I’ve done everything from primitive camping to glamping before, but this experience definitely took the cake! Upon arrival, I drove through a private gate onto a narrow rocky road with trees on either side. Shortly ahead was a parking lot, where I was met by John, one of the groundskeepers. He gathered my things from my car, placed them in a Jeep, and drove me to my tent.
Inside the air-conditioned dwelling were a king-sized bed, a stunning chandelier, and all the furnishings you’d expect in a hotel room, from a sitting area to a coffee station.
At the back was a fully functioning en-suite bathroom with a shower, sink, and toilet. It was stocked with toiletries and two French terry robes hung above two sets of towels.
After unpacking and freshening up, my travel mates and I met at the Three Peaks Lodge, the common area that serves as a dining area and bar. We were greeted by Heather, the grounds manager, and were treated to local wines and beers. We sat at the outdoor tables to take in the beautiful view of a valley where a longhorn ranch is located.
After our welcoming beverages, we had some downtime until dinner. There were other guests at the Collective, but they all chose to dine elsewhere. So we had the entire place to ourselves.
Since it was still a bit hot outside, we chose to eat dinner indoors. So, we were led to the private, air-conditioned dining room. Our meal was served buffet style, and it was a spread none of us expected.
The on-site chef had prepared the retreat’s barbecue box for us. It consisted of smoked sausage, grilled shrimp kebabs, roasted potato wedges, Mexican corn, and much more. So, be sure to bring your appetite and stretchy pants to dinner!
After rolling away from the table, we were invited to sunset s’mores around the fire pit. We had the same view of the longhorn ranch, but the pinks and purples of the night sky made it look completely different.
Once those festivities were done, we turned in for the night. I did my nighttime routine then crawled into one of the softest, most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in, and I’m very picky about my beds!
The next morning, I opened my tent to the surprise of a wooden box. Inside was an assortment of pastries, some preserves, and a cube of butter wrapped like candy. It was adorable. I tasted everything, ate a full croissant, and headed down for our morning yoga class.
Jennifer, of Open Space Yoga, was our instructor, and she gave us a full-body workout. She taught us proper breathing and how to do each move at different intensity levels. She also incorporated sound bath meditation into the experience. So we left feeling more whole physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Our stay was, unfortunately, coming to an end, but first, we were served breakfast. I chose a fruit bowl with cantaloupe and figs drizzled in local honey. I also had candy bacon, a green juice shot, and a piping hot mug of locally sourced coffee.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Collective Hill Country. So, I went back to my tent, packed up, and John drove me back to my car. I slowly steered back up the narrow, rocky road that had led me to this oasis and sadly exited the gate, officially making my departure.
I’ll never forget this stay and plan to visit again in the future. My recommendation, however, is to go in the cooler months because, though the tents and dining room are air-conditioned, this is Texas, and as soon as you leave those cool zones, you’re reminded of what season it actually is.
I want to thank Collective Retreats and the Collective Hill Country for an unforgettable experience. Their hospitality and attention to detail are second to none.
Rates start at $199 per night. More information and reservations are available on their website.