It’s an understatement to say that this year has been rough. We have all experienced differing degrees of anxiety and stress, loss, and general uncertainty, and for some, the holidays will not provide the comfort of being able to be with family and loved ones for all. If this is the case for you, giving yourself the gift of self-care is all the more important. We’ve pulled together some of the most indulgent wellness retreats and resorts in the US — from day spas to full week getaways.
1. CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa — Carefree, Arizona
Located in Carefree, Arizona, CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa is currently one of the nation’s best wellness centers mainly due to its holistic approach and affordability — which we love! Making the option of a health and wellness vacation open to more travelers is where it’s at, and their flexi rate includes a huge range of activities and options. The weekly schedule is packed from 7:00 AM with various local hiking treks, almost every yoga style you could list — including aerial — personal growth workshops, meditation, sound healing, and Barre classes, to list a few.
The resort is located in the Sonoran Desert — a landscape that is calming in itself, and the accommodations are chic and modern with soft greens accenting the cleansing white of the walls and furnishings. A queen room starts around $349/night, and with that you get access to the activity schedule, but if you do have the means and want to include a spa package, you can tailor-make the experience.
The spa is “inspired by water” and draws on ancient healing practices such as a hydrotherapy thermal circuit of hot and cold pools and the cool-water shower. The selection of massage options makes a creative menu, and they offer an additional CBD massage booster for $25 if you are in need of extra relaxation.
2. Ten Thousand Waves — Santa Fe, New Mexico
Set in the foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains, four miles from the center of Santa Fe, Ten Thousand Waves setting is calming and reminiscent of the countryside of Japan. Their campus extends over 20 acres and the spa, lodging, and dining options have been inspired by Japanese culture — specifically the practice of bathing in onsen hot springs. The property has been built with imported timber and authentic artwork and fabrics detail the interior while the exterior has been designed around small wooden bridges lined with lanterns and koi ponds. Their 14 rooms resemble a Japanese village, and each room has its own personal courtyard or patio.
The communal hot tubs are segregated by gender and have a sauna and a cold plunge pool. Communal pools are currently not available due to the pandemic, but there are four private tubs. There is an attractive and extensive menu of authentic Japanese spa treatments, such as their Ashi Anima Foot Treatment, which uses pressure work through the feet coupled with a full body massage.
The onsite restaurant, Izanami, is award-winning. The traditional small plates and sake are simple, but each element from the in-house pickles and ice cream to locally sourced meat and fish is meticulously thought out.
Ten Thousand Waves has a range of packages to choose from and gift certificates. They ask for a minimum stay of two nights unless you are a previous guest.
3. Miraval Austin Wellness Resort and Spa — Austin, Texas
Overlooking Lake Travis, Miraval is set into the forested hills of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and describes itself as a “natural sanctuary.” This Miraval project is vast, but don’t let that put you off. They have cultivated a sense of tranquility and airiness through their renovation, featuring 116 country-style rooms, many of which have private balconies with views of the lake.
A stay here is not cheap but the facilities are world-class, and the amenities are almost too much. The Holiday Sale is running until October 27 with vacation options until December 31, and it promises festive experiences that will “renew your spirit, and set your intention for a new year filled with balance and hope.” Onsite you’ll find 30 treatment rooms and over 75 treatments at the spa. There’s also wellness counseling, classes in creative expression, water sports, an outdoor challenge course, yoga, and other state-of-the-art fitness options, plus an onsite farm.
4. Blackberry Mountain — Walland, Tennessee
Booking a stay at Blackberry Mountain is not done on a whim. Their accommodation options are vast — cabins, cottages, and multi-bedroom homes — and often book up in advance. A retreat here in the Smokey Mountains would be one heck of an end-of-year treat.
Blackberry Mountain has dedicated 2,800 acres of land to conservation which has created a private preserve offering out of this world views over Miller’s Cove in Walland. Their blend of outdoor adventure and gold standard wellness facilities marries beautifully and makes for an unforgettable experience.
Fitness classes are extensive from well-being experiences such as yoga, meditation, and sound bathing to high-intensity workouts in their spin studio. If you are feeling creative, there are classes in ceramics and pottery, painting and sketching, basket weaving and textile art. With their 5,200 acres of land, hiking is ample as is biking, climbing, and trail running. They also offer excursions for those who are interested in pursuits such as fly fishing or horseback riding.
You’d be remiss not to sign up for all of the activities on offer; this is not the place you spend your hard-earned money and sit by the pool. But with that being said, their spa Nest has everything you would expect from a top-end resort, such as an indulgent kaolin clay wrap, an echinacea herbal buff, a varied list of massages, and crystal reiki.
5. Mii amo — Sedona, Arizona
Mii amo spa has some of the most gifted therapists in the world. You come here if you are looking for more than a massage — it is renowned for helping guests refresh and transform mind and body in profound ways. Set with a backdrop of red rock stone of remote Boynton Canyon in Sedona, the wellness center is steps from Enchantment Resort.
Unlike many of the other vacation options mentioned, Mii amo caters to those who are specifically looking for a wellness package. They have a selection of custom-designed 3-,4-, and 7-night “journeys” in which your guide will build you an itinerary depending on what your mind and body needs.
Within this all-inclusive experience, you receive a welcome tour, daily spa credit, dining at their exceptional cafe and juice bar, and access to all classes, seminars, and activities at the resort. The spa treatments are extensive, including two unique treatments called “Spirit of the New Moon: Manifesting” and “Spirit of the Full Moon: Releasing,” which claim to use the power of the moon to release bad energy and set intentions for the future.
6. Lake Austin Spa Resort — Austin, Texas
This property sits on 19 acres of manicured private land on the shore side of Lake Austin. Lake Austin Spa Resort is another wellness resort at the top end of the market and has won awards for being the nation’s best destination spa resort. They have a few deals available which might take the edge off. There’s quite a range, and it might be worth calling the resort directly to see what they can work out. Currently, they are advertising their Spa Refresher Package, which gives you $175 per night towards activities and the spa, and the Stay Longer Stay Free package, which will gift you two extra nights when you book in for five nights and three if you book a full week.
Throughout the property, the French country decor is elegant yet comfortable and welcoming. Well-appointed rooms are draped with rich fabrics and beautiful artwork and offer a view over the lawns and down to the lake. Their outdoor fitness program is centered in and around the water with activities such as nature bathing, wakeboarding, SUPing, a boat dock boot camp, and water skiing. The Lakehouse Spa is open to day guests, and being only 30 minutes from Austin, you could opt to make your own retreat if staying at the resort is too expensive. The spa itself is beautifully sprawling and has over 100 treatments to choose from. The onsite gardens provide herbs for treatments and are used in their signature Gifts of our Garden scrub.
7. Cal-a-Vie — Vista, California
Cal-a-Vie is a favorite of celebrities, but during the holidays, they run some special packages that might make staying here less of a fantasy. They offer introductory packages for those who have not stayed before and discounted rates for groups of six or more. Cal-a-Vie told Matador Network that the group package will hopefully see “families and friends who want to ‘re-unite’ at Cal-a-Vie [do so] in a safe way.”
You would be forgiven if, after looking at photos of the property and its grounds, you thought this opulent resort was located in Provence. Private villas look out over rolling hillsides of lavender and vineyards, while luxurious classic French style runs throughout, from its architecture to soft furnishing details.
The rates are all-inclusive, and they include transfers from the airport, accommodation, dining with ingredients from the on-site organic garden, unlimited access to fitness facilities and classes, and spa treatments galore. The spa at Cal-a-Vie has been named one of the best spas in the world — and for good reason. Highlights include their signature custom-crafted vinotherapy treatments straight from Cal-a-Vie’s vineyards and their lime blossom waterless scrub which sounds divine.