Wellness for the win
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s to never take our health and well-being for granted. That’s why so many of us are planning vacations right now, whether it’s a nearby weekend getaway or a longer, more far-flung trip, perhaps to an all-inclusive Hawaiian resort. After the last year and a half, we want to strengthen our personal connections with friends and family and recover our sanity. For that reason, it’s also prompted another big trend: wellness travel. These vacations help you relax and de-stress, recharge and renew, or just point you toward a healthier lifestyle. The Global Wellness Summit says that one of the top trends for 2021 will be for “all travel to become wellness travel as manic getaways are replaced by slower, closer, and more mindful experiences.” While you can add a dose of R&R to any vacation, wellness retreats are specifically designed to get the job done.
While there are plenty of wellness-oriented spots around the globe, we’ve rounded up the best of the best in North America to make things less stressful in terms of traveling and planning. These resorts offer complete programs so you can fully immerse yourself in what you need to feel better, not just carve out a few hours for a massage (although we’re fans of those, too). Most of these destinations can be reached in just a few hours from most of the country, so you’ll be on your way to a whole new you in no time. If you can’t take one of these mini-vacations right now, don’t worry—you can still make relaxing a priority at a gorgeous beach house rental or quiet cabin, but definitely bookmark this information for later!
The Lodge at Woodloch, Pennsylvania
The stunning setting for this award-winning destination spa? More than 500 pristine wooded acres, with a 15-acre private lake, in under-the-radar northwest Pennsylvania. This all-inclusive resort includes lavish accommodations, exceptional dining, outdoor adventures, fitness/wellness programs, and educational forums. The Lodge embraces a philosophy of personal awakening, and it offers more than 35 daily classes touching on everything from the expected (yoga and hiking) to the more meditative (watercolor painting and cooking) to the downright adrenaline-pumping (fire making and hatchet throwing). You’ll find unique classes and features each season, including summer lake activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing, as well as chef-led garden dinners (with an option for sommelier wine pairings for a slight extra charge).
Canyon Ranch Lenox, Massachusetts
This spectacular spa has all of the natural beauty of the Berkshires going for it, plus a reputation as one of the original brand names in destination spas. (There are also locations in Arizona, California, and Las Vegas.) This all-inclusive wellness retreat is as well-known for its full range of health and fitness activities and spa amenities as it is for its food (healthy chicken enchiladas and asparagus guacamole, anyone?). Its athletic instructors and speakers are top-notch, but what really sets Canyon Ranch apart from the rest is its teams of on-staff medical professionals who focus on preventive and integrative medicine and use advanced diagnostics and assessments to help you implement healthy lifestyle changes. Here are more East Coast vacations you need to take at least once.
Miraval Austin, Texas
The ideal location for adults seeking a revitalizing getaway to relax and pamper themselves, this luxury wellness resort overlooking beautiful Lake Travis offers its guests an all-inclusive experience rooted in balance and mindfulness. (Miraval also has two other locations in Arizona and Massachusetts). A stay at Miraval Austin includes access to Miraval’s acclaimed Life in Balance Spa and its signature spa treatments, the property’s 10-acre farm and ranch (including Miraval’s Equine Experience), conscious cooking classes in the Life in Balance Culinary Kitchen, and wellness workshops such as Tex Zen Yoga or Floating Meditation. Did the mention of the spa pique your interest? Miraval also features treatments from the Slow Beauty Collection designed especially for each location, with the Petal Pecan Mask a must-try in the Austin location.
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Massachusetts
North America’s leading yoga retreat center, Kripalu is the perfect low-key getaway for anyone looking to recharge and reconnect in the gorgeous natural setting of the Berkshires. Kripalu’s all-inclusive offerings include both gentle and advanced yoga, meditation, flavorful and nutritionally balanced meals, classes and workshops that follow Ayurveda principles, and a philosophy of compassion and self-care. Another bonus: This classic retreat is incredibly well-priced, with all-inclusive stays starting at less than $200 per night. (Healing arts massages and spa treatments incur an extra charge.) This just might be one of the best, most affordable girls’ weekend getaways in America.
Red Mountain Resort, Utah
With the breathtaking natural setting of Zion National Park as its backdrop, Red Mountain Resort features a comprehensive selection of fitness classes and programs, outdoor and hiking adventures, nutritious cuisine, and personal-discovery seminars. While the resort offers specialized health and wellness packages, it also offers family-friendly and adventure-based options. In addition, the on-site Sagestone Spa & Salon provides an array of restorative spa services utilizing indigenous desert botanicals, local honey, and mineral-rich muds, clays, and salts.
Sensei Lanai, Hawaii
Surrounded by lush foliage, pine-covered mountains, and fresh tropical breezes, the adults-only Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, is a dream come true. Located on the dreamy Hawaiian island of Lanai, a quick hop from Maui, this secluded wellness retreat features a personal sensei guide for each guest to create a personalized itinerary focusing on the Sensei Way. This core philosophy of the resort distills preventive health science into three simple paths for everyday living: move, nourish, and rest. Retreats include customized spa treatments, fitness classes, Sensei by Nobu dining, and activities ranging from private yoga sessions to horseback riding through the surrounding hills of Koele to sailing along the scenic Lanai coastline. Lanai also happens to be one of the most romantic destinations in the United States.
Civana Wellness Resort & Spa, Arizona
Nestled high in the Sonoran Desert, this resort offers highly personalized wellness experiences that don’t feel prescriptive, restrictive, or regimented. It’s a stunning desert escape, and the resort takes advantage of its spectacular setting with morning meditation in the rose garden, sunrise yoga, desert hikes, outdoor sunset spin classes, and sound-bowl and stargazing sessions under the night sky. The resort’s culinary offerings are hyper-seasonal, fresh, modern takes on regionally inspired cuisine. Although not all-inclusive (restaurants and spa services incur a separate fee), room prices here include a wide array of wellness experiences—including mindfulness, movement, culinary, personal growth, outdoor adventure, and creative arts—with prices starting at around $200.
Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Florida
If you’re dreaming of a tropical-feeling wellness getaway but don’t want to leave the country, book a stay at the Carillon, right on the glittering beaches of Miami. Even though the nightlife may be hopping nearby, the luxe resort provides everything you need for an immersive wellness retreat: sumptuous lodgings, tempting food, a sybaritic spa, invigorating workouts, sparkling pools, and a pristine beach nearby. Carillon also features a European-style hydrotherapy circuit designed to relax and rejuvenate users through a range of hot and cold water treatments. While you’re in the Sunshine State, you might also want to check out the best Florida beaches that locals want to keep a secret.
Art of Living Retreat Center, North Carolina
A meditation and Ayurveda wellness getaway located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the Center offers the perfect tranquil setting. Featuring vast open spaces and outdoor activities, with yoga and meditation set against scenic backdrops, the Center is the perfect spot to get away from it all—though you may never want to leave! Program options include R&R Retreats, Ayurveda Wellness, and Meditation Retreats, as well as stays centered on special speakers and programs.
BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia
The luxe BodyHoliday Saint Lucia has long been known as one of the top all-inclusive wellness resorts in North America. And it’s truly all-inclusive, with a spa treatment included in the room rate every day, with options ranging from a full-body massage to a Lucian Lime & Ginger Scrub to seawater Thalassotherapy. Meals include healthy options in the Wellness Cafe, as well as indulgent choices at the full-service restaurants. And yes, you can have a cocktail here—there’s even a Wine Salon. Outdoors, the beach and the sparkling Caribbean Sea beckon, as do activities such as yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, water sports, and golf and tennis. There are also guided wellness programs for an additional fee. For a different type of stay, check out these other all-inclusive Caribbean resorts.
Lake Austin Spa Resort, Texas
Although it’s just 20 miles from downtown Austin, the 40-room Lake Austin Spa Resort feels a world away from the city. A sanctuary for wellness and relaxation spread across 19 lakeside acres, the resort is not only a top choice for wellness retreats—it’s also one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the United States. Three sparkling pools, a full calendar of fitness activities, and free use of gear to enjoy the lake—including stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, hydro-bikes, and sculling boats—are all included in your daily rate, as are three gourmet meals and snacks. Explore Texas Hill Country by bicycle, and then return for a spa treatment or meditation class before relaxing in a shaded hammock with a cold drink. Foodies will love the chef-led cooking classes and tours of the organic gardens.
Rancho La Puerta, Mexico
Set on 4,000 private acres of gardens, mountains, and meadows, Rancho La Puerta calls itself the original fitness resort and spa since it’s been offering full mind and body wellness stays since 1940. The all-inclusive programs include more than 80 fitness classes, spa treatments, therapeutic sessions, cooking classes, and renowned speaker series, sure to leave you feeling revitalized and transformed both physically and mentally. The Ranch offers week-long programs, but if you’re looking for an even longer retreat, there are also 21-day sabbaticals, so you can recharge in extended bliss. Can’t get away right now? Plan your own spa day at home, complete with slippers, robes, and soothing candles. Treat yourself right!
- Global Wellness Summit: “2021 Global Wellness Trend Snapshots”
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