For a year, we hunkered down in our homes, attempting to keep our loved ones safe through a pandemic. Now that the dark days are over, spas, restaurants, and social scenes are seeing a resurgence like never before. And Hotel ZaZa is your one-stop luxury wellness destination in downtown Austin, TX.
Whether staying at the hotel or not, you can book a spa appointment at ZaSpa at Hotel ZaZa Austin. A calming oasis amidst the big city, ZaSpa offers a list of services including hot stone and deep tissue massages, ZaSpa signature holistic facials, and full-body treatments.
The prices are the same for hotel guests or just fatigued everyday folks who want to pop in the spa for a pick-me-up. (An exception to that is the Perfectly Pampered package, which includes overnight accommodations, a $200 spa credit, valet parking, and a complimentary in-room DIY BABOR facial.)
Your Choice of Massage
As a triathlete-in-training, I opted for the Have No Mercy Deep Tissue Massage. It lived up to its name. If you choose to go to the spa for a service with such a label, be ready to get what you paid for — elbows, a strong touch, and nada mercy. (Unless you ask for it; my therapist, Lisa, asked several times if the pressure was good. If it’s not, don’t be afraid to speak up).
Going back to the “dark days are over” opening remark, the economic impact of vaccinations and Texas’ loosened COVID precautionary guidelines cannot be overstated. There has been a sudden and sharp spike in demand for all spa services since March, especially massage therapy. Many spas are grappling with overwhelming demand and insufficient staff available. For that reason, you can expect a 1-2 month wait list for appointments at most spas. Fortunately, ZaSpa has enough staff on site and on call to accommodate massage appointments as soon as the week of the call requesting a visit.
After the spa, I visited Hotel ZaZa’s fitness center. There’s a lot about this fully-stocked gym that will appeal to fitness enthusiasts. That means, not only the usual bikes and dumbbells, but there were plyometric boxes, TRX straps, stability balls, kettlebells, a heavy boxing bag, and much more. Most equipment was Technogym, the creme de la creme of Italian-made commercial fitness equipment.
Work Out Like a Pro
If you’re wanting a quick, fun, varied workout, try a circuit of 500-meter row, 5-mile ride on the indoor cycling bike, and finish with a 5-minute run on the curved self-propelled treadmill. (If you’ve never run on a treadmill with a non-motorized belt, you’re in for a treat. This tread fires up your glutes more than it’s plug-and-play counterpart!) If you’re feeling tough, repeat that for a second circuit. If not, throw in the towel and go to the pool.
Pool and Group Therapy
The pool at Hotel ZaZa is small but fabulous. It’s on the 7th floor of the building, adjacent to the lounge, called Group Therapy. (After this year, couldn’t we all stand a little group therapy? I digress, but yaaaaas). Because of the intimate nature of the pool and the servers who want guests to wait for nothing, the pool is only accessible to overnight hotel guests. Hotel ZaZa offers three pool packages: a Pool Package with Morning Lounger, Pool Package with Afternoon Lounger, and an upscale Cabana Package. Those packages can be booked here.
Delicious Happy Hour
For those looking for the luxe life on a budget, visit Group Therapy on a Wednesday. Wine is half-price off bottles and $2 off glasses. All whiskey over $30 is half-price. Bites are buy-one, get-one half off. Then there’s the live music to entertain you while you sip your pocketbook-friendly beverage of choice. (Group Therapy is one of the only Austin lounges that I’ve seen offer Cakebread Chardonnay by the glass!) As a nutritionist, I cannot rave enough about the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, no sauce, light on the rice. This dish is balanced with macronutrients and — honestly — just delicious!
When you checkout, grab a complimentary box of Hot Tamales cinnamon chewy candies from the glass apothecary jar on the counter. But let it be known, that will be the least of the hot sensations you’ll experience during your stay at Hotel ZaZa.
Cover photo courtesy Ben Garrett
Brook Benten Jimenez, M.Ed., is an Austin-based fitness expert. Named “Austin’s Fittest Fitness Professional,” 2012, Brook travels Texas and beyond, seeking wellness adventures worth storytelling. Galavant with Brook on Instagram @BrookBenten.