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Jeff Gremillion | Photo: Shannon O’Hara | April 30, 2013
At brightly rustic new Deer Lake Lodge near The Woodlands, high-end pampering and dutiful detoxing are part of the package.
The term “rustic chic” is thrown around a lot, often by writers who can’t figure out how to reconcile the fact that something is kind of dumpy and at the same time kind of cool. This is not one of those times. The phrase might well have been invented to describe 6-month-old Deer Lake Lodge resort and spa in Montgomery (10500 Deer Lake Lodge Rd., 800.961.4210), which you access at the end of a drive through just enough rolling pine forests and verdant cow pastures flanked with weathered ranch fences to know you’re definitely not in the city anymore.
It’s not only an exceptionally well-executed combination of high-end rustic-style design and uniquely Texas-bred luxury, with colorful bursts of contemporary color and whimsy interspersed with unapologetically unpolished accents and materials such as reclaimed wood and corrugated metal. It’s also one of the most devout and thoroughly holistic, sustainable spas in the region—maybe the country—and it is such without a spec of the pretense or preachiness one might anticipate from such an establishment.
The hallmark of Deer Lake Lodge’s unique approach is its juice-fasting program. Guests, who are prepped well in advance of their visit on the basics of this style of cleansing, are invited to spend up to five days on what the spa calls a “journey” of carefully supervised fasting, consuming only fresh organic juices and supplements. (Presumably, they don’t hold it against you if you sneak out to a steakhouse in The Woodlands, which is only 15 minutes away.)
The closest thing to “food” at Deer Lake is the warm “raw soup” served in the afternoons in the bright and cozy community lounge that looks like something between your favorite aunt’s den and a mod-minded sunroom; think plaid curtains, sunflower throw pillows and a designer overhead lamp that favors a white-glowing sea urchin. That yoga classes and colonics are easily available enhances the new-agey, detoxifying aura.
For its part, somewhat conversely, the spa itself is almost unexpectedly straightforward and traditionally posh—at least in effect—despite that various treatment packages are called “rituals.” The rightly touted 100-minute Lomi-Juma Massage Ritual begins with a body scrub with crystalized honey, followed by a feather-light mud wrap. The memorable process ends with a deep-tissue rubdown; one available therapist, a handsome guy of 6-foot-4, recalls a recently graduated college football player, both in stature and arm strength.
Guest cabins, replete with large whirlpool tubs and Wi-Fi, are true retreats. The unpolished wood floors, mish-mosh of country-style printed draperies and flea-market-find vibe of the furnishings and accents suggest a considered down-home style, but no more so than the large, private screen porches off the back, surrounded by endless wilderness.
By contrast, the pool area just outside the front door is sharply contemporary, with a unique water feature that has a dramatically oversized faucet pouring into the hot tub. It’s a reminder that Deer Lake Lodge is not just another spa, but rather a unique hybrid of high luxury and, yes, rustic chic, off a little old country road, deep in the heart of Texas.