Getting lost can be the absolute best way to discover a place through new eyes and get back in touch with ourselves. I know very few people who are not affected by the craziness going on in the world right now. Our bodies and spirits protest under too much stress and lack of rest. Itís essential that we give ourselves a break and go to a quiet, spirit-filled place to recharge and renew.
LA COSTA RESORT & SPA, Carlsbad, California
From the minute my husband and I entered the gates of the long picturesque drive at La Costa Resort & Spa, we felt ourselves relax almost instantly as we immersed ourselves in the 450 acres of flower-filled rolling hills. There is so much space here, we wanted to make it into our own private paradise and that is just what we did.
Sometimes I go in my backyard and just sit, or swing in a hammock with a good book. Sometimes I treat myself and go to a spa for a few days. A spa is the perfect place to go to heal, rest and reflect. I wanted to choose a few spas that offer a variety of activities or off-season prices.
We found our way to our luxurious suite with a bathroom that is larger than our dining room. My husband, tired after working all day, headed straight to the Jacuzzi Tub. I explored the grounds and sat outside on our private patio, watching in wonder as wild rabbits were running around in search of their next meal.
We walked over to Legends Bistro, sat outside by the fireplace and had a fabulous dinner of Pacific Oven Roasted Salmon. We went to bed early and woke just as the light peeked through the windows. As we stepped outside for our walk, we felt the coastal fog wash over us as we headed along the winding paths from the golf course, tennis courts and restful meditation gardens. After a short while, a kaleidoscope of colors seemed to burst from every corner.
It is easy to understand why La Costa is rated the #4 Resort Spa in the U.S. and Canada by Travel & Leisure. La Costa has recently undergone major renovations, with many improvements focused on the spa. There is an Herb Garden in the Spa Courtyard, and a stone Reflexology Path. And there are new spa treatments, including a Bamboo Massage.
Iíd never heard of a bamboo treatment and was a little unsure of what this experience would be like. During this massage, stalks of warmed bamboo are rolled over your muscles to increase circulation and promote relaxation. After this treatment, I felt like melting into the table and didnít want to leave. Truly, one of the best spa experiences Iíve ever had!
The Chopra Center for well being is located at La Costa and offers an impressive variety of retreats and workshops, such as A Weekend Within, Free to Heal and Seduction of Silence. For detailed program information, call (760) 494-1639.
RED MOUNTAIN RESORT & SPA , St. George, Utah
Itís not unusual for outdoor adventure seekers to make a pilgrimage to the state of Utah on a regular basis. Utah is an outdoor paradise and Red Mountain Spa is right in the middle of it. I was looking for fresh air and an adrenaline rush when I chose this destination. Iíd heard from a friend about the dozens of daily classes available and the major hiking opportunities accessible from the spa, less than a mile away at Snow Canyon State Park.
I arrived in the evening, just in time to watch the sun set over the expansive red rock cliffs stretching across The Mojave Desert. From my expansive balcony, the entire sky looked as though it were on fire. I felt exhilarated and I knew I was lucky to be here.
I decided to take this trip by myself and discovered I was not alone in my thoughts. During dinner at the communal table I met guests who were returning for their sixth or seventh time. Some of the people I met were by themselves, others with a girlfriend, and a few were accompanied by their husbands.
This is very definitely a place where you can feel comfortable, no matter what kind of mood youíre in. No pretenses, no makeup, just show up and be yourself. Classes include Chi Ball Stretch and Power Pilates. In addition to all the classes, Red Mountain Spa offers an entire array of wellness and personal discovery sessions such as Life Coaching Sessions, Actual Age Assessments and Body in Balance Detox. The Sagestone Spa & Salon is exquisite and the offerings are well thought out. Treatments range from Lymphatic Drainage Therapy to Reiki Therapy.
RANCHO LAS PALMAS RESORT & SPA, Palm Springs, California
Now that my husband and I have discovered the romantic getaway of Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Springs, we decided that this is a place we want to go to again and again. Nestled at the foot of Mount Jacinto, the resort offers a perfect blend of beauty inspired by nature, combined with the magic of over l,500 palm trees and an expansive golf course in the middle of the dazzling desert.
After checking into our luxury suite, we headed over to Las Palmas Spa and immersed ourselves into an atmosphere of the healing powers of sage, chaparral and lavender, organic botanical of the desert. We spent the afternoon enjoying the signature spa treatment, the Salty Mango Salt Scrub followed by a massage. A tasty frozen mango treat was the final touch of this blissful experience. The spa has recently experienced a $35-million facelift and it shows! We were drawn to the sanctuary pool with stunning views of the mountain and thatís where we spent the rest of the afternoon.
We decided to take a short nap before heading over to the bluEmber, the resortís signature restaurant. Chef Sean OíConnell, formerly the executive chef at The Fontainebleau, has blessed this space with his magic touch of subtle sophistication and incredible signature dishes. After much deliberation over dinner choices, we decided to try a miso-glazed Chilean sea bass served with sesame-wilted spinach and sake ginger broth.
Indoors and out, the atmosphere is sleek and alluring. The night was magical with the back drop of shadowy mountains and a jazz band playing in the background while we sat around the fire pit having an after dinner drink.
When choosing a spa, itís always a good idea to check out the website and review the treatments that are offered. Visiting a great spa truly has the potential of taking your vacation to a whole new level.
If you are watching your finances, you may want to consider putting a package together and traveling during the shoulder season when some spas offer reduced rates. All three spas are top-notch!
La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad, CA: (800) 854-5000 or www.lacosta.com
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, Palm Springs, CA: (866) 423-1195 or www.rancholaspalmas.com
Red Mountain Resort & Spa, St. George, UT: (877) 246-HIKE (4453), or www.RedMountainSpa.com
Ann Nelson is a freelance writer residing in San Diego, CA