Miravel Resort … A Unique Stay

I first came to hear about Miravel through their location in Tucson, Arizona. If I am perfectly honest, I believe it was on an episode of Keeping Up with The Kardashians. It triggered me to look it up and see what they had to offer. This was years ago and, although I never visited, I continued to hear about it through friends that visited and found it fantastic. When I heard rumblings that a new location in Austin was coming, my interested was peaked. Being a resident of Texas, I thought this might be an easy getaway. The Austin location has now been open for a few years, and I am happy to discuss my experience including everything from booking to my thoughts on the resort.

My searches started online of their rates and packages they were offering during the time of my stay. Fortunately, they were offering a Texas residents package that gave native Texans a discount. They were also offering individual $175 daily resort credits for use on activities and spa visits. The way the package was presented, it seemed like the right time to take advantage of their deal. Typically, I like to book myself online. This is one situation where you may be better served calling their reservations line. They were the only ones able to apply the Texas residents discount and give me a better rate. There are no military, AARP, or AAA rates offered. The rates listed are based per person, so if you are looking online make sure you put in the correct number of people that will be there for the stay. Although I felt their telephone customer service was good overall, I did speak to one individual (my first call unfortunately) that I felt was not doing anything for their team. She indicated to me that I wasn’t booking my stay far enough in advance and keep referencing how this was a “very boutique experience” that I needed to plan well before the dates I was considering. I left the call annoyed and irritated. After calling back, I felt the quality of service went up significantly, and I persisted with my original dates and had no issues. However, their recommendation is booking 4-6 weeks prior in order to schedule all of your activities.

The rate listed online is inclusive of all food, non alcoholic beverages, and the vast majority of their classes and wellness activities. When you are looking to book, go to their website and click on daily schedule at the top of the page. You can peruse all of the activities available on the dates you are looking to visit. It is good information to have prior to booking, and I am going to discuss some of my favorites below in a little more detail.

Let’s talk about arrival and the grounds themselves. Miravel does offer an airport shuttle for guests in need of this service. We arrived via car, so I do not know exact details about the airport shuttle. Valet parking for those driving is complimentary. You will find the property after driving on a two lane paved road not too much outside of civilization. That being said, it does still have that secluded feel. It is rather easy to navigate to the guest registration area. At check in, we were offered our complimentary Mirvel tote or backpack along with a water bottle. The bag is fantastic for walking around the property and bottle handy for all of the water filling stations. The staff that checks you in will then take you on a golf cart tour of the property and drop you off at your room with bags. The property itself is not really what I would call “beautiful” per se. All of the buildings that contain guest suites are white in color and multi-story. I’d describe the structures as having a very functional appearance … not designed to look glamorous. That being said, the two pools and accompanying hot tubs have great views with one overlooking Lake Travis. It is infinity edge and an enjoyable temperature with lots of seating areas. Also, the entry to the spa is rather inviting. Surrounding the white guest buildings is mainly trees and nature. They have incorporated hammocks, firepits, other seating areas, gardens, and a labyrinth. You will also see a number of hiking trails originating from the property as well.

As far as the room itself, we went for the most inexpensive option, which I believe was the dreamcatcher queen. The location was central being in building 7. Here is the bad news though. This room was small, very tiny. I understand that they do mention the square footage online, but when you see it in person, it is miniature. The bathroom to me did not appear as it did in the photos online. It was rather dull and uninviting. I’ll move on to some good news. The amenities such as the products and robe/slippers were wonderful. They also have a drybar hairdryer in every room. The patio was fantastic and a relaxing place to enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon snack with views of nature. You can keep any drinks or snacks you want in the room refrigerator as well as chill water in the filter/purifier they provide. The actual best part was the bed. This bed really is what dreams are made of. I will go out on a limb here and say this is the most comfortable hotel bed I have ever slept in. You sink into it. It was incredible if you are into super soft bedding. I absolutely loved it for my stay, but it probably wouldn’t be a good option for my back and neck long term.

Moving on, I have to cover the food selections. Having food included in a stay can sometimes be for better or for worse. It is fantastic to try things you normally wouldn’t and order whatever you want. At the same time, it typically means that I am over ordering and potentially overeating. The main dining area has indoor and outdoor seating serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can order food to have in your room as well. We enjoyed all of our meals in the dining room. I would describe all of the food as good and offering health conscious selections for all types of eaters. I didn’t have anything that I felt was really below par. The service in the dining room was not stellar. The wait staff seemed like they were spread thin for just about every meal. I hate to say it, but I never felt like I received attentive service.

Between meals, you can go to the bar and order coffee and smoothies. The smoothies were tasty, but there was definitely wide inconsistencies in the final product dependent upon what staff member made it. In the afternoon starting at 2pm, they offer cheese and charceuterie boards for snacking. These were a really tasty afternoon snack. Directly adjacent to the bar, they have an assortment of cold items you can take to go. The Avocado Cacao cookies are impressively good. Keep this in mind when making snack choices. Although alcohol is not included, they do have a list of mocktails that are very worthy of a try. Do not glaze over these when looking through the menu. I had to save the best for last. One of the paid culinary options was something called “Cook with me Chef.” It is $175 per person and we used our resort credit, so it essentially ended up being included. Chef Michael Sabrin cooked a 5 course meal in front of us while providing wine pairings. If you see this on the schedule, it absolutely worth it. I’m going to share some of my favorites from the menu that evening: arugula salad with grilled peaches, raw tomatillos, local goat cheese, and a jalapeno vinaigrette, halibut with parsley, salt, and pepper served with almond grits made with avocado garnished with cashew cream sauce, pomegranate seeds, and mushrooms, poblano bread pudding served with our prime beef, and the Apostles Sherry served with our desert. Chef Michael was so pleasant to interact with giving out tips and tricks all while effortlessly creating a memorable meal. When I booked, the representative I was speaking with said this was one of her favorite things that the resort offers. I can see exactly why now.

I still have to cover all of the activities! These activities run the gamut from archery, physical fitness, beekeeping, farming chickens, wellness lectures, meditation, and culinary pursuits. As you can see, it is a rather broad range. Prior to arrival, I recommend scheduling whatever activities you are interested in by using the online portion as your guide to see what suits your interests. Then, call one of the customer service representatives to make your schedule. After the call, they will send you an email with all of your selections. One point that is really nice and worthy of mention is the times you are able to schedule. On the day of check in, you are able to schedule activities as early as 11am. On check out, you are able to stay until 5pm. This really is fantastic if your schedule allows and makes you feel as if you are really taking advantage of the time available.

I am first going to mention all of the physical fitness choices we tried and then the culinary classes. If you do not want to sign up for activities, there is a large gym with many different cardio machines. I always love it when a gym has a stairclimber, so I was pretty much sold on it immediately. The classes that we tried were: bosu ball challenge, hills and drills, abs and glutes, roll with it, body and barre, floating meditation, and outdoor fitness fusion. Particular favorites of mine were the bosu ball challenge, outdoor fitness fusion, and floating meditation. It made me think that having a bosu ball at home would be great for workouts and not require that I go to the gym. I enjoyed getting ideas for at home workouts. The classes were a great length and never a complete killer as far as difficulty. Floating meditation was something that turned out to be extremely relaxing. I usually function on a daily basis with some resting level of anxiety. If anything is going to help you, it might be floating meditation. Whether you are in need of relaxation or not, I feel like many could thoroughly enjoy this. You lie in an aerial “cocoon” while you are guided through a meditation. The instructor will provide you with a blanket or gentle rocking if you would like as she leads you through the meditation. I’ve never done anything similar, and I would definitely sign up for this again on a return visit.

For culinary options, we decided on the quick sip, cook with me chef (referenced above), blend and balance smoothie, Texas salsa, and In a Nutshell. For quick sip, chef Michael will pour you a glass of wine and, talk about not only your pour, but provide some wine knowledge. Blend and balance smoothie was a course taught by a registered dietician (Samantha Blumenthal). She was very knowledgeable. I have tried making smoothies in the past, and they never seemed quite right. After listening to her talk, I see exactly where I was going wrong. This was very enlightening. Along with this, In a Nutshell was quite intriguing. Honestly, I did not know you could make milk from so many different types of nuts. We made our own cashew milk. The entire process was new to me. It could easily be recreated at home. These classes really helped to open my eyes to new ideas. Finally, Texas Salsa was just a great way to enjoy some homemade tortilla chips and explore how to make your own salsa. Even if you don’t want to learn how to make salsa, who turns down homemade chips and salsa?

That was a lot of information to cover. Let me summarize the pros and cons. For me, the cons were the room size of the dreamcatcher queen and the service provided in the Hilltop crossings kitchen. Also, Miravel is a digital device free resort. There are designed areas of use for your phone. For me, this was a positive and negative. The pros and highlights were so many great classes that left me with a lot of new things to try at home, a fantastic bed to sleep in, and some wonderful relaxation in their fantastic pools.

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