Reset, Restore: The Best Destination Spas in the US

  • Written By:Ariel Okin
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With the work week morphing into a 24-7, technologically fueled epidemic and news cycles becoming a constant source of anxiety, focusing on self care has become more necessary than ever. While little acts of restoration are becoming increasingly ingrained in Western culture (think Epsom salt baths and meditation), sometimes we find ourselves feeling burnt out and in need of something more substantial. Enter: the destination spa.

From California to Arizona to the Poconos and more, the United States is home to some of the best destination spas in the world. Utilizing a variety of healing modalities from nutritionists and massage therapists, acupuncturists, sound bath healers, yoga instructors and more, the spas below are vetted and beloved by those in the wellness industry and beyond. Pack your bags, book your flights – and don’t forget to bring your yoga mat.

1. Mii Amo, Sedona, Arizona

Mii Amo, a destination spa in Sedona, Arizona, was recently rated the #2 destination spa in the world by Travel + Leisure. A favorite of goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow, Mii Amo is an all-inclusive retreat sure to relax both body and mind. Each “Journey Package” is completely customized based on your needs; from spiritual exploration to de-stressing or adjusting to a transitional period in your life, Mii Amo considers the whole person when coordinating each specific itinerary. Offering classical spa treatments like massage, facial, and exercise classes, Mii Amo also includes some unique spiritual and Native American inspired therapies, including the “Soul Seeker”, in which “a master therapist provides techniques to help support a heightened awareness, a new perspective, or reconnection with your inner self. The techniques used may include guided imagery, energy soul journeying, emotional release and breath work.” If you’re looking to escape inwards, this is the place to go.

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2. The Ranch, Malibu, California

A less restorative experience and more akin to a boot camp, The Ranch is known for attracting Type-A A-Listers who are serious about disconnecting and getting in shape. Cell phones and coffee are banned from the premises, and with only sixteen guests per week, a regimented schedule keeps everyone busy with early morning hikes, yoga, HIIT Training, and more. With eight hours of activity per day, you’ll be falling into bed in the gorgeously appointed cottages night after night – without counting sheep.

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3. Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, Vista, California

Set on 440 lush acres outside of San Diego, Cal-a-Vie has been an insider favorite for over 30 years. 32 gorgeous, rustic rooms are relaxing and inviting, while the elegance of French country influence envelops the entire resort. From treatments to cuisine; you’ll feel like you’re luxuriating in Aix-en-Provence within moments of setting foot on the property. With a 5 to 1 staff ratio and a variety of treatment and programming options ranging from walks, hikes, and over 100 exercise classes, your days (starting at 6AM), will be jam packed with as much Grade A pampering as you can imagine.

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4. We Care Detox Spa, Desert Hot Springs, California

With a 1-3 lb weight loss estimate per day, We Care is a particularly intense and regimented spa stay focused on cleansing and detoxing the system. With a focus on juice cleansing and colonics (not required, yet highly recommended), We Care is where many celebs go for a “tune up” before red carpet appearances. Located near Palm Springs in the gorgeous deserts of California, the spa is situated amongst stunning flora and cacti, making for quite the scenic stay. Highlight treatments include Reiki sessions, hypotherapy, use of the spa’s “Floating Beds”, which essentially mimic the sensation of rocking in utero and promote relaxation, and “Raindrop Therapy”, in which nine different essential oils are dropped along the spine and then massaged then feathered out along neural pathways using the Tibetan Vita Flex technique. But be warned: this program is not for the faint of heart.

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5. Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Arguably the grandfather of all luxury spas in the US, Canyon Ranch’s Tucson location is the OG when it comes to the art of destination spa-ing. (Its sister spa is in Lenox, MA). With a variety of activities for every type of guest, not to mention a substantial golf offering, Canyon Ranch is the ultimate customizable getaway. Food is portioned controlled yet nutrient dense and delicious, and programming ranges from wellness and spa related to even classes in the creative arts. Don’t forget to take advantage of the staff of highly trained doctors, fitness experts and nutritionists – Canyon Ranch has a reputation for being home to the best of the best.

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6. Miraval Resort and Spa, Tucson, Arizona

Arguably one of the most luxe spas on the list and located in the picturesque Sonoran Desert, Miraval Resort and Spa is an elegantly appointed vacation with a hearty dose of spa services and activities – you can even have a cocktail while you’re there (rare in the world of wellness retreats). Their award-winning spa offers treatments that fall under several different healing modalities, from ayurveda to eastern medicine. Their newest experience, The Retreat, opens in February 2018 and offers an even more discerning way to indulge in the Miraval experience. The 22 brand new residences were created for a getaway that inspires – plus you can indulge in one-of-a-kind amenities and signature Miraval experiences brought to you in the privacy of your Retreat suite. PS: we hear Oprah is a frequent guest.

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7. The Lodge at Woodloch, Hawley, Pennsylvania

Boasting a 40,000 square foot spa on 150 acres, The Lodge at Woodloch has become the harried New Yorker’s home away from home since its debut in 2006. Beautiful in all seasons, The Lodge really shines in the wintertime; with skiing, snowshoeing and hot tubs on premises, it’s a restorative winter getaway without the Aspen price tag. It’s also a favorite destination for a fun trip away with your girlfriends.

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8. Glenmere Mansion, Hudson Valley, New York

The shining jewel of Glenmere Mansion – an absolutely stunning boutique Relais & Chateaux hotel located just two hours outside of New York City – is its authentic Turkish Hammam Spa, one of only a handful in the US. The stunning Carrara marble bath house offers water therapies from around the world, including an herbal steam room, dry heat sauna, stimulating swiss shower, cool mist room, aqua massage vitality pool and warm marble belly stone. The spa’s Hammam experiences touch on ancient rituals of cleansing and purification that will leave you drooling; these treatments can also be enjoyed with a friend or significant other as a duet. The Turkish Soap Ritual is a can’t miss.

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9. Grace Mayflower Inn and Spa, Washington, Connecticut

Another luxury boutique spa and hotel close to NYC, Grace Mayflower has garnered a reputation amongst locals as a favorite hidden gem. With a comprehensive spa and wellness program offering everything from Reviving Soul Rituals like a Japanese Tapotement treatment to lymphatic drainage massages and Reiki energy healing, not to mention the elegantly appointed rooms in the boutique hotel, this is the perfect weekend getaway for an overworked New Yorker. Visit in the spring or summer to make use of the grounds; hiking, biking, fly-fishing and more await you.

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