Whether couples have had to spend their quarantines apart, or Mom and Dad desperately need time away from the kids, a getaway-for-two is looking pretty good right now.
As Texas continues to reopen businesses and loosen restrictions, the local travel industry is ready to ramp up business. Hotels and resorts are implementing new precautionary protocols like reduced occupancies, enhanced sanitation efforts, and contactless check-in and room service. Boutique retreats somewhat off the grid are even more sought-after as travelers look to avoid large crowds.
Here are five Texas destinations perfect for a quick couple’s getaway, all offering vacation-caliber amenities with enhanced safety precautions. The best part: all are just an easy road trip away from Austin.
The JL Bar & Ranch, Resort & Spa, Sonora
With just 32 accommodations sitting upon 13,000 acres, this luxe ranch and resort (about 185 miles west of Austin) provides plenty of opportunity for social distancing. The property just celebrated its grand reopening on May 20 and is taking all the necessary COVID-19 precautions such as increased cleaning and sanitation. Guests can choose from one of 16 luxury cabins or 16 spacious suites, each combining rustic elegance with modern indulgences like custom-made furniture, lavish linens, and contactless room service. (There is a main dining room with a bar and lounge on site for those who wish to venture out.) Located on the outer edges of the Texas Hill Country about an hour south of San Angelo, the property has also just unveiled Archer’s Nest Villa, a six-bedroom private home that comes with butler service, a private swimming pool, home theater, and outdoor barbecue pavilion with outdoor kitchen. Activities range from horseback riding and shooting lessons to spa services and sunset cocktails. The standard rate is $599 per night, which includes breakfast. But now through July 8, visitors can book three nights at $399 and get a complimentary fourth night.
Lucky Arrow Retreat, Dripping Springs
Contactless hotel check-in is just one precautionary perk at this Dripping Springs getaway, which features cabins, porch houses, and luxury yurts — those cute little circular tents that take “glamping” to a new level. Most of the 36 accommodations at this retreat on the outskirts of Austin are charmingly small, ranging from 200 to nearly 400 square feet with cozy and modern furnishings. The four-bedroom, three-bath Ranch House provides plenty of space for those who prefer more room to spread out. Outdoor activity is encouraged, with porch sitting overlooking the woodsy terrain at the top of the list. Guests can also take a three-minute walk to Lucky Arrow’s neighboring Bell Springs Winery and Bell Springs Brewing Company, both now open Fridays through Sundays. Rates vary based on day of the week, but start $109 a night for yurts and $149 a night for cabins.
La Cantera Resort & Spa, San Antonio
Set to reopen June 3 with enhanced sanitation initiatives, San Antonio's La Cantera Resort & Spa is ready to welcome back guests looking for a retreat from reality. Overnight occupancy will be limited to 50 percent, and capacity will be limited in all restaurants, lobby areas, and pools. This includes the tranquil adults-only infinity pool that offers private cabanas and expansive views of wooded bluffs. The Loma de Vida spa and wellness sanctuary will open June 1 for hair and nail appointments, to start. Note that the resort has temporarily suspended daily in-room housekeeping, but sanitation amenities will be included in guest welcome packets and in rooms. The La Cantera Resort & Spa app (coming soon) will allow for contact-free check-in and food and drink ordering throughout the property. Rates start at $199 per night.
Sage Hill Inn & Spa, Kyle
Take the long and winding road to peaceful seclusion at this Central Texas hideaway located about 25 minutes south of Austin. Each stay includes sweeping views, opulent amenities, and a three-course dinner and breakfast in bed delivered to your cottage or suite. There are 16 accommodations here, including one 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom ranch house with a private fire pit and hot tub. Sage Hill’s on-site “Garden Spa” is named for the property’s towering garden, which blooms with giant zinnias and morning glories along with fragrant herbs and hearty vegetables. The pool is also open for a quick dip. Note that the property is typically adults only, but Sage Hill Inn is allowing family stays now through June 15. Rates range from around $320 to $640 per night for weeknight stays, including tax.
Sunflower Beach, Port Aransas
The new resort and residences development is just a short golf cart ride from the center of Port Aransas, now revitalized after Hurricane Harvey’s wrath swept through nearly three years ago. Pastel-colored homes and townhouses are available for vacation rentals, along with cute luxury beach cabins in a section called The Camp. Each cabin offers a private yard and indoor fireplace. Guests get access to two private pools (one is adults-only and both are at reduced capacity right now) and a regularly raked private beach area with a concierge that provides towels, sunscreen and water, and umbrella and chairs for rent. A bike or golf cart ride on the beach is easy with on-site rentals. Guests can stay nourished at Turtle’s Poolside Grill, a seasonal poolside café located at the property’s Beach Club. Cabins start at $250 to $300 per night and homes start at $375 per night.