The renovated Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa is spectacular and although it’s too new to have gotten any awards or accolades, I don’t think it will be long before the Resort appears on Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, TripAdvisor, Reader’s Choice, and other lists of the best of the best. Golf Digest and Golf Magazine and others, including Texas Outside consistently list the golf courses as some of the best in Texas!
After being closed for the renovations and expansion, the 4,000 acre Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, which is considered “the ultimate retreat in Texas” opened in May 2019. Here are just some of the results from spending the $150 million:
If you’ve never been to the Barton Creek area, the drive into the Omni Barton Creek Resort is beautiful with rolling hills, well-maintained landscaping, towering trees, large stunning homes, and a view of a couple of the golf course holes. And equally as stunning is the new entryway to the Omni Resort and when you walk into the lobby you feel like you are in the living room of a Hill Country mansion with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Hill Country and a couple golf holes. We immediately sensed that you’re in for a special treat and we weren’t disappointed!
The Resort is now home to 493 guest rooms including 50 spacious suites with floor-to-ceiling windows in two towers. We stayed in the new tower on the 7th floor with an unbelievable panoramic view of a portion of the Resort grounds, two holes on the Fazio Foothills golf course, and the rolling heavily treed hills around Barton Creek. The use of mixed wood tones, warm metals, and a sophisticated palette provide an “eclectic, yet refined guest room experience.” Our room had two very soft plush high thread count king beds (I slept like a log!), a large multi-drawer dresser, a round table and chair, a comfy lounge chair, Wi-Fi, 49” flat screen with cable, a large bathroom complete with very soft robes that I wanted to take home! There is also a safe and a mini refrigerator, coffee maker, and safe.
Shortly after checking in we were sitting at the bar at Crenshaw’s Bar & Eatery. Crenshaw’s Bar & Eatery was named after Ben Crenshaw, an Austin native who is a golf legend and one of the founding members of Barton Creek Country Club which is next to the resort. Crenshaw was also the architect of the fantastic Coore Crenshaw Golf Course at the Resort. Just outside the entrance to Crenshaw’s is a room with some fantastic pictures, artifacts, and equipment relating to Crenshaw and golf – I loved Willie Nelson’s picture with Ben and his quote – “all I do is play music and golf.” Crenshaw’s has appetizers, entrees (mostly burgers and sandwiches), flatbreads, desserts, wine, and craft beer in a sports bar type of setting.
Nopales is an indoor and outdoor restaurant next to the pool and they serve small bites inspired by Latin-American flavors. They offer a variety of appetizers, salads, ceviches, and some interesting plates like a Cuban sandwich, Hanger steak, crab cake sandwich, cheese enchiladas, and street tacos.
We had breakfast each morning at Texas Spice. They offer a huge delicious breakfast buffet loaded with cereals, oven-baked fresh breads and bakery selections, farm-fresh eggs and omelets cooked to order, applewood smoked bacon and natural breakfast sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee or tea and a choice of juice We also loved the Eggs Benedict and the fruit smoothie.
One evening we enjoyed a good dinner at Blind Salamander which is the Omni’s second signature restaurant serving everything from a shrimp cocktail to oysters on the half shell for starters, appetizers like a delicious shrimp bisque or steak capriccio, salads, and dinners including: salmon, tuna, pasta, beef tenderloin, quail, and short ribs.
For our last night, we saved the best for last – Bob’s Steak & Chop House which is an “award-winning steakhouse that combines simple elegance and a lively atmosphere with fine wines and large cuts of the finest prime steaks, chops, and seafood.” We had a hard time choosing between the rack of lamb and prime rib with a lobster tail. We ended up enjoying a great Caesar salad and a prime rib eye with Bernaise sauce, the signature carrot, and potatoes with delicious sauce - the picture is my half of the steak!. An excellent choice – cooked to perfection and tender enough to almost cut with a fork. Instead of eating the entire delicious chocolate cake by myself, I should have shared it with all of the patrons in the bar area! I waddled up to the elevator worried that it wouldn’t be able to lift my extra weight but it did and shortly thereafter I was dreaming of sugar plums!
Before heading out to golf one morning, the rich smell of coffee stopped us in our tracks. So we dropped in at Velvet Joe’s Coffee House for a cup of espresso and we couldn’t resist the Danish! Velvet Joe's is a boutique coffee shop serving specialty coffee blends, espresso, cappuccino and latte beverages as well as freshly baked pastries, muffins, and cereals.
Our main goal in coming to Omni Barton Creek Resort was to enjoy the spa and play 36 holes of golf. The Omni is home to 4 outstanding courses that are consistently ranked as some of the best courses in Texas. Fazio Foothills, the signature course at Omni Barton Creek Resort, was described by the Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella as “a roller-coaster ride through the Texas Hill Country (without the screaming).” During your round you’ll encounter tight to forgiving tree-lined fairways, dramatic elevation changes, waterfalls, over 60 bunkers, cliffs, creeks, natural hazards, and challenging green complexes. Don’t let that scare you, the course is challenging, particularly from the back tees, but it’s fair to golfers of all levels of play. Here is a link to our review of Fazio Foothills which made Texas Outside’s list of the Best of the Best Courses in Texas.
Fazio Canyons is also an award-winning course with numerous scenic holes, spectacular Hill Country views, and a beautiful limestone bed creek that meanders throughout the course waiting for my golf balls. Fazio Canyons also made our list of the Best of the Best Courses in Texas - read our review of Fazio Canyons to learn why we rated this course so high.
Coore Crenshaw is a Ben Crenshaw design with a Bill Coore redesign. Crenshaw adhered to his design philosophy that “the best architect is nature.” As such, the Coore Crenshaw Cliffside Course is a typical Texas Hill Country course with scenic vistas, rolling treed terrain, elevation changes, and carries over ravines. Here is a link to our review of the Coore Crenshaw Golf Course.
Palmer Lakeside is about 25 minutes from the resort and this Arnold Palmer design has elevation changes, some excellent holes, great conditions, and views of Lake Travis. The front nine is characterized by deep, brushy, and intimidating ravines that will come into play on holes 5 through 8. The back nine is even better with lots of variety, fabulous scenery, excellent conditions, plenty of challenges, and it’s a blast to play with a lot of “wow, that was another great hole!” Check our Texas Outside’s review of Palmer Lakeside.
After 18 holes of golf in 96-degree weather, we were ready to relax by the pool and have some frozen drinks. The poolscape at Omni Barton Springs Resort & Spa contains 3 pools, a hot tub, an outside bar, and outside seating at Napoles if you’re hungry. We really enjoyed the adult infinity pool overlooking the hill country and two of the golf holes on the Fazio Foothills course. The majority of the people in the infinity pool were on the edge of pool watching and heckling golfers as they tried to nail the approach shot to the green (90% missed the green and 30% landed in a deep gully in front of the green) and then try to sink their putt. If they hit the green on the approach shot or made a long putt, to loud cheers and clapping from the pool encouraged them to take a bow!
Our second goal was to enjoy a relaxing massage and a facial at the new Mokara Spa. Wow, what a special treat in a luxury upscale spa complete with a number of treatments, a whirlpool, sauna, dry sauna, lounge area, healthy food restaurant, and a pool with a beautiful view. Read why we consider Mokara Spa to be one of the best spas in Texas.
After the spa and two rounds of golf, that didn’t leave us a lot of extra time to enjoy some of other Omni Barton Creek Resort amenities that included:
All too soon it was time to leave, but before we did we scheduled another visit, a tee time at Fazio Canyons, and more time at the spa.