If you asked me about Miraval Resorts prior to September 2020, I’d tell you or I’d ask you, “Miraval what?” I had no clue what the resort has or how one would even book at this resort. It was my wife, Nancy, who clued me in to look at the Miraval Resorts and the special deal offered by the Miraval Resorts and the amazing offer when combined with Hyatt’s bonus points redemption.
Here’s a recap of the Miraval promotion and World of Hyatt bonus offer from 15% up to 25% bonus for bookings through early January 2021.
Nancy and I initially booked a 4 night vacation at the Miraval Austin, a getaway that was valued at $7,000 which included the airfare. Here’s how we booked our stay:
That all happened so quickly. We booked in early September, and we went on our getaway by the end of September. Here are the highlights of our vacation:
When we decided to go to Austin, we made a mini-vacation out of it:
- Stayed at the Hyatt Place Austin Airport for FREE using points
- Spent the day visiting Magnolia at the Silos in Waco, Texas (famous for HGTV’s Fixer Upper series)
- Spent a full day exploring Austin, having great barbecue and meeting up with one of my dearest friends from back home in Southern California
After exploring Waco and Austin, it was time for our wellness getaway at Miraval Resort. Here’s our journey, our road to wellness at Miraval Austin. I listed down the Top 24 things we did, looking back, we did MORE than 24….but here are the highlights, lots of pictures, tips, videos, and how you could book this for FREE as well.
First of all, a “wellness” resort? Seriously. What does WELLNESS even mean?
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.
So yes, this visit was not your typical resort-visit where you just sit by the pool all day. Well, let me correct that. You could sit by the pool all-day at a wellness resort, but the goal is participate in many of the activities at the wellness resort. So, here’s our wellness journey.
1. Limousine/Private Car ride from Austin Airport to Miraval Resort (included, part of the package)
We had a scheduled pickup at 10am, a car ride that was part of the Miraval booking. Nancy and I headed down to the lobby at Hyatt Place Austin Airport, and ate a late breakfast. By 10am, Matt, the private driver, came to the lobby and introduced himself as our limo driver. Imagine to our surprise, we thought we’d be picked up in a van packed with other guests. But it was a private vehicle, a large, spacious, roomy SUV, just us and our driver. It was a very comfortable ride from our hotel to Miraval Austin, just a little over a half hour, and we made it to Miraval Austin just after 10:30am.
TIP: Why were we there that early when typical hotel check-in arrivals are at 3pm? During the booking process, I was told that we could avail of the all-inclusive activities including our meals as early as 11am. So we jumped on the opportunity of taking the earliest private car ride at 10am. You have to give Miraval Resorts a heads-up and inform them. They should tell you the available pick up times.
2. Check-in process was a breeze
Anuk, the front desk associate, was very thorough in ensuring we had everything we needed during our check in. We received a copy of the activities we signed up for. In our mind, our very first activity was around noon, which was called Quick Sip (details later).
3. Cypress Creek Farm Visit (included activity – no charge)
During the time when we booked our activities, we wanted to join the 11am visit to the farm, but it was fully booked. To our surprise, when Anuk handed us our schedule, Nancy noticed that we were scheduled for the 11am farm visit. Perfect.
It was around 10:50am when we finished the check-in process. Anuk took our luggage and other belongings, loaded them in the back of the golf cart, and drove me and Nancy to Live Oak Center, the meeting area for the farm visit.
TIP: If you make it to the resort before 11am, do not hesitate in scheduling an activity at 11am. Just make sure that you’re fully checked in, and that you’re ready (dressed for whatever activity you want to sign up for). In our case, the farm visit required closed toe shoes – easy!
What was the farm visit like? First of all, the farm was located outside the resort, probably an easy 5-minute drive from the resort. We were asked to board a shuttle with no more than 10 guests. Some were just there for a day pass (enjoying the amenities at the resort for the day), while others were like us, we were there for a few nights.
During the visit, we visited the area where the horses were located, and we got to meet Pepper. She was standing from a far distance, but when she noticed our group, Pepper began making her way towards us. Wellness heightened when Pepper allowed us to pet her and talk to her.
Next, the chickens at the farm. Boy, we’re talking nearly a hundred chickens, or perhaps more than a hundred. We were allowed to go inside their cage (more like a barrier) as some of the chickens were able to fly up to the barrier. It was one of the highlights for me since it reminded me when I was growing up when my mom and dad raised chickens in our backyard.
We walked around some more through the farm, walked through vines of gourds, we got to see where the bees were kept for the Hive Mind class, a class that was also full and did not work with our schedule. The farm visit lasted for 45 minutes, and we didn’t feel rushed one bit. It was a great way to start our Miraval experience.
4. Quick Sip (included activity – no charge)
We signed up for Quick Sip as our first activity that was closest to our 11am arrival. We thought it was going to be a social hour, a mixer of some sort. We had a sommelier share with us a couple of samples of wine. We’re not wine experts but it was good to have had an expert describe the flavors that were part of the wine. The class was not huge at all. There were only 4 of us altogether, so it felt like a personal session.
5. Lunch (included – no charge)
Our quick sip session was located next to Hilltop Crossings Kitchen which is where the dining takes place. Anuk scheduled our lunchtime reservation, so we were perfectly on time when we got there at 12:30pm. We wanted to sit outside, but it was a first-come, first served basis, and no open table was available. We gladly stayed inside and sat by the window.
6. Our Dreamcatcher King Room
We finished our lunch, and headed to our room for the very first time. We were given a corner room on the bottom floor. Once we entered, the room was clean, smelled so good, our luggage and backpacks were already inside our room. Thanks to Anuk.
I have a video that I posted on YouTube and will share that link below.
It was spacious enough for us. We had access to a small patio outside, a fridge, a corner sofa and table, and finally, a comfortable king-sized bed.
7. Yoga Nidra (included activity – no charge)
Okay, first of all, we didn’t think it was a good idea to go to a yoga class directly after lunch. We’ve done yoga before, but we are not experts by any means. Yoga Nidra session was held in Solidago, a building that was just a minute walk away from our room. Right as we were about to walk in, I noticed a small little critter about 8-10 inches long that was slithering its way into the yoga studio. Hmmm…..I knew it was a snake, but I have the biggest phobia, and would not even dare touch it. The yoga instructor didn’t want anything to do with either. She called Engineering, and someone came within 2-3 minutes, grabbed the snake, and set the snake free away from the studio. Now that was exciting!
So what is Yoga Nidra? Looks like we picked the perfect class directly after a big lunch. Yoga Nidra had nothing to do with lots of stretching and movement. For the entire 40 or 45 minutes, the instructor had us lay down comfortably on these pillow mats, with our legs elevated. BTW, it was just me and Nancy in this class, so it was everything private. We had our eyes closed the entire time, she had us relaxed, guided us with her soothing words that helped remove all our cares away. It was so soothing that one could fall asleep and snore —> ME! That was our Yoga Nidra experience.
6. Indoor Slackline (included activity – no charge)
Directly after yoga, we walked towards Live Oak Center for our Indoor Slackline class. What is slackline? Slacklining refers to the act of walking, running or balancing along a suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors. So in my mind, I thought we’d be walking on those high wires just like the once you see in circus. Well, thankfully it was nothing like that. Instead, we walked in to a big room and saw two anchors on the floor with this yellow slackline that was tied tightly.
Over the next hour, we walked on the slackline that was just no more than 12 inches off the floor. From where I sat, it looked “easy”!!! I mean, I thought, it’s just walking on straight belt, one foot at a time, right? NOT! I fell every single attempt. I tried, I had one foot on the line, put my other foot in front of it, and fell. But as with anything, it got better.
We got up, fell. Tried again, succeeded a bit, and fell. We were given a stick or pole to use on one hand to help us with the balance, that helped, and got us across the slackline without falling. But honestly, most of us in our class of 5 students, got up again and and without the use of the pole. Every bit of a success received cheers and claps.
7. To infinity (pool) and beyond
If there was one thing I looked forward to was to visit the Serenity Pool as I’ve seen many images of that pool looking out to the mountains and Lake Travis. Right as we walked off Live Oak, Sarah one of the managers at the front desk happened to pass by with a golf cart, and offered to drive us where we needed to go. We said that we wanted to go the Serenity Pool, however, she said that we might want to consider the Discovery Pool. Why? In the afternoon, they offer free drinks and chips and guacamole. That was all she needed to say. We asked Sarah to drive us to Discovery Pool.
What a great use of space? Perhaps it was because we visited during a pandemic, on this Saturday afternoon, there were no more 6-10 people in this great big space. The Discovery Pool overlooked many trees, and on a clear day like that afternoon, we saw planes fly from a far that did not cause any disturbance at all.
How was the Discovery Pool? Breaking news. It wasn’t heated, So it was a bit on the cold side on this 87 degree weather. I did jump in and swam a few laps, but spent more time just going towards the edge of the infinity pool. I also spent some time in the hot tub that was just off to the left of the pool. The rest of the time was spent just relaxing on the lounge chairs with a drink on one hand, and chips and guacamole on the other. That was wellness.
8. Release and Recover (included activity – no charge)
Shortly after leaving the pool, we went to the BMC (Body Mindfulness Center) Fitness Studio to set our shoulders free. We met the most cheerful and engaging instructor, Caitlin. We remember her well because her name was spelled the same way as our daughter. There were only 3 of us in this class. Caitlin asked us what areas of our bodies did we want to focus besides the shoulders. We all agreed to focus on setting our lower backs free. Lots of stretching, some were difficult but felt good in the long run.
9. Time for dinner (included – no charge)
By this time, we had been on site for under 7 hours and had engaged in so many activities. We went straight to Hilltop Crossings Kitchen just before 6:30. I believe we had a reservation at 7pm, but we decided to have an early dinner because we had one more activity to go to at 8:30pm. Since we arrived a little early, when we checked in at Hilltop, they were able to find a table for two outdoors.
It was a perfect way to somewhat end our day that wasn’t even over yet by this point. We had grown an appetite. And because it was all-inclusive, we were able to order whatever we want on the menu. So we had a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, literally, just about everything under the sun.
10. Mindfulness in the Moonlight (included activity – no charge)
Honestly, after dinner finished, I wasn’t particularly thrilled to go to one more activity. I just wanted to go to our room. But, as with anything, we went to this last activity for the day. What was this class about? First of all, we met a couple from Brea, California who joined us in this class. We took a shuttle ride back to the farm. This time in sheer darkness.
Our guide us took us past the chicken farm and the vines, and found an empty spot for us. We each grabbed these warm comfortable blankets. It was just the 5 of us, the sounds of nature, the fireflies, and beautiful night sky with the moon and stars. There was no stretching, just a way to finish our day, with a way to appreciate the darkness, away from all the cares of the world.
11. Finally, time to enjoy Dreamcatcher King
Yes, it was finally time to rest. I couldn’t wait to go to bed. That Serta king-sized bed was so comfortable when we first tried it earlier in the afternoon, and the bedding added to all the needed comfort from activities we took part in today. It was a good day. It was a great wellness day.
Before going to bed, we knew that we had an early morning activity at 7am. We decided to schedule room service breakfast after our activity in the morning.
12. Nature Walk (included activity – no charge)
Ok, honestly, our bodies were still stuck in California time. The Nature Walk was set at 7am (our bodies were on 5am California time). So I wasn’t that thrilled when I got up. I wanted to sleep in. Not gonna lie. But, again…we were troopers. We got up, walked over to Live Oak Center, met with our guide and one other couple. It wasn’t pitch black. It was just very early, grey clouds kind of morning. Nature Walk took us through a trail with blue and orange markers. Our guide was in front of us leading the way, and we just followed right behind her. We did just fine the first 35 minutes. Then on the final stretch, we had begin ascending back to the area where we started. We made it, but one thing I realized, I am not in shape.
13. Breakfast via room service (included – no charge)
Best. Decision. Ever. That morning walk was good enough to wake me up, and by the time we got back to our room, right before 8am, just like clockwork, our breakfast order was delivered to us in a big white paper bag.
14. Cardio Drumming (included – no charge)
Exercise balls. Drumsticks. Upbeat music. Bonus? Fearless instructor, Caitlin. Yes, the same instructor from Set your shoulders free was in charge of Cardio Drumming. It’s exactly how it looked. It was us drumming to beat of the music. We got a lot of cardio and dancing, and sweat. It was a bit windy that late morning, and we opted not to include the pool as part of the activity. That was a lot of fun.
15. The Perfect Steak ($75 per person via resort credit)
This was a class, a culinary class. It was worth $75 to join this class, and nothing came out of our pocket. Why? Part of our package include $175 of resort credit for me and Nancy ($350 total). So we applied part of our resort credit for this class. There were 5 students in class led by Chef Michael Sabrin. All these years that I’ve been cooking, I’ve never taken a cooking class. But that all changed. He showed us how to cook 3 strip steaks in 3 different ways (grilled, cast iron, and pan). Perfect medium rare steaks. We were in Steak Heaven. All of us were able to get our share of the steak cooked in 3 different ways. We loved this class!
16. Lunch again (included – no charge)
How in the world did we schedule a lunch after The Perfect Steak class? I could’ve just stayed there and had more steak, but hey, we have another lunch to go to, so we did 🙂
SHOCKER! I can’t believe we didn’t take any pictures of our lunch. I’m still searching!!!!
17. Finding serenity
Directly after lunch, we headed to the spa where the Serenity Pool was located. Aaaaaahhh….I’m a sucker for infinity pools, and I was so glad we had a two-hour break before our next activity. The serenity pool was located where you would get your spa treatment.
The pool was also not heated, but it wasn’t freezing cold either. This pool looks out to Lake Travis and the surrounding mountains. What a great view on that sunny afternoon. What was the crowd like? Try 8-10 people. Yep, that was it on this Sunday afternoon.
18. Restorative Aerial Yoga ($75 per person using resort credit)
First of all, this session in the Yoga Barn. What a magnificent studio with high vault ceiling, lots of windows, and your view was looking out to this huge deck just right outside. This was another paid class, but again, we were able to use our resort credit – nothing out of pocket.
Ok, so I saw quite a few videos of this yoga, and it was one of those things that I figured we might as well try. What was it? It’s yoga with all the stretching, and you get to use the silk to help with further traction. What was more interesting was when we actually got on the silk, yes, the silk held us. It felt like I was in my own little cocoon when I was wrapped around this silk.
19. Release and Recover (included – no charge)
More stretching, more soothing sounds, we were given little props to help with our stretching. This was held at BMC building, and if I am not mistaken, this was the last “physical” activity we had planned for the days.
20. Another epic dinner
Directly after release and recover, we headed back to our room to shower and freshen up a bit. We didn’t want to rush, so we took our time before heading out to dinner. If ever you get the chance to eat outdoors at Hilltop Kitchen, I highly encourage it. Maybe it was the fact that it was at the tail end of the summer or early fall when we went. So it was still warm, but not scorching. We had the chance to see the sunset during dinner, just beautiful.
21. Astro Forecast (included – no charge)
This was actually a pleasantly, relaxing activity. I had this vision that we’d be stuck inside, but the night was so beautiful, perhaps in the high 70s, and the skies were so clear. I’m not going to pretend that I know everything about Astrology because i don’t. But the guide talked about Venus, Pluto, the moon, stars, and how to gain perspective from them. We sat outside Yoga Barn, right on the deck. I will never forget that evening.
22. Monday back to breakfast (included – no charge)
Breakfast was around 7:30am. It was our last few hours at the resort. We had a scheduled limo ride pick up 12 noon. Honestly, It was a great, tiring two days, and I just wanted to relax on our last few hours. Breakfast, a hearty breakfast was in order.
23. More infinity pool
I did go back to Serenity Pool for one last swim, and it was just me, no one else. I had the entire Serenity Pool and hot tub all to myself. The spa wasn’t scheduled to open until 10:30am. So it was a perfect me-time. Nancy, on the other hand, went back to our room to begin packing.
23. Ask and you shall receive – early lunch (included – no charge)
So, we were scheduled to leave at 12 noon. This means that there was no time to grab lunch. The lunch service starts at 11:30. So I kindly asked Susan at the restaurant’s reception desk if it would be possible to get an early lunch via room service. She called me back and offered burgers and fries and drinks for us….perfect. This was indeed a bit out of their way since they were just coming off of breakfast service and now they had to make this early delivery….so thank you, Susan, and Hilltop Crossings Kitchen. The burger was just perfect for a quick lunch right before we left our room.
24. Time to check out & Limo ride back to the airport (included – no charge)
The front desk suggested to have our luggage ready by 11:45am. We were also ready by then, and rode on the golf cart. By then, our limo ride, another Black SUV was already waiting for us. No issues at checkout. There were no extra charges. We used up the $350 resort credit that was part of our package.
Our driver this time was Martin, and he took us on a different route. It wasn’t the freeway, but I’d call it the more scenic route. It took us just under an hour to get to Austin Airport.
Miraval tips, lessons-learned, and takeaways
That’s right…there is NO tipping required here at the Miraval, and we were given the red carpet treatment the entire time. The staff was extremely accommodating and were personable.
THE RESORT CREDIT
As a review, for each night that we booked, we got the 2nd night free. This entitled us to $175 of resort credit per person. Our two activities (The Perfect Steak and Aerial Yoga – the total for both was $150 per per person. We had $25 remaining per person. It’s a good thing we didn’t use them all up. We didn’t realize that there were taxes or fees on top of those classes, so we had used the remaining credit and applied them to the taxes and fees. Nothing wasted.
Seriously, book early. I booked our Miraval trip in the beginning of September (and we visited at the end of September. I had 3 weeks to plan and book our activities. But I procrastinated. It wasn’t until a week and a half before our visit when we began finalizing our booking.
SHOW UP FOR THE NO-SHOWS
My travel buddy, Derrick, also visited Miraval Austin just a week after we visited. He and his wife also did many of the similar activities and signed up for Quantum Leap and Hill Country Challenge Course. There were courses where only 1 slot was available. Derrick booked the course, and on the actual scheduled time of the session, his wife, Chandra, showed up as well, and luckily earned a spot since there was a no-show. His tip: keep checking with the resort for any openings, and press your luck before the session, and see if someone backs out at the very last minute.
CHECK OUT OTHER BUDGET-FRIENDLY PAID CLASSES
About the paid classes, I suggest really taking a good look at the schedule and work with your Miraval Experience planner. There were paid courses that were under $50, so if there’s an opening, book it!
BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR SCHEDULE
Depending on your goals for the visit, make sure to book activities and pace yourself. We booked some activities that were quite physical, and we ended up getting tired. Make sure to find some time to break away from the activities and have your own me-time, your alone time. A simple break by going to the pool is perfect.
Masks were required, and even our instructors wore them during our activities. We practiced social-distancing. And if ever you needed a mask, you could count on getting a mask from of the main buildings.
FRE BACKPACK/TOTE BAG/WATER BOTTLE
Upon check in, we were given a free backpack, tote bag with water bottles. So no need for you bring your own water bottle or Hydroflask. This was convenient.
ARRIVE AS EARLY AS 11 AM
As I mentioned earlier, we arrived around 10:30am, and checked in. Since we were early, we were able to join our very first activity right at 11am. So I suggest, plan on signing up for that first activity of your choice.
THE NEST (for smoothies/to go food items)
Once you’re inside Hilltop Crossings Kitchen, off to your left side is The Nest, a bar where you can order drinks, smoothie, cookie, healthy snack, and to-go items.
FINAL TAKEAWAY and VIDEO
For my overall takeaway, know your reason for being there. You don’t have to do every single activity. You don’t even have to do any activity. But it was hard to just sit around. There was a feeling of the need to stay healthy and active while onsite. I was so glad we were able to experience Miraval Austin, and the wellness treatment they provided us. Would I do this again? You bet! And if you find yourself still having the time to book and get the Buy One Night Get One Night Free, and take advantage of Hyatt’s promo – I say go for it!! How to stay here for FREE – more below after the video!!!
What credit cards could you use to book a stay at Miraval?
So the question, how does one earn 65,000 Hyatt points to get two nights here for free? You don’t have to be a frequent traveler to earn these points. In my case, it’s all about having the right set of credit cards. The following credit cards could make this easily possible:
World of Hyatt Credit Card
For the ones who are not that familiar with how to earn these points, one quick easy way of earning Hyatt points is by applying for a World of Hyatt credit card – this gets you 50,000 bonus points, you do have an annual fee of $95…..but look, if and when used wisely, the card bonus points could get you one night at this property valued up to $2500, or if you keep earning points up to 60,000, you just turned your $95 annual fee and get yourself a stay at an all-inclusive luxurious property for up to $5,000 value. This is the card that could make this $5000 value stay so easily attainable by simply using bonus points that you’ve earned.
What’s the catch:
- Earn 25,000 Bonus Points – after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.same page link to offer details reference*
- Earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening
- Annual Fee – $95
What else do you get once you meet the requirements
1 free night every year
- Receive one free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary.
Plus, 1 additional free night
- Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
What’s the catch
- Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Annual fee is $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve
What’s the catch
- Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Annual fee is $550
Chase Freedom Unlimited
How to earn $200 cash back with Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Spend $500 in the first three months the account is open.
- Annual fee = $0
- In addition, there is a current offer where you will earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. (offer is subject to change without notice)
The catch with this card? The points you earn are Ultimate Reward points. With these point, you can use the Chase Travel Portal and book. HOWEVER, you CANNOT transfer your points to a travel partner such as Hyatt. So, is there a workaround? Yes. If you carry a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer your points from your Chase Freedom Unlimited to your Sapphire and then be able to transfer to a travel partner.
Other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards are Chase Ink Business Preferred, the Chase Ink Unlimited, the Chase Ink Cash. Those are all excellent cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards.
I hope this helps you if you were planning on doing the same. Any questions, join me and my Facebook travel page, and feel free to ask there.