America's Healthiest Spas: The Winners
By Elena Rover
From Health magazine
Tucson, Ariz., and Lenox, Mass.
800-742-9000 or www.canyonranch.com
Canyon Ranch helped pioneer the healthy spa concept in 1979 and still does it better than anyplace else. Healthy, delicious food? Check. Top-notch skin care? Doris Day, the dermatologist on our panel (meet all of our judges), rates this spa a perfect 10.
In the fitness category, Jo Hannafin, MD, gives Canyon Ranchs offerings, which range from restorative yoga to hard-core hiking, the highest score of any spa we evaluated. Our judges also love the staffs high level of accreditation and training. (The place is crawling with doctors.) A nurse tailors a schedule to help you meet your health goals, from lowering cholesterol to beating insomnia, and may also suggest tests like a mammogram or a stride analysisall done on-site.
“Canyon Ranch has the high standards that other spas strive to match,” says Melisse Gelula, editor in chief of Luxury SpaFinder Interactive. Choose between desert (the 240-guest Tucson spa) and mountains (the 200-guest Lenox location, tucked into the Berkshires), both of which take maximum advantage of the natural beauty.
Dont miss: Yamuna Body Rolling, done with special balls to build strength, flexibility, and balance.
Cost: $5,130 and up per week, per person, double occupancy, at Lenox ($5,750 at Tucson), including meals and some treatments and wellness services. Lenox also offers a three-night stay starting at $2,040.
Next Page: The Golden Door [ pagebreak ]
The Golden Door
800-424-0777 or www.goldendoor.com
Crossing the gilded entrance 40 miles northwest of San Diego transports you to a luxurious Japanese-style sanctuary of personal attention.
Fitness classes and hikes often include only a handful of participants. (The spa hosts just 40 guests at a time.) And the staff members cater to your needs like theyve known you for years. Our judges particularly appreciate this standout spas gentle approach to skin care and its strong connection to nature.
Youll fall asleep to the soothing sound of streams running through the carefully maintained gardens. Note: Men are welcome at The Golden Door only nine weeks a year, so if you want to bring your husband along be sure to book your trip far in advance.
Dont miss: Raking the sand garden for a moving meditation.
Cost: $7,995 per week, per person, all-inclusive. Three days cost $3,625.
Next Page: The California Health and Longevity Institute [ pagebreak ]
The California Health and Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Westlake Village
Westlake Village, Calif.
888-575-1114 or www.chli.com
Is your guy dubious about spas? Take him here. This two-year-old property, which includes the California Health and Longevity Institute (CHLI) and a world-class hotel, neither restricts food intake (choose between Wellness and Indulgence options) nor withholds alcohol (berry-spiked antioxidant mojito, anyone?).
But CHLI is hard-core about health. Panelist Mary Ann Bauman, MD, gives it a perfect score for its health offerings, from skin-cancer screenings to alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Plenty of classic spa treatments await too.
Dont miss: The two-hour Wellness Kitchen, a hands-on cooking demo and lunch with a registered dietitian chef.
Cost: $4,200 per person for the three- to five-day Ultimate Health Package, which includes everything but lodging. (Rooms start at $225 per person, per night, double occupancy.)
Next Page: Green Valley Spa and Resort [ pagebreak ]
Green Valley Spa and Resort
St. George, Utah
800-237-1068 or www.greenvalleyspa.com
A gem in the desert near Zion and Bryce National Parks, this 50-room family-friendly spa satisfies gung-ho fitness fanatics as well as those seeking a spiritual retreat. The fitness challenges are unparalleled, including high-desert hiking, mountain biking, and a tennis camp.
Improve your golf skills at the 4,000-square-foot indoor driving range and putting green. Hit a plateau? A sports psychologist can help you overcome it. Green Valley scores especially high in skin care and nutrition, too. (The head of the spas program is a nutrition PhD and an MD.)
Dont miss: Evening Tai Chi on the red rocks.
Cost: The Ultimate Spa Program is $3,995 and up per week per person, double occupancy, all-inclusive.
Next Page: Cal-a-Vie [ pagebreak ]
Some think of Cal-a-Vie as a weight-loss resort, but its actually a first-class spa. The cozy antiques-filled setting north of San Diego lets you feel like youre in the French countryside, right down to the 400-year-old meditation chapel brought stone-by-stone from Dijon.
Cal-a-Vie has five staff members per guest, the highest ratio of any spa on our list. The spas experts will sift through your goals and give you a card detailing your daily activities and spa treatments (though you can opt out of them or choose alternates).
Your mealsbalanced servings of lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh seasonal vegetablesarrive portioned to your prescribed calorie count. If your tummy grumbles and your muscles ache, simply swap your cardio-kickboxing class for tai chi or ask your consultant to add 300 calories to your diet. “That flexibility means you wont feel deprived,” judge Gelula says.
Dont miss: The early morning hikes. The area is called Vista for good reason.
Cost: $7,395 per week, per person, including all treatments. Three nights cost $3,595.
Next Page: Mii Amo at Enchantment Resort [ pagebreak ]
Mii Amo at Enchantment Resort
888-749-2137 or www.miiamo.com
If you crave mind-body balance and dont mind a healthy dose of New Age mysticism, Mii Amo is for you. Although its offerings are comprehensive, the goal is to “move your journey forward,” wherever that takes you.
Youll get fit (theres superb hiking and mountain biking), eat well (our judges love the variety of foods), and pamper your body (dermatologist Day lauds the expert approach to skin care), as well as engage in activities such as the Aura-Soma Color Reading (a color-therapy-and-massage combo) or just focus on meditating and de-stressing.
Mii Amo makes it all easy. Book one of the 14 guest rooms and two suites in a quiet courtyard sequestered from ringing phones and splashing children. Or, if you want to bring your family, stay at the Enchantment Resort next door.
Dont miss: The Vortex Walk, during which youll hear about the energy Native Americans believe exists in Boynton Canyon.
Cost: $3,854 and up per week, per person, all-inclusive, double occupancy; three nights start at $1,905 per person, double occupancy.
Next Page: Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa [ pagebreak ]
Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa
800-327-4914 or www.pritikin.com
On the grounds of a picturesque yacht club, this 75-room spa, founded by late nutrition guru Nathan Pritikin, is the place to go if you have a health concern to address such as lowering high cholesterol, turning around prediabetes, reducing cancer risk, or getting to a healthy weight.
Most guests come here to achieve a healthy weight and ward off diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. After checking in, youll get a battery of medical tests, a strict low-fat, low-processed-carb diet, and a moderate exercise plan.
Our judges give high points to Pritikins solid staff credentials and proven results in reducing guests health risks; physician Bauman scores the spa a perfect 10 for its medical offerings. Theres a complete panoply of advanced body- and skin-care services, from massages to collagen injections, that keep you from feeling like youre at a boot camp.
Dont miss: Jet Lag Relief, an aromatherapy massage and stretch service.
Cost: $3,975 and up per week, per person, double occupancy.
Next Page: Lake Austin Spa Resort [ pagebreak ]
Lake Austin Spa Resort
800-847-5637 or www.lakeaustin.com
If you want to de-stress without the woo-woo factor, consider Lake Austin. “A clinical psychologist oversees the mind-body programs here,” says judge Alice Domar, PhD, who loves that solid research backs the spas offerings, which range from a variety of yoga classes to meditation and qigong (a set of Chinese breathing and movement exercises).
In the mind-body-program category, Lake Austin gets the highest score of any on our list. It also racks up points for its fitness options, including sculling, kayaking, and dance classes. Plus, its perfect for control freaks who want to take charge and do their own thingsthough theres plenty of guidance for those who want it.
Dont miss: The class on how to make herbal remedies, using bounty from the spas organic gardens.
Cost: $4,335 per week, per person, double occupancy, all-inclusive. Three nights start at $1,455, not including spa services.
Next Page: Mayflower Inn and Spa [ pagebreak ]
Mayflower Inn and Spa
860-868-9466 or www.mayflowerinn.com
This 30-room retreat on 58 acres may be named after the Pilgrim ship, but theres nothing puritanical about it. Expect first-class service in an elegant five-star setting. The place attracts lots of New Yorkers and Bostonians seeking relief from urban stress. (Its just a few hours away from both cities.)
Theres a broad array of indoor and outdoor fitness options that vary with the seasons, including cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and guided mountain-challenge hikes. Youll eat fresh local food, toothe staff nutritionist can help you make healthful choices that taste decadent.
Dont miss: The Japan Red Flower Ritual, which includes a cherry blossom–rice polish and shiatsu massage.
Cost: $6,700 for five nights, all-inclusive. Two nights start at $1,750, which includes many amenities but not spa services.
Next Page: Spa Montage [ pagebreak ]
Laguna Beach, Calif.
866-271-6953 or www.montagelagunabeach.com
Want to surf on your spa trip? At Montage, thats no problem. This 250-room beachfront getaway offers stunning views of the Pacific.
Our judges like its balanced and individualized approach to fitness, its gentle skin-care treatments (try the California Citrus Body Polish), and its wide array of therapies (the invigorating Art of Spa treatment moves you between intense heat and a cold plunge into a pool). Montage wont deprive you at the table, eitherwine and cheese are on the menu.
Dont miss: The Therapeutic Beach Walk, which includes both a dry-land trek and waist-deep wading.