AUSTIN’S OMNI BARTON CREEK RESORT & SPA may have changed owners last July, but the golf is still outstanding and the Hill Country views still enchant. In fact, very little changed under the new management by Omni Hotels & Resorts, according to Jeremy Lander, director of group sales.
"Omni has come in and tightened up the service," Lander says, "but the custom touches that make Barton Creek so unique are all the same, including the staff and all the amenities."
Golf + Team-building
Of these amenities, golf is the star attraction with four distinct 18-hole golf courses, one designed by Austin native Ben Crenshaw (Crenshaw Cliffside), another by Arnold Palmer (Palmer Lakeside) and two others the product of famed golf course architect Tom Fazio (Fazio Foothills and Fazio Canyons). Each course has notable features, including natural limestone caves and waterfalls at Fazio Foothills and secluded hills at Palmer Lakeside. The Fazio Canyons course combines natural beauty with experienced design and was designated an Audubon Certified Signature Sanctuary.
In addition to the premier courses, the meetings team at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa offers a variety of team-building
opportunities and unique challenges that incorporate golf, says Chase Kelly, director of golf sales for the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, which also offers private golf club memberships.
"For team-building golf events, we can put together anything a corporate client would want, from match play events with two teams to nine-hole shootouts culminating in a group happy hour, which are very popular," Kelly says. He adds that the Barton Creek Golf Academy also offers golf clinics to groups.
"The professionals at the academy utilize the latest technology to analyze and evaluate, and then our expertly trained instructors
introduce specific golf techniques to help you elevate your game," Kelly says.
In addition to in-house team-building activities, the resort partners with outside vendors Red Velvet Events and Groove Labs to create one-of-a-kind meetings and postmeeting events. "Some examples of teambuilding exercises we have worked on with Red Velvet Events include a relay race with cowboy hats where team members engage in a potato-sack race, the twist being that they must wear cowboy hats that can’t fall off during the race," Lander explains. He adds that Red Velvet Events has helped facilitate other types of team-building, such as putting green challenges, a concept car team challenge and a brain challenge that involves solving Wordles.
Evy Peters, global event organizer for international group Philips Lighting, partnered with Red Velvet Events at Barton Creek on a musical-themed team-building event designed to bring two geographically distant employee groups together.
"At first, they didn’t like the idea of making music with colleagues they didn’t know," Peters says. "Only a couple of them had experience playing an instrument and the majority thought they wouldn’t like it. In the end, it made the team-building event special and fun."
Another unique feature of the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa is the Rock House, a small ranch house located off the 18th hole of the Fazio Canyons course. With a large fire pit, pool table lounge, and corporate dining and reception space (2,000 square feet inside with a large lawn), it’s the perfect endpoint after a day of golf-or a long day of meetings.
Location, Logistics + Leisure
With 4,000 acres of rolling hills and sweeping views, Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa is less than a 15-minute drive from downtown Austin. The resort is a destination for day meetings, board meetings or award ceremonies with meals or receptions.
For meeting attendees who do stay over, the 309 luxurious guest rooms, suites and villas boast decadent linens and robes, all set in a laid-back Texan décor.
The 43,000 square feet of meeting space, including an outside, all-window circular pavilion is flexible to meet the needs for meetings of every size. The full-service spa, fitness facility and outdoor and indoor pools offer myriad recreation and relaxation options for meeting-goers and their families.
For a truly relaxing experience, the resort’s Tranquility Lounge is worth a visit. The comfy lounge chairs are strategically placed to view a natural limestone wall bathed in soothing
According to Lander, the wall was discovered by hotel workers looking for a place for storage. When they saw the unique composition of the limestone, they smartly decided to
make it an aesthetic focal point.
Finally, there’s the food. For fine dining, the Hill Country Dining Room, a AAA Four Diamond-rated formal dining experience, overlooks the Fazio Foothills golf course. The 8212 Wine Bar & Grill overlooks the outdoor pavilion and offers more casual fare.