Finding Yourself in the Lost Pines

We headed to Austin this weekend to visit with some friends and do a little bit of pre-baby outlet shopping in San Marcos. For some reason, rooms in Austin seemed to be either scarce or expensive. Our first choice, the Hotel San Jose, was sold out. We first opted for the Stephen F. Austin until I realized we could stay at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort for the essentially same amount.

The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort is located just west of Bastrop and the actual "lost pines" (maybe twenty minutes from downtown Austin). The resort opened up less than a year ago adjacent to McKinney Roughs and is well marked from the highway. Once you turn down the main road, you'll have a windy two mile drive ahead of you. If you can plan it, stay in the spring when the drive is absolutely gorgeous - the trees are covered with bright green growth and the road's twists and turns are lined with bluebonnets, indian paintbrushes and other wildflowers. Driving a sports car makes it all the much nicer. The wildflower shot above was taken on the property.

The drive eventually leads you past the resort's golf course to a sprawling ranch-inspired hotel complex. While a two mile drive might lead some to expect a grand and opulent resort, what you'll find fits well with the surrounding area. Our room looked out towards the Colorado River (see left) -most rooms had balconies but we were on the third floor so we missed out. That didn't keep us from opening our windows and enjoying the spring air.

The room was relatively standard although the large LCD TV and large bathroom made for a nice touch. What we really liked was the resort itself. Since we didn't plan for any pool time, we didn't get a chance to enjoy any water activities but the area (with a beach and 1000 ft. lazy pool river) looked great. Next to the pool is full-service bar and a small casual cafe. There are activities on the river, lots of hiking trails, horseback riding options and other "impromptu" fun things to do. The firepit closest to our room was the scene of a big smores cookout. The other firepit seemed to be popular with couples snuggling with blankets. By the pool, kids were enjoying an outdoor screening of "The Jungle Book". More adult options included several restaurants (we ate the the Firewheel Cafe), a bar (Sheller's Barrelhouse Bar and Grill... where we had dessert), a lounge and a breakfast/coffee shop.

For the most part, the whole scene reminded us of an "upscale camping" experience... the secluded location, the quiet atmosphere, the nighttime "campfires". It was tranquil and enjoyable. We just didn't get to enjoy it that long but I'm certain we'll go back. That's why we've listed the hotel on our recommended list on the right.

Sunday was a quick trip to Prime and Tanger outlets in San Marcos and a nice speedy drive home.

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