Best Retreats for the Solo Explorer
Photo Courtesy of Halekulani Hotel
Not so many years ago, a healthy spa diet arrived in shades of dark green and brown and would make a foodie wince. Not anymore. Health resort foods now tend toward the exquisite, the kind of meals you really wish you could make at home. And the same is true with health resorts in general. Forget boot camps: These places—whether simple or luxurious—provide an instant, invigorating change in lifestyle that immediately feels great. Given that so many of our physical and mental ailments are lifestyle related, a solid week devoted to healthy pleasures could be the best investment of the year. Here’s a range of healthy possibilities to ease whatever ails you.
Sunrise Springs Integrative Wellness Resort | Santa Fe, New Mexico
The focus of this new wellness resort is to teach you sustainable healthy practices that “allow you to thrive and experience life differently.” It’s a wonderful blend of Eastern and Western healing therapies, and the expert team here includes acupuncturists, behavioral health counselors, chiropractors, medical doctors, and massage therapists. The setting is lovely—70 serene acres to help you slow down, relax, and decompress—and the experiential activities (think nature bathing, “animal interactions,” and expressive arts) are noteworthy. Highlights include the Integrative Therapeutic Spa with private outdoor hydrotherapy, the greenhouse with its culinary classroom, and 20 acres of intentionally designed gardens, paths, and walking trails.
Rancho La Puerta | Tecate, Mexico
The mother ship of health resorts, Rancho La Puerta celebrated 75 years and keeps getting better. Start your day with a hike up the mystical mountain, followed by yoga, dance, Pilates, weight circuits, aqua aerobics, a labyrinth walk, art classes,
bird watching, cooking classes, organic farm walks, and much more. The list is exhaustive. Now you can end your day at the new wine bar. It’s the best week you’ll spend all year.
Hilton Head Health | Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Long regarded as one of the best weight-loss retreats in the nation, Hilton Head Health recently underwent a renovation, revamping its programs and building the Indigo Spa. (There are a lot of very good signature treatments here, including the Indigo Blue Eucalyptus Ritual to help relieve tiredness, low moods, and sore muscles.) Stays at this health and wellness retreat begin with a 45-minute private consultation with a health specialist to tailor the most beneficial classes and experiences based on your needs. Try one of the new Living Well programs, which include a weeklong Healthy Cuisine Kitchen and the Body + Mind Stress Management program.
Good Commons | Plymouth, Vermont
Located in an 1840s building that was once a country store turned ice cream parlor, this eco-friendly retreat center/B&B prides itself on being a “home away from home” for those looking for a relaxing, creative escape with a focus on wellness. Known for their reinvigorating weekend yoga retreats, healthy themes have included Gluten-Free Gourmet Getaways. You can also build your own dream retreat. Cooking classes, wine and cheese tastings, hiking, and intense yoga flow are just some of the options.
Halekulani Hotel | Honolulu, Hawaii
Kamala Skipper—former professional athlete and attorney turned lifestyle coach—runs a weeklong cleanse program at this luxury hotel’s Spa Halekulani. The new LivingWell Programs include wellness lectures, cleanse program, and individual lifestyle coaching sessions to help self-motivate, self-regulate, and create lasting change. Specific programs include the Foundation for Optimal Health Package, the Executive Package, and the Jumpstart Your Health Cleanse.
The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa | Fairfield, Iowa
If you want to experience ayurveda—an ancient system of preventive health care that was developed in India over 6,000 years ago—in its purest form without leaving the US, this is the place to do it. For a real life-changer, try one of the Panchakarma Programs (you may choose from three-day to 21-day-plus packages). This is a powerful detoxifying and rejuvenating therapy that includes pulse assessment, a number of intensive ayurvedic spa treatments, herbal enemas, organic vegetarian meals, and yoga classes, meditation, and evening lectures.
Canyon Ranch | Tucson, Arizona
A no-nonsense, luxury health resort and destination spa where you’ll have experts to check out places on your body you didn’t know you have. Seriously, if you’re really looking to jump-start a high-end spa lifestyle, this is the place to begin. Its tagline is “The Power of Possibility,” and that pretty much says it all.
Copperhood Retreat & Spa | Shandaken, New York
If you’re looking to recharge in an intimate, natural environment where nutritious, real food takes center stage, this 20-room healthy destination spa located in the Catskills will hit the mark. On the menu: juicing, raw food, yoga, swimming, and lots of Mother Nature. There are a number of packages that can be customized to fit your needs, including a 3-Night Detox Plan and 21-Night Break Your Old Habits Plan.
Green Mountain at Fox Run | Ludlow, Vermont
A peaceful country setting provides the backdrop for this women-only weight-loss program that began in 1973. Programs are a minimum of one week and up to four weeks—designed to help you improve weight management and healthy lifestyle skills. The staff includes experts in nutrition, exercise physiology, metabolism, medicine, stress management, psychology, massage, tai chi, and yoga. Note: There are special programs for binge eaters, compulsive eaters, and those with body image issues and chronic health problems.
Cal-A-Vie Health Spa | Vista, California
This luxurious destination spa is a real treat if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion. Stay in one of 32 spacious Mediterranean-style villas, decorated in country French décor, and enjoy a personalized program designed to address your wellness goals. Choose from three-, four-, and seven-night packages that include gourmet cuisine, beauty and spa treatments, mind and body awareness programs (there are more than 20 different mind/body classes, including Feldenkrais, Chakra yoga, and tai chi), fitness classes, and lectures. Walk the labyrinth or spend some quiet time in the 400-year-old candlelit chapel.