You only have to whisper the words “Spa Vacation”, and you’ll hear a collective sigh run through the room. There’s nothing quite like it. If you’ve never been to a destination spa retreat, you’ve missed out on one of life’s most delightful experiences. Think of it. An entire week of planning your own schedule that can include pampering, healthy eating, relaxing, exercising or taking classes all in beautiful surroundings with a staff that can’t do enough for you. If that doesn’t sound like a slice of heaven, consider the rest of this article research for someone you love. Regardless of who you’re researching for (and hopefully it’s for yourself), here’s a list of my favorite destination spas in the United States.
Spa at Bernardus Lodge (Carmel Valley, California) If you like relaxing in wine country (and who doesn’t?), this is the spa for you. Situated near Monterey, California, the spa is surrounded by 28 acres of stunning vineyards, orchards and oak forests. Spend your days around the enormous pool, breath in the fresh air on a hike around the grounds, relax in the eucalyptus steam room after a soothing massage or get a workout in at state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness center. Your schedule is your own. Bernardus Lodge has a strict “garden-to-treatment” philosophy — which sources ingredients from the lodge’s own organic garden – making the treatments truly fabulous. Everything from facials to pedicures are infused with homegrown lavender, mint, rosemary and Chardonnay grapes from the lodge’s own vineyards. You can even soak in a Chardonnay-infused bubble bath. Does it get any better than that?
The Spa at Canyon Ranch (Tucson, Arizona) If you’re after a vacation where you will come home looking and feeling better than you have in years, Canyon Ranch is the spot for you. Located on a 150-acre ranch in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Canyon Ranch brings state of the art health and fitness to a new level. In fact, when you first arrive you are encouraged to meet with a medical professional to develop a customized fitness and dietary program for your stay. Plus, they have a sleep lab where your sleep patterns can be tracked and analyzed to help pinpoint any sleep issues you may be experiencing. Don’t be alarmed though, there’s plenty of pampering going on in between all the health and fitness. 😊
Mohonk Mountain Spa (New Paltz, New York) Located about 90 miles north of New York City, Mohonk Mountain Spa is a historic resort and destination spa nestled in the beautiful Hudson Valley. The staff is phenomenal and the treatment rooms are first class. Outside, you can cross-country ski, horseback ride or hike on 85 miles of trails. Relax at the end of your day in the heated outdoor mineral pool. Consistently listed in Conde Nast Traveler as a top-rated spa destination, Mohonk Mountain Spa is not to be missed.
Miraval (Catalina, Arizona) Set on 135 acres at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Miraval has 106 adobe-style casitas, most with private patios and great views. You can feel yourself relaxing the second you enter the grounds where the fabulous staff treats you like visiting royalty. Wellness is a prime focus at Miraval, and the gourmet spa cuisine is second-to-none. The list of treatments is extensive with over 120 to choose from, but one of the most interesting programs is the “Equine Experience,” where working with a horse gives you insight into how you deal with people — and life. Suffice to say, Miraval is amazing.
Lake Austin Spa Resort (Austin, Texas) I saved my absolute favorite for last. Lake Austin Spa Resort is small compared with others on this list with only 40 rooms, but the spa and treatment rooms are big and lavish with outdoor treatment spaces in screened porches, garden tents, poolside cabanas and a private couple’s suite. It’s hard to describe the staff except to say that they make you feel like a long lost friend that’s finally come for a visit. They just can’t do enough for you. On top of that, the food is so good you’ll have a hard time believing the calorie counts on the menu. With more than 100 treatments available, multiple swimming pools and beautiful grounds right on Lake Austin, this spa is an oasis of wellness and relaxation.