If 2020 was the summer of staycations, 2021 is the summer of “vacci-cations.” You’re now Pfizered-up, Moderna-pumped, and J&J-prepped for some R&R away.
Leave your corona troubles behind, grab a travel buddy, and hit the road for a grown-up getaway. These five adults-only destinations — ranging from romantic treehouses to chic resorts — are easy escapes from Austin for nature-inspired tranquility, spa pampering, culture seeking, or outdoor adventure.
There’s just one rule: No kids allowed.
Heavenly hideaway: Treehouse Utopia, Utopia
The name “Utopia” couldn’t be more perfect for this magical, hidden-away resort west of San Antonio. Four whimsical treehouses sit between heaven and earth in a serene setting that’s so remote, there’s no advertised address; guests are given a hand-drawn map and gate codes, and are guided to their treehouse by a personal escort. Opened in 2018 by co-owners Laurel Waters (chef and owner of nearby Laurel Tree upscale restaurant) and builder Pete Nelson of TV’s Treehouse Masters, Treehouse Utopia consists of four distinctive abodes built into majestic, centuries-old bald cypress trees high above the Sabinal River.
Each of the four treehouses — the cathedral-like Chapelle, book-themed Biblioteque, circus-inspired Carousel, and large and regal Chateau — is decorated with antiques hand-selected by Waters. Design details like repurposed stained-glass windows, clawfoot tubs, and hand-painted tile elevate the treehouses from rustic retreats to luxurious private castles. As a personal touch, Waters stocks treehouse kitchenettes with homemade yogurt, granola, fresh-baked breads, and other goodies to enjoy for breakfast each morning.
It’s easy to spend hours on a personal balcony overlooking the river, watching the fish swim in the crystal-clear waters, listening to the frogs, and watching for deer and wild turkeys. For those who want to venture out, Garner State Park and Lost Maples Nature Area are nearby for hiking and biking, and the town of Utopia (site of the Robert Duvall golf film Seven Days in Utopia) has several cute shops and cafes. If you want to dine at The Laurel Tree, however, you’ll need to be there on Saturday — the only night it’s open. Treehouse Utopia is currently booking through the end of the year, and reservations can be hard to come by, so plan to book a few months in advance.
Details: Ages 18 and up; rates from $475, with a two-night minimum, treehouseutopia.com.
Hill Country chic: SEVEN at La Cantera, San Antonio
Sharing a highway exit with Six Flags Fiesta Texas, La Cantera is known as one of the most family-friendly resorts in the Hill Country. But climb high into those hills, then even higher to the resort’s top level, and you reach SEVEN, the exclusive adults-only floor that stays a bit under the radar. Peace-of-mind perks start immediately with complimentary valet parking, personal concierge greeting, and Champagne at a private check-in desk. There’s complimentary happy hour each evening in a private lounge, and free breakfast each morning featuring elevated fare like warm quiche and bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Enjoy a glass of wine or Lavazza cappuccino there, or take it back to your guest room balcony overlooking the peaceful resort courtyard.
SEVEN guests also get their own entrance into the award-winning Loma de Vida Spa. For maximum bliss, schedule a CBD-oil massage at a Sky Loft room, then, after a private outdoor shower and snack on the private terrace, spend the afternoon at the spa’s tranquil infinity pool overlooking the award-winning golf course — and keep the craft cocktails coming.
Be sure to book a reservation at Signature, the resort’s chef-driven high-end seasonal restaurant that’s so grown up, they customize your water infusion while you study the endless wine list. An after-dinner dip in the adults-only pool under a starry sky is a dreamy way to end the night.
Details: Ages 21 and up; rates from $250, with no minimum; lacanteraresort.com.
Cosmopolitan castle: Houston Towers, Houston
Houston’s most unique boutique guest house is a fairy-tale castle that rises in the heart of the city. The Disney-worthy Houston Towers started as a 30-year renovation project for an owner who bought the original 1935 duplex in the 1970s and began converting living spaces and adding turrets inspired by architecture around the world. The current owners purchased it in 2015, continuing the transformation and opening it as an inn. Choose from seven regal rooms and suites, including the Fairy-tale Tower Suite (a hideaway accessed by a private staircase), Skylight Tower Suite (a two-story room with a spiral staircase), and the largest Texas Tower Suite (with fireplace and private balcony). Rooms are furnished with chandeliers, grandfather clocks, and countless antiques, but rain showers, Jacuzzi tubs, and big-screen 4K TVs make them modern retreats.
Guests enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast featuring hot dishes that cater to many different tastes, as more than half of guests are international. Located in the Riverside Terrace neighborhood, Houston Towers is near the Museum District, NRG Center, major hospitals, and universities. They define “adult” as “16 and up with manners;” many guests have been musicians auditioning for the University of Houston who can practice on the piano in the ballroom, they say.
Details: Ages 16 and up; rates from $167 per night, with no minimum (rates and minimums can vary by season); houstontowers.com.
Rustic getaway: Skybox Cabins, Glen Rose
Just a short drive out of Dallas-Fort Worth, at the top of the Texas Hill Country in Glen Rose, Skybox Cabins offers a different experience in each of its five Pinterest-perfect accommodations. There’s the super popular Nest (called “the cabin of dreams” by Southern Living) featuring an outdoor observatory made of Texas cedar wood. There’s the Birdhouse, a treehouse-inspired abode with a second floor entry via a bridge from a treetop platform, and the Hive, an A-frame house with a wraparound porch in the trees. La Tour is a French rustic-inspired multilevel cabin, and The Glamp is a luxury tent retreat for glamping (yes, it has A/C). They all have fully stocked private bathrooms, kitchenettes, mini-fridges, and charcoal grills.
Skybox Cabins, established in 2017 by a young family who lives on property, sit on 50 country acres filled with native live oaks and cedars and a creek that feeds into the Paluxy River. Hiking, biking, paddleboarding, fly fishing, wildflower watching, and horseback riding are outside the door, as are Dinosaur Valley State Park, Fossil Rim Wildlife Safari, and the shops and restaurants of Glen Rose. The owners plan to open a fifth cabin next year and are working on properties in town. The existing accommodations — now booking through December 31 — are mostly full for the next three months, but they announce occasional last-minute openings on their website and Facebook page.
Details: Ages 18 and up; rates from $209, with a two-night minimum; skyboxcabins.com.
Beachfront escape: Club Ten at The San Luis Resort, Galveston
You don’t have to belong to a club to stay on the Club Ten floor of the luxury Galveston resort, but the VIP amenities offered on the adults-only floor make it feel like a members-only experience. All 21 Club Ten rooms (on the 10th floor) come with a private balcony with a full ocean view. On arrival, guests are treated to complimentary valet parking, priority check-in, and a bottle of prosecco for two. After a good night’s sleep in a California king, complimentary breakfast in bed is delivered. Modern bathrooms feature bowl sinks, rain showers, Molton Brown amenities, and a special surprise — a television in the mirror.
Throughout their stay, Club Ten guests can enjoy sweet treats and bottled water located in the private-access Club Ten floor lobby, as well as priority seating at onsite restaurants, including The Steakhouse, Grotto, Blake’s Bistro, and Landry’s Seafood House.
Rejuvenate at the resort’s spa with a new Salt Air massage performed poolside in a spa cabana. Then watch the sun dip below the horizon while sipping Champagne in a luxe private cabana by the plunge pool.
Details: Ages 21 and up; rates from $499 per night, with no minimum; sanluisresort.com.