Sunday, August 3, 2014

La Toretta Lake Resort & Spa

There’s a hidden jewel between Houston and College Station, Texas, nestled on Lake Conroe, which is the recently remodeled and renovated La Toretta Lake Resort & Spa. In early 2009, La Toretta (which means “the tower”) reopened its lakeside doors with an extreme makeover that would impress Ty Pennington. This upscale, yet down-to-earth resort is the ideal road trip destination for your next girls’ weekend (August 1st is National Girlfriends Day!).


“It was really a transformation (instead of a remodel or renovation) as the property is almost unrecognizable compared to what it was prior to the work. Every area of the existing property was entirely rebuilt, from the primary guest tower, to the conference center and even including a total rebuild of the golf course. On top of that, there have been major additions to the property-- all entirely new-- such as the ‘lobby’ which houses the front desk and our sushi bar Yoi, as well as our lounge Sonata, the addition of Chez Roux, the addition of our new Spa Terre, and of course the addition of our Aqua Park, mini golf etc.,” explains La Toretta general manager Rudy Sharp.

There are a total of 445 rooms on property which span the choices of: 307 Tower suites, 36 Lake Front Villas, and 102 Golf Cottages.

The crown jewels of this resort are SpaTerre and their fine dining restaurant, Chez Roux.
Other first-class amenities at La Toretta include: the golf course, Aqua Park, and a marina with watercraft for rent.

SpaTerre

Spa Terre is housed in a large 17,000 square foot facility with an eco-chic ambiance. Like some other day spas, they do not skimp on European luxury, personal space or relaxation. As they say, “All of our spa services are designed to replace the weight of the world with the feeling of utter relaxation.”

The ladies locker room is decorated with gorgeous coral slate tiles, ample space, and a substantial array of spa supplies. You’ll want to treat yourself to a deluxe shower, referred to as “Signature Experience Showers”, as each shower has multiple shower heads not only at the top, but three shower heads coming down each wall. As a regular spa reviewer, I’ve never seen one like this! The relaxation lounge is equipped with flat screen TVs (muted for guests’ peace), the most deliciously comfortable chaise lounges on the planet, and personal reading lamps. The staff makes it crystal clear that they are there to serve and make your day shine, from changing the room temperature to finding a channel you’d like on the TV; no request is too big or small.

SpaTerre is adequately set up to accommodate your ChickVacation.

“We can cater to larger groups of women and allow them to be together not only in the Relaxation Lounge, or Turkish Hammam, but also in the treatment rooms or manicure/pedicure areas. We are able to accommodate 2-3 ladies in the same room as well as in the manicure/pedicure area. Also, while they are in the relaxation area we offer complimentary wine, champagne, mimosas, fruit, organic teas and 3 shiatsu massage chairs to use before or after your treatment. If they are planning to spend the day with us at the Spa, we can order room service for them and have it delivered to the Spa and they are able to enjoy it together as a group,” explains Scott Vogel, SpaTerre director.

Most day spas make you choose between various types of massages (Swedish, deep tissue, aromatherapy). SpaTerre is the first spa I’ve seen offer a Massage Medley—combining all the above with reflexology, too. The skill of the massage therapists is top-notch and they also aim to give you value-add information to aid in your overall wellness, such as suggestions on stretching, keeping your lower back in balance, and other explanations.

Other amenities at SpaTerre include: steam room, Shiatsu massage chairs in the Relaxation Lounge, a Zen-Inspired garden with waterfall to look at while in the lounge, and a first-class fitness center.

Chez Roux

Named after Chef Albert Roux, Texas’ only Michelin-starred chef, Chez (which means country home or villa) Roux offers exquisite French dining, complete with a fabulous lakeside setting. Chef Roux, who visits from Europe three times a year, has cooked for many a celebrity, including: Madonna, Steve Martin, Princess Diana and even Charlie Chaplin. You’ll consider yourself a celebrity when visiting Chez Roux.
Executive Chef Matthew Gray and his team make sure that guests experience only the best at Chez Roux. Gray, who was an executive chef in Scotland for 10 years before being recruited to oversee Chez Roux, entertains at his “chef’s table” in the immaculate kitchen, where 10-12 people can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the kitchen’s organized chaos. There’s also a full window into the dining room so all guests can be privy to the goings-on behind the kitchen door.

Open Tuesday through Saturday evenings, Chez Roux can accommodate 80 guests at a time as they dine to the free entertainment of a classic sunset. The menu changes weekly but here are a few suggestions for must-try items:
  • Cheese Soufflé (one of Chef Roux’s personal hit recipes)
  • Roux Gulf Shrimp (a beautiful combination of couscous, chorizo, celery, tomatoes, shrimp and a divine sauce)
  • Chocolate Grenache (melt-in-your-mouth delicious) “We are very proud of Chez Roux, and in fact, last year Houston Chronicle voted Chez Roux the #1 new restaurant in Houston. Garrett Donovan, the General Manager of Chez Roux, is a certified sommelier and handles all wine pairings from our extensive wine selection,” touts Sharp.

Other La Toretta highlights and amenities:

  • Golf course—If you play golf (no longer “Guys Only Ladies Forbidden), you’ll love this manicured 18-hole course. With a lush landscape, its narrow fairways are bordered by tall pine trees. Hole 15 displays a unique waterfall that stands out as its signature hole.
  • Aqua park—Not just for kids, this park consists of six pools and a lakeside beach area, sure to be just what the doctor ordered on a hot Texas summer day. The upper deck infinity edge pool cascades down into a 6,400 square foot Mediterranean pool. You’ll also enjoy relaxing in the lazy river.
  • Tennis—A former professional coach and his assistant tennis pro offer Adult Cardio Drop-ins, private lessons and you can also enjoy the courts as singles or doubles.
  • Marina—If water sports are your thing, you’ll enjoy renting a watercraft from the marina and setting out on Lake Conroe. From boats (pontoon, ski or fishing), to jet skis, to kayaks, you can rent for either one or three hour blocks.
  • Adventure Pointe and The Edge—If you’re taking an intergenerational chick vacation and are looking for childcare, Adventure Pointe offers day camps or evening fun for kids ages 5-11 where they will enjoy dinner, play Wii, watch movies, play on the outdoor playscape or make crafts. The Edge is for ages 12-19 and is a lounge for teens to relax and be social with others from their age group.
  • Miniature golf—If the real thing is too intense for you, challenge a friend to a round on this landscaped course. The lighting allows you to play day or night.
  • Fitness center—There are always ladies in the group that want to get a workout in on your ChickVacation. A 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center awaits. Complete with racquet ball courts, this center is one that you really will want to stay and exercise in!
  • Restaurants and bars—With a total of nine dining options, there are plenty to choose from at La Toretta. Depending on time of day and what you’re interested in eating, you can choose from Coco Cove Grill next to the pool, Yoi Sushi Bar, Sonata Piano Bar, Mokka Café, Prime family dining, Essense Café and Energie bar.
Regardless of the ages of your chicks, you will all find a top-quality resort to enjoy at La Toretta. And, you don’t have to fight a big-city crowd due to its location on beautiful Lake Conroe. You’ll find the best of both worlds: upscale resort in a beautiful, slow paced setting.
Other local places to enjoy during your visit:
  • Eldorado Jack’s on the Lake—Be sure to visit this lakeside bar and grill. This is the ideal spot to grab a burger and fries or Mexican food. The patio oversees the lake and there’s a small marina below to dock your boat if you’re coming off the water. In the evening, the bar scene is fun and festive.
  • Ransom’s Steakhouse and Saloon—Exactly as it sounds!
  • Conroe’s Incredible Pizza Company—A great location to duck into on a rainy day, you can enjoy a delicious pizza buffet while watching a movie and there are games galore! You can drive go-karts, bumper cars, ice skate, bowl, or play laser tag, in addition to the arcade.
  • Vernon’s Kuntry BBQ—Grab some good ‘ole Texas bar-be-que at this down home restaurant.
  • 7 Acre Wood—A 7.5 acre old fashioned fun park, complete with petting zoo, zip line, sand volleyball, horseshoes and much more. Carrie’s Coffee Mill & Sandwich Café is onsite, too.
  • The Heritage Museum of Montgomery County—For the history buffs in your bunch.

Links

La Toretta Lake Resort & Spa 600 La Toretta Blvd, Montgomery, TX 77356 936-448-4400 www.latorettalakeresort.com
Eldorado Jack’s 15659 Marina Dr., Montgomery, TX 77356 936-588-3767 www.eldoradojacks.com
Ransom’s Steakhouse 300 CB Stewart Dr., Montgomery, TX 77356 936-597-7575 www.ransomsrestaurant.com
Conroe’s Incredible Pizza Company 230 S. Loop 336 W., Conroe, TX 77304 936-441-2222 www.ipcconroe.com
Vernon’s Kuntry BBQ 5000 W. Davis, Conroe, TX 77304 936-539-3000 7 Acre Wood 4401 N Frazier, Conroe, TX 77303 936-890-2326 www.7acrewood.org
Heritage Museum of Montgomery County 1506 I-45 N, Conroe, TX 77305 936-539-6873 www.heritagemuseum.us
Written by: Marika Flatt, Southern Chick