Best of the U.S.
When your schedule is the only thing more crunched than your neck muscles, a short-haul spa getaway is the key to relief. And happily, there are spas all over the United States that are every bit as unique, exclusive and "away from it all" as any island retreat in Australiasia. Don't believe it? Check out our list of sanctuaries in your big backyard.
By Lena Katz
Calistoga | California
The hot springs town that wealthy San Francisco denizens used to visit by train each weekend has since become a "Wine Country meets wellness" retreat with global appeal. Tucked into the north corner of Napa County, Calistoga has managed to keep its bucolic, historic charm while gaining a full complement of world-class restaurants and resorts. Family-owned Indian Springs Resort & Spa perfectly evokes the old-meets-new Calistoga. The property has been around in one form or another since Calistoga forefather Sam Brannan created it as a turn-of-the-century health spa. Its plunge pools and mud baths have been transformed into an Olympic-sized mineral water pool. While 15 of the cozy guest cottages date back to Brannan's day, all accommodations feature modern comforts including Frette linens, flat-screen televisions and wi-fi.
Allison Inn & Spa | Oregon
For those who complain that California's too touristy, crowded and/or expensive, the Pacific Northwest states offer a more peaceful setting with just as much of a focus on wellness, and more access to Mother Nature. That doesn't mean you have to camp, though. At the Allison Inn & Spa, luxury accommodations overlook Willamette Valley wine country, and the culinary program showcases seasonal cuisine and signature wines of the region. The spa is a 15,000-square-foot haven to the holistic, housed in earth-toned stone and frosted glass. In the summer, guests can relax in balmy sunshine on the spa terrace.
Travaasa | Texas
Cowboy chic melds with the eco-friendly experience at new luxury-inclusive Austin resort Travaasa. The 210-acre lakefront property holds a horse stable and a yoga studio, plus an organic spa with a Lone Star-inspired treatment menu. The signature "On the Road Again" massage incorporates organic cotton linen, hemp oil and the tunes of Willie Nelson. "The Rose" treatment makes use of rose-infused oils and herbal compresses and sends guests on their way with a handmade heart as a gift.
Mii Amo | Arizona
Red rock canyons create a dramatic yet spiritual backdrop for Mii Amo, a boutique destination spa nestled within the award-winning Enchantment Resort in northern Arizona. Guests strengthen and rejuvenate their minds and bodies with a variety of interactive classes, explore spiritual connections within Sedona's legendary energy vortex and sleep comfortably in adobe casitas designed to evoke the Native American tribes of yore.
Highland Lake Inn | North Carolina
If you haven't been to the Blue Ridge Mountains, then you can't understand how the vivid hues of the mountain terrain, dotted with picture-perfect barns and peaceful pastures, can bring a sense of delighted wonder to the soul. Tucked in the heart of all this, Highland Lake Inn combines traditional tranquility with organic American cuisine and Eastern wellness practices. The Highland Yoga Studio, located in organic gardens across from the main building of the inn, offers classes six days a week. The property is situated on 26 acres of woodlands, ideal for walking or cross-country running. Various events are held here, including ChiWeek 2011, an instructional retreat that teaches injury-free running and walking.
Golden Door | California
Of all San Diego's myriad of spas (ranging from wellness retreats to med spas to day spas to resort spas), Golden Door may be the most legendary. Everything on the 377-acre property is dedicated to wellness and self-improvement. Each person has a customized program, so while one guest may decide to go in for a week of beauty treatments and pampering procedures, another may opt for a full program of spiritual healing with meditation and self-help workshops. Delicious, health-conscious meals and beautiful North San Diego accommodations are part of every experience.
Lodge at Woodloch | Pennsylvania
If you're looking for something with that particular Poconos brand of charm, but you prefer sophisticated to kitsch, the Lodge at Woodloch will meet your expectations with its attentive service, clean aesthetic and extensive array of spa services. Even self-proclaimed non-spa-goers are wooed by the lakeview Jacuzzi, the AquaGarden with its "Hydromassage Waterwalls," and water volleyball games at the indoor pool. Treatment junkies have an array of tempting things to choose from, including a signature Deep Forest Ritual done with local herbs and earth. Outside the spa, the resort offers a full program of outdoor adventures in the Pocono Mountains and "creative discovery" art classes and cooking demonstrations.
Acqualina | Florida
Whether visiting for the day, as many of the wealthy South Florida regulars do, or checking in for a few nights' stay, guests of sparkling Acqualina look forward to signature treatment on many different levels. Being halfway in between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, the resort escapes any sort of vacation-city hustle energy, but it still brings the beachside glamour, with a beach setup that evokes the Mediterranean and Italian market cuisine that claims to match up with Manhattan and the Med. But it's destination spa ESPA that really brings people here from all corners. From expertly performed basic treatments (facials, massage, etc.) to unique features like the Ice Fountain, ESPA at Acqualina consistently wins highest possible marks from the most discerning clientele. This is a slightly-left-of-center gem, but prized nonetheless.
Kaatskill Mountain Club | New York
Newly opened and highly recommended by locals, this East Coast mountain retreat is not "camp" in the slightest - but it's still the perfect getaway, for the weekend or the whole summer. Condo-style lodgings, run the gamut from studio-sized to three bedroom and beyond. An outdoor heated pool and two outdoor hot tubs give front-row access to the mountain sky. The spa is the key attraction, offering body scrubs and wraps, all-natural facial treatments, and energy work geared toward mind-body wellness.
Solitude Spa | Wyoming
Solitude unplugged - actually intended for one person. Located 20 minutes from the Snake River, Teton Mountain Lodge is a classical Western resort with a National Park feel to it. Its sister property is the sleek, LEED-certified Hotel Terra, but it's actually the lodge that boasts the better spa. Named after Solitude Lake, one of the glacier lakes in adjacent Grand Teton National Park, Solitude Spa is all about reconnecting with nature and with one's self - to the point where it recently introduced a full spa/resort experience geared toward solo travelers. It also offers "soul readings" with resident clairvoyant Carol Mann.