not treat your favorite mom to a rejuvenating getaway in her own backyard? Austin teems with staycation experiences that prove not going anywhere can be the best escape of all. Here are six local options where mom can relax, get pampered, plunge into the pool and indulge in fabulous food without ever leaving town — or venturing more than a few feet from her guest room.
Luxuriate at the JW Marriott Austin
This 1,012-room hotel boasts oversized guest rooms with stunning downtown views, a sprawling fitness center, a less-than-year-old full-service spa, three diverse and delicious restaurants and a lounge-worthy rooftop pool. Surprise the special mom in your life with a Mother’s Day Package, which includes breakfast for two, Champagne and strawberries upon arrival, self-parking, turn down service and a late checkout (starting at $339). Spoil her at the Spa by JW with specials like the Mother’s Day Delight — a warm milk foot soak, a tranquil, full-body cocoon wrap with hydrating rose body gel, a nourishing face and scalp massage and an 80-minute aromatherapy massage ($275). More at jwmarriottaustin.com/austin-mothers-day-package.
Nurture moms and moms-to-be at Travaasa
May happens to be Nurture Month at Travaasa, the destination resort and spa discreetly hidden among 210 acres of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve just a half-hour from downtown. This experiential resort provides plenty of ways to pamper the woman who takes care of it all — she can get a full night’s sleep in one of 70 guest rooms; select from one-of-a-kind experiences spanning adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and wellness; indulge in chef-prepared meals at the Preserve crafted with ingredients from its 3-plus-acre working farm; sunbathe beside the infinity-edge pool; and de-stress at the award-winning, organic (no kids) Spa at Travaasa. Treat moms-to-be to a nurturing prenatal massage ($175), or book less traditional experiences like the Watsu Aquatic Massage ($200), a treatment that takes place in a private pool as a therapist works with the body’s buoyancy through deep, gentle stretches to take pressure off joints and free the spine for greater tension relief (all-inclusive rates from $550 per person/$875 for two adults). More at travaasa.com/austin.
Delight dog moms at the Westin Downtown Austin
Whether you’re the deserving mom of two-legged or four-legged children, the Westin Austin Downtown is ready to wow women this Mother’s Day weekend. Get pampered alongside your pooch with the hotel’s Dog Mom package, an overnight stay with perks ranging from a welcome cocktail for moms and a signature doggie cocktail for pets, an alfresco brunch and Yappy Hour featuring doggie amenities and a pet-friendly version of the restaurant’s famous #16 biscuits on Stella San Jac’s new patio, and mom and dog blowouts designed to style and groom. The hotel’s Power Mom special, ideal for mother and daughter duos or two moms looking to have a child-free weekend, includes welcome cocktails, overnight accommodations and a blowout bar and shopping experience with pop-ups by Lululemon and Alex & Ani at Azul, the highest rooftop pool and bar in Austin (Dog Mom and Power Mom start at $209). More at westinaustindowntown.com/mothers-day.
Take a trip back to Austin Motel
Treat the deserving lady in your life to a Mother’s Day stay-cay at Austin Motel, the recently revamped retro-chic roadside motel that’s been operating since 1938 and boasts a fresh and fabulous new look under Liz Lambert’s design direction. Mom can enjoy a trip from reality by soaking in the property’s chill vibes while sunbathing at the ’50s-style outdoor pool, listening to live music or trying out punk-rock water ballet (check schedule), sipping frozen cocktails from the new pool Patio Bar at Fine Foods and indulging in comfort food from Jo’s Burger Box trailer without ever leaving the iconic SoCo property. (Weekday rates starting from $125 full/$255 king suite). More at austinmotel.com.
Sail away to Lake Austin Spa Resort
Moms who can’t be off-duty for the entire night can still sail away for the day to Lake Austin Spa Resort. The Sail Away Spa Package ($650 per person) will pick mom up in the resort’s new luxe water taxi from downtown Austin, near Westlake, or from Lake Austin private residences with approachable docks for a five-star experience that includes prosecco, access to one of the resort’s pool barn classes, a 50-minute signature facial, a 50-minute signature body treatment, a healthy gourmet lunch in the Aster Café and private car transfers back home. Gift moms with a stay at this scenic shoreline resort, consistently ranked in the top 10 by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, with an all-inclusive vacation package that includes accommodations in one of 40 lakeside guest rooms, three gourmet meals daily, fitness activities and classes and a selection of spa treatments (rates start at $595 per person per night). More at lakeaustin.com.
Whisk mom AWAY at W Austin
Whether mom rests her head in one of the W Austin’s 251 chic guest rooms or just pops in for some sunshine and spa time, one thing’s for sure: This posh property is ready to pamper. And it doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Give mom a $150 gift card to AWAY Austin Spa, just steps from the W Austin’s WET Deck, and she receives $30 to spend on spa retail. Whisk her away on a weekday for Minis and Martinis, which includes a happy hour of mini services on weekdays from 5 to 8 p.m. spanning polish changes to minifacials (treatments range from $15 to $75) served with a complimentary cocktail. Or take advantage of Lucky Locals, which offers 30 percent off all services for Texas residents Monday through Thursday. Stretch out your time away — AWAY’s spa services include full access to FIT (W Austin’s gym), spa facilities, WET Deck (pool) and free parking. When hunger strikes, fresh and foraged farm-to-table dishes await downstairs at Trace. More at whotelaustin.com and austinawayspa.com.