AUSTIN, Texas – Dan Surette can’t contain his enthusiasm for the re-imagined Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa. The senior vice president of sales and marketing for Omni Hotels & Resorts, Surette is seated comfortably inside Jim Bob’s Lobby Lounge – one of the centerpieces for what he calls “the next generation’’ of the 4,000-acre resort in the Texas Hill Country. The resort recently unveiled a $150 million renovation.
“This resort always has had great golf,’’ Surette said. “But it wasn’t an incredible resort. It was a good resort that had some good amenities. Now, it’s a brand-defining asset.
“This will be a flagship resort for us. When people stay here, they are going to feel differently about who we are.’’
The renovation of the resort, which had grown stale and tired the past several years, elevates Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa to a Texas-sized level of luxury, complete with 493 guest rooms and suites, four pools, new Mokara Spa, more than 76,000 square feet of meetings space, 33,000 square-foot fitness center, and seven restaurants and bars.
Call it “Omni 2.0,’’ Surette said, “because it really expresses our feelings about the re-investment in our brand.’’
Indeed, the Eyes of Texas are all over Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, whose floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the resort (and guest rooms) look out over the Texas Hill Country. The resort’s art work, which also pays homage to the Hill Country, includes a natural wood carving of Austin’s Barton Springs, hand-painted tree stump rounds and a firefly light installation.
A large mural-style painting of the Hill Country hangs behind the bar at Jim Bob’s. The Lounge is named for Jim Bob Moffett, who beginning in 1988, began developing much of what is now the Barton Creek community.
“Before (the renovation) there were some views, but it was never opened up like it is now,’’ Surette said.
The original Barton Creek country club, golf course and conference center, was co-founded in 1987 by co-founded by former Texas Gov. John Connally and melded into the community about 20 minutes west of downtown Austin.
Moffett’s isn’t the only famous Texas name around Omni Barton Creek. The resort’s ballroom is named after late University of Texas football Coach Darrel Royal, who was a founding member of Barton Creek Country Club.
Crenshaw’s Bar & Eatery – the resort’s sports bar – is named in honor of Texas golf legend Ben Crenshaw, who honed his game under the guidance of legendary teacher Harvey Penick at nearby Austin Country Club. Crenshaw and partner Bill Coore designed the Coore Crenshaw Cliffside Course – one of four courses at Omni Barton Creek.
Each of the courses – Fazio Foothills, Fazio Canyons and Palmer Lakeside – have their own personalities. The Foothills Course is considered the resort’s signature course (7,125 yards, par 72 from the tips) and plays through and around protected cliffs, waterfalls and creeks.
Crenshaw’s also honors Ben Crenshaw as a two-time Masters champion and master golf course architect with memorabilia from his legendary career throughout the eatery. Crenshaw’s, in fact, is reminiscent of an architect’s studio. Near the bar’s entrance are pictures and showcase that feature memorabilia from Crenshaw, Royal and country music icon, Willie Nelson, a frequent visitor to the resort.
No doubt the Red-headed Stranger will like what he sees now.
“This isn’t your mom and dad’s Barton Creek Resort,’’ Surette said. “This is a total game changer.’’