Ready for Mother’s Day? Austin-area staycations all about celebrating Mom

By: Mauri Elbel
May, 2021

Moms need a break. After the year we’ve all had, no one would argue with that statement. For many mothers, this past year of momming has been an exceptionally exhausting juggle of working, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling and figuring out how to keep the whole family happy, healthy and moving forward as the global pandemic pressed pause on life all around us. If there was any year to celebrate Mom for the superhero she truly is, it’s this Mother’s Day. Whether that means slipping off for a solo “momcation” (yes, that’s really a thing – thanks, 2020) or escaping with those who made her a mother, gifting Mom with a nearby getaway where cooking, laundry and dishes aren’t included with the stay could be the most welcomed and well-deserved time-out that was ever given. Below are a few ideas for unique local stays prepared to give Mom the miniretreat from reality she deserves.

Collective Hill Country

As the mom and wife of serious camping enthusiasts who are always eager to sleep beneath the stars, staying at this luxury glamping retreat nestled on the outskirts of Wimberley blows my previous tent camping experiences right out of the water. Less than an hour from Austin and socially distanced by design, 12 luxurious summit tents pepper the picturesque property, creating an outdoor vacation experience that is the very antithesis of roughing it.

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Less than an hour from Austin, Collective Retreats’ Collective Hill Country is the perfect compromise between camping and luxury: Yes, a tent is the only thing separating you from Mother Nature, but no, you won’t be spending the night tossing and turning in a sleeping bag. Far from it.

Imagine soaring tents with wooden floors and beams set aglow by a chandelier, a plush king bed draped with 1,500-thread-count linens, a wood-burning stove and kindling to keep you toasty on chilly spring nights, a carefully curated mix of rustic furnishings and a private in-suite bathroom featuring a full-flush toilet and a hot rain-style shower. Our family rested our heads in the family summit tent, a dreamy glamping compound perfect for families. While my husband and I shared the main tent, our kids, ages 6, 9 and 12, had their own separate tent just behind ours – a sweet little setup with twin beds covered in cozy white bedding and topped with heat-adjustable electric blankets. While our kids loved having their own space an arm’s length away from ours, the second tent is not connected, so the setup wouldn’t work as well for families with toddlers and younger children. (A rollaway can be requested in the summit tents.)

Summit Tents offer the ultimate elevated camping experience. Contributed by Collective Retreats.

Rather than cooking up eggs and bacon for brekky over the campfire, we watched the sunrise while sipping French-press coffee on our tent deck and waiting for our farm-to-ranch breakfasts to arrive via golf cart – hearty oversized Texas tacos stuffed with mesquite pork belly, scrambled eggs and cilantro crema and bowls of Greek yogurt parfait topped with berries, granola and honey. Instead of hauling our own cooler (each tent comes with its own Yeti cooler) filled with fixings for dinner and all of the mess that accompanies it, we simply traipsed down to Three Peaks Lodge, where myriad gourmet culinary offerings unfold each day along with wine, craft beer and tranquil Hill Country panoramas.

Hill Country Collective Executive Chef Ezra Lewis leads a Charcuterie Journey. By Mauri Elbel

We started the evening with the retreat’s Bubbly and Branding experience, sipping sparkling wine and marking our own keepsake cutting boards with a branding iron over the campfire. Then, we embarked on the Charcuterie Journey with Collective Hill Country’s executive chef Ezra Lewis, who instructed us on how to create a charcuterie board masterpiece by expertly arranging a curation of meats such as Italian prosciutto, Texas cured pork loin and truffle pate alongside dried apricots, herb-roasted nuts and smoked olives and capers.

Various signature dining experiences can be reserved each evening, with options spanning five-course locally-sourced culinary journeys to more casual, family-friendly options such as the Collective BBQ Experience, which we opted for. Sitting at a table overlooking the sprawling Montesino Ranch, we were delivered a barbecue box brimming with a whole smoked chicken, wild boar smoked sausage and shrimp skewers ready to be tossed on the grill as well as sides like onion marmalade potato salad and creamy cilantro slaw. Have picky eaters? There’s even a kids menu offering hot dogs, cheeseburgers, quesadillas and grilled chicken. Whatever you do, save room for nightly campfire s’mores – a layered stack of jumbo marshmallows and chocolate bars sandwiched between graham crackers.

It’s the elevated dining options and robust menu of activities that set this glamping destination apart from others. In the morning, while the kids headed off to explore the property’s retreat, where they got lessons in tomahawk and knife throwing, I took a 60-minute Pilates/yoga fusion class followed by a green juice booster that set the tone for another relaxing day in the Hill Country. Other a-la-carte experiences available to guests range from horseback riding to live sound mediation sessions.

Start your day with an hour-long Collective Pilates/Yoga Fusion. Contributed by Collective Retreats.

“Families love it because it’s not your typical amusement park – out here, there’s something a little different,” says general manager Casey Morton. “There’s not a swimming pool, there’s no playground. Instead, you get this experience of just being in nature. You can hear the coyotes at night. You can see the moon. You can roast s’mores and see the stars.”

Collective Retreats, which also operates destination retreats in Vail and New York City, remains open year-round in the Hill Country with the exception of July and August. Since the pandemic, Collective Hill Country has kept busy with everyone from couples and groups of girlfriends to families, all essentially seeking the same thing – to escape to nature away from the crowds.

“We are socially distanced by nature,” Morton says. “There are only 12 tents out here, so we rarely have more than 30 people on the property at any given time.”

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Collective Hill Country will be launching their supper club, which extends the dinner invitation to the public. The inaugural event takes place May 6-9, offering 25 seats during two dining time slots daily from 5-7 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. The multicourse menu – a collaboration between executive chef Lewis and Chef Owen Laufersweiler – showcases local, seasonal ingredients iconic to the Hill Country region. Guests receive over seven courses in addition to welcome cocktails and amuse-bouches to kick off the evening ($150 pp + $50 pp wine pairing option). Guests staying at the property on Mother’s Day will also receive a complimentary Pilates fusion/yoga session with a green juice to start the day, and the retreat will also be hosting a discussion for female business owners and entrepreneurs later in the day.

Commodore Perry Estate

Commodore Perry Estate’s intimate includes an organic urban farm, a signature garden restaurant, a member’s club, English gardens, a chapel and an oversized outdoor swimming pool. Contributed by Commodore Perry Estate.

On a recent Sunday evening after a particularly hectic weekend, I checked out of my chaotic house and into an unexpected oasis in the heart of Central Austin. Tucked away in the bustling Hancock neighborhood and skirting Hyde Park, Commodore Perry Estate sits on a secluded 10 acres along Waller Creek – setting foot on the intimate property feels more like stepping into a dreamy country estate from yesteryear than one of Austin’s most lauded new hotels.

Commodore Perry Estate, part of Auberge Resorts Collection’s hotel portfolio, opened just last summer and has already earned a spot on Travel + Leisure’s 2021 list of the Best New Hotels in the World. The 10,800-square-foot Italian Renaissance Revival mansion, built in the height of the Jazz Age in 1928, was once the country home of businessman Edgar Perry and his wife, Lutie, and remains the centerpiece of the property with five bedrooms from the original residence that have been reimagined into lavish suites. A newly-built three-story inn wrapped in a white stucco façade with a terra-cotta roof sits adjacent to the mansion with 42 guest rooms and seven terrace suites that spill out onto an immaculate courtyard.

Relax by the oversized oval swimming pool. Contributed by Commodore Perry Estate.

After checking in, I sauntered down to the oversized oval swimming pool, circled by canary yellow-and-white vintage Palm Springs-inspired lounges, and sipped a glass of bubbly while looking out on the formal English gardens, bursting with pink and ivory roses. For dinner at the Mansion, open only to overnight guests and members, unlike the open-to-the-public Lutie’s Garden Restaurant just steps away, we started with a Perry Estate Mint Julep and the Hyde Park, a refreshing concoction of tequila, herb-infused honey and habanero, and a plate of oysters-on-the-half-shell served with a jalapeno mignonette before devouring the dry-aged ribeye and melt-in-your-mouth halibut, swimming in a creamy beurre blanc and served with potatoes and shishitos. Following an uninterrupted night’s sleep in a charming room that seemed a playful blend of heirloom vintage décor and contemporary glamour, an al fresco breakfast back at the Mansion, a morning run through nearby Hyde Park and some light poolside reading under a canopy of oaks, I returned back to real life just in time to pick the kids up from school – feeling more rested and relaxed than I was less than 24 hours before.

Gift mom with a memorable Mother’s Day at the Estate where she can feel celebrated all weekend long, beginning Saturday with an introduction to the ancient art of water marbling with textile artist Mercedez Rex (May 8, 11 a.m. or 2 p.m., $100 per guest, $85 for members), or have her wake to a calming morning sound bath with HAOMA with sound healer Danielle Goldfarb (May 9 in The Chapel from 9 to 10 a.m.; complimentary). Treat mom to an indulgent brunch at the Mansion complete with seafood stations of soft shell crabs, lobster, crab cakes, a pastry bar and more (8 a.m. to 3 p.m., $115 per person, reservations required for overnight guests and members). Surprise mom with a special bouquet of flowers – Gypsy Floral will set up their signature flower bar on the mansion lawn ($15 per bouquet) and there will be complimentary live portrait sessions with local artist Hallie Shafer in the style of a line contour drawing to capture the day with you and Mom to keep for years to come (May 9, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., complimentary, sign-ups limited).

If you’re still pondering ways to make Mom feel special this Mother’s Day, you can also consider these staycation ideas poised to give hard-working moms the break they deserve with everything from decadent brunches and pampering spa treatments to family-friendly activities the whole crew can enjoy together.

Enjoy a quiet read in the oval book-lined library. Contributed by Commodore Perry Estate.

La Cantera Resort & Spa

Enjoy a Mother’s Day Brunch at SweetFire Kitchen at La Cantera Resort & Spa featuring Gulf Coast Oysters and all of your Brunch favorites ($70 per person) with $5 of each brunch going to Christy’s Hope, benefitting the San Antonio Battered Women’s & Children’s Shelter. The first 50 moms receive a small floral boutique from locally owned Blume Haus Florist, who will have a popup shop at the resort on Sat. to provide you with any last minute Mother’s Day gifts. Gift certificates to the award-winning Loma de Vida Spa are also available in any dollar amount.

Archer Hotel Austin

Whether Mom goes by herself for some serious unwinding, takes her kids or steals away on a girlfriend getaway, Archer Hotel is creating a “Momcation” experience designed to give Mom the vacay she deserves. For reservations visit www.archerhotel.com and use code MOMCATION.

The Houstonian

Give Mom the gift of an extended celebration with Trellis Spa and The Houstonian’s new Mother’s Day Package. Two sweet treats can be enjoyed both now and later: a special Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse Cake from the Pastry Shop at The Houstonian on her special day, and a gift card for Trellis’ 50-minute Recovery + Anti-Fatigue Facial for a future break in her busy schedule. Ordering this $230 package by calling 713-685-6790 or emailing confirmations@trellisspa.com by Wednesday, May 5, earns you a rare $25 off a la carte prices.

Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa

Celebrate Mom over Mother’s Day weekend at Omni Barton Creek Resort with everything from dining and spa specials to plenty of family-friendly activities like Mother’s Day card crafts for families and miniature golf and lawn games. A Mother’s Day celebration at Blind Salamander Kitchen & Bar takes place from 2-9 p.m. on Sunday, May 9 (reservations required, 512-329-5885). Gift mom with Mokara Spa’s Simply Spa Package, which includes daily breakfast at Texas Spice, luxury accommodations and a $115 spa credit per room, per stay.

RELATED: SLIPPING INTO RESORT LIFE AT OMNI BARTON CREEK

Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Treat mom to a special Mother’s Day Brunch at Ciclo in the Four Seasons on Sunday, May 9, featuring individually-plated courses as well as a physically distanced buffet of main dishes and desserts (seatings at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., reservations at 512-685-8300; $115 per adult/$50 per child age 12 and under). Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Four Seasons is offering bespoke “Bat” bath bombs inspired by the city’s beloved Mexican free-tailed bats served with a signature “Did You See the Bats?” cocktail. Treat deserving moms to a nighttime takeover of The Spa, complete with luxurious spa treatments, a visit from the hotel’s mobile margarita cart and optional add-ons. The buy-out includes the locker rooms and relaxation lounge and one 80-minute spa treatment per guest, for up to six guests (pricing starts at $900).

Lake Austin Spa Resort 

Give Mom the gift of wellness and pampering with a luxurious day at award-winning LakeHouse Spa, which is offering spa packages catered to Mother’s Day as well as easy print-at-home gift certificates for overnight stays or a spa day.

If You Go: Collective Hill Country

Getting there:

Collective Hill Country is located in Wimberley, just 60 minutes from Austin.

Stay:

Luxury tents with either king bed or two single beds are double occupancy and the Family Suite can accommodate families with children with the Journey Tent adjacent to the Summit Tent. Rates begin at $299.​

If You Go: Commodore Perry Estate

Getting there:

Located just north of the University of Texas campus, in Central Austin’s Hancock neighborhood, Commodore Perry Estate sits secluded on nearly 10 acres on Waller Creek.

Stay:

Accommodations are in the Estate’s original mansion and the adjacent inn, for a total of 42 king hotel rooms and 12 suites. Rates begin at $583 per night.

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