Lake Austin Spa Resort Rating: 4.5 Pearls

This lakeside retreat along the shores of Lake Austin is more than a spa resort -- with kayaking, canyon hikes, yoga and "discovery programs," Lake Austin Spa Resort is a true wellness destination. Its log-cabin-like exterior is enhanced by its natural surroundings, while the French-inspired interior is bright and elegant. The 40 rooms continue this look, with classic but stylish furnishings, and feature modern technology (iPod docks and flat-screen TVs). Gorgeous lake views can be seen throughout -- from the sun-soaked dining room, cheerful lobby, upstairs living room, and even the modern fitness center. There are three pools, one of which is housed in a barn, and outdoor massage facilities are surrounded by trees. The cooking class kitchen is cute and homey, just like the rest of the resort.

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The Most Romantic Hotels of the South (15 of 15)

 This lakeside retreat along the shores of Lake Austin is more than a spa resort -- with kayaking, canyon hikes, yoga and "discovery programs," Lake Austin Spa Resort is a true wellness destination. Its log-cabin-like exterior is enhanced by its natural surroundings, while the French-inspired interior is bright and elegant. The 40 rooms continue this look, with classic but stylish furnishings, and feature modern technology (iPod docks and flat-screen TVs). Gorgeous lake views can be seen throughout -- from the sun-soaked dining room, cheerful lobby, upstairs living room, and even the modern fitness center. There are three pools, one of which is housed in a barn, and outdoor massage facilities are surrounded by trees. The cooking class kitchen is cute and homey, just like the rest of the resort.
Romance is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line, where Southern charm makes everything seem more lovable. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will be satisfied no matter their taste, considering that the region boasts both gorgeous antebellum mansions and modern luxury stays. Choosing the most romantic spots, then, is quite a difficult task, but we think we're up to the challenge. From intimate city boutiques to sprawling Lowcountry estates, here are some of our favorite hotels in the South that do just the trick in the romance department.
This "inn" in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building looks like a classic southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and gorgeous bathrooms. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming (in the two pools), and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. It's not an overstatement to say that the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is one of the most special properties in the entire country. Housed in a beautifully renovated mansion dating to 1843, the Jasmine House Inn has all the charm of a B&B and the comfort of an upscale hotel, plus a central location in downtown Charleston. It has 12 large rooms with hardwood floors, 15-foot ceilings, flat-screen TVs and unique decor that might be a bit too much for some (think matching bedspreads and drapes, patterned rugs, and floral wallpaper -- all in one room). There are a bunch of great freebies, including a continental breakfast, Wi-Fi and evening hors d'oeuvres -- but you'll have to pay for parking. The 78-room Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay is in a wonderful location right on the water in old Rockport. Rooms are classic -- if slightly outdated, with comforters instead of duvets, and tube TVs -- and offer decent amenities such as microwaves and mini-fridges. Balconies are the most appealing feature here, with two rocking chairs that face either the bay or the pool and gardens. This inn is full of scenic places to relax, including the big outdoor swimming pool surrounded by tropical landscaping and a fishing dock jutting out into the bay. This elegant, 127-room luxury hotel is located in a quiet area in Buckhead, but close to restaurants, shops and great nightlife, and a couple of blocks from the subway. The spacious, high-tech rooms are the main draw here, but there's also a wonderful spa (a destination for locals), a great indoor lap pool, a bright fitness center, a casual but stylish restaurant, and a lounge overlooking the beautiful gardens. The Mansion on Forsyth Park is arguably one of the best -- and most special -- hotels in Savannah, with a wonderful art collection, a great cooking school, a solid spa, an outdoor relaxation pool and a popular restaurant on-site. Spacious rooms have eclectic designer-level decor, with vintage furnishings and contemporary touches, plus deep soaking tubs, high-tech amenities, and original artwork on the walls. Those wanting to be in the heart of the tourist action might prefer a property located closer to the riverfront, however. Travaasa Austin is set on its own nature preserve on a hilltop amid forested canyons, 20 miles west of downtown Austin. Its 70 rooms are housed in seven buildings built on three different levels, with correspondingly different views from their balconies. Hiking trails, an infinity-edge pool enclosed by a wooden deck, a luxurious spa, and a restaurant with panoramic views are just some of the amenities providing inspiration and relaxation for visitors. It's far from the city's downtown core, but that's probably why most guests are looking to stay here. The Joule is one of the coolest -- and most luxurious -- hotels in Downtown Dallas. It's located in a historic building dating back to the 1920s, and its decor is a mix of old and new -- funky furniture and patterned rugs are juxtaposed against dark wood paneling and antique touches in the lobby (including two giant cogged wheels), and the hotel has an extensive art collection, including works by Andy Warhol. There is a popular lounge downstairs and the bathroom walls are made of frosted glass (though a curtain can be pulled across), so this hotel is a sexy choice for couples, but all can enjoy the cantilevered pool which juts out over Main Street. Main Street Inn & Spa is easily one of the most romantic and beautiful B&Bs in Hilton Head. Located at the edge of the lush Hilton Head Plantation, the stately Spanish-Colonial-style building is surrounded by immaculately manicured grounds dotted with tiered fountains. The 33 luxurious and large rooms feature elegant colonial decor with homey, vintage touches, and beautiful bathrooms that open to private courtyards or balconies. There are some great freebies such as Wi-Fi, parking, evening wine, and breakfast. It's ideal for those seeking a bit of a reprieve since it strongly encourages relaxation -- especially with pampering spa treatments, and the serene pool area, which is a peaceful sanctuary surrounded by towering trees and trickling fountains. This quaint, 25-room bed-and-breakfast, housed within a Civil War-era private residence, has an excellent location within the Historic District of Charleston, as well as competitive rates. Rooms are decorated in traditional style (white quilts, four-poster beds, wood floors), and the property features a large whirlpool underneath a shady pergola, as well as free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Some rooms are on the small side, however, and amenities are few: The hotel lacks a fitness center, business center, and full restaurant. The Peninsula Island Resort & Spa is a beachfront property located on the southern end of South Padre Island. Consisting of two towers separated by a huge swimming pool, this hotel features a spa with Aveda products and a solid seaside restaurant. While there is no real lobby and the front desk is in an office opposite the pool, this all-suite property offers the convenience of full kitchens, washer/dryers, and balconies with great views. The most spacious rooms are the three-bedroom suites that feature the oceanfront views. Additional perks here include a bright fitness room and upscale touches such as granite countertops. The Dresser Palmer House is a charming, historic bed and breakfast in an Italianate townhouse in Savannah that dates back to 1876. The 16 rooms are each decorated differently but share a similar historic feel, many with four-poster beds, antique-style wood furniture, fireplaces, and patios. All rooms include free Wi-Fi, but the inn lacks amenities -- such as a fitness center and a pool -- that larger hotels in the area have. But the location in the Historic District is hard to beat, and for guests who prefer southern hospitality and the residential-style stay of a quaint B&B, this is one of the best bets in the area. The Spanish Colonial architecture of the Omni La Mansion del Rio in San Antonio gives the upscale hotel a relaxed hacienda feel. The vibe is carried on in one of the city's best hotel restaurants, Las Canarias, as well as by the mariachi performances at the comfortable and lively heated outdoor pool. Some guests may miss the presence of an on-site spa and fitness center, but these are found just across the River Walk, within five minutes' walking distance, at its sister hotel, the Mokara Hotel & Spa. Trendsetters and celebs stay at the International House Hotel for its quietly sexy vibe, attentive staff, and posh rooms designed by a top L.A. designer. At night, the hotel's Loa Bar (just off the rose-scented lobby) serves fancy libations by candlelight. The rates here are surprisingly fair, and the Central Business District location is within walking distance of the French Quarter. The Duke Mansion, a quaint 20-room bed and breakfast in Charlotte, offers a decidedly regal southern experience -- as you'd expect from an authentic southern mansion. The rooms are elegant and individually furnished with original artwork housed in ornate frames, oak furniture, and large porches. Unlike at other historic hotels, the bathrooms are surprisingly spacious and modern, the ceilings are high, and there's a working elevator. The mansion's location in the upscale Myers Park neighborhood is also a plus, with shops and restaurants within walking distance. This lakeside retreat along the shores of Lake Austin is more than a spa resort -- with kayaking, canyon hikes, yoga and "discovery programs," Lake Austin Spa Resort is a true wellness destination. Its log-cabin-like exterior is enhanced by its natural surroundings, while the French-inspired interior is bright and elegant. The 40 rooms continue this look, with classic but stylish furnishings, and feature modern technology (iPod docks and flat-screen TVs). Gorgeous lake views can be seen throughout -- from the sun-soaked dining room, cheerful lobby, upstairs living room, and even the modern fitness center. There are three pools, one of which is housed in a barn, and outdoor massage facilities are surrounded by trees. The cooking class kitchen is cute and homey, just like the rest of the resort.
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