The grande dame of spa resorts, the original Canyon Ranch, founded in 1979, has perfected the happy middle ground between deprivation and decadence, and has become one of the best-known luxury wellness centers in the world. Guests at the all-inclusive resort stay in luxury accommodations and enjoy delicious portion-controlled meals while creating their own perfect fitness and health vacation.
The resort offers hundreds of programs, classes, workshops, and medical interventions to choose from, with fitness instructors, nutritionists, massage therapists, and even doctors on staff. A typical day may include a Pilates class, a workshop on longevity, a hike, a sleep evaluation, acupuncture, a healthy cooking demo, a dance class, a weight-loss consultation, and blood tests to check for genetic predispositions to illness.
Guests are free to fill their days with everything they’d ever want to do to improve, pamper, or indulge themselves in a healthy way. The ranch’s vibe is wellness-focused and mellow (no alcohol, caffeine, or sweets allowed), but it still offers the chance for visitors to primp at the salon and shop for the latest fitness fashions at the Ranch’s boutique.
Located in the Berkshires, the Kripalu Center has been welcoming yoga enthusiasts to its retreats for almost thirty years.
Retreat-goers can stay for a day, a weekend, or longer, taking immersion programs in Kripalu yoga (similar to hatha yoga), Ayurveda, tantra, and other mind-body practices. Kripalu also offers workshops in healthy eating, meditation, and outdoor activities. The Center is a nonprofit organization and serves more than twenty thousand serenity-seekers per year.
Since most guests come to "focus on spiritual and physical health," accommodations are Spartan. Most rooms are shared (as are bathrooms), breakfasts are mandated as quiet times, meals are all natural and mostly vegetarian, and guests are encouraged to not bring too much luggage and to leave cell phones and laptops at home.
Whether you’re new to the contemplative arts or highly experienced and seeking to deepen your spiritual practice, the Shambhala Mountain Center offers retreats and weekend programs for the exploration of Buddhist teachings, meditation, and other wisdom traditions. At the center, visitors can attend workshops with visiting master teachers or participate in other seminars in yoga, relaxation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and shamanism.
With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, the Center also allows guests to merge their mindfulness with nature on meditation-minded hikes, bicycling treks, and cross-country running trips.
The Shambhala Mountain Center is the site of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, one of the best examples of sacred Buddhist architecture in the world.
The fitness and diet program at Green Mountain is geared toward women, with the goal of helping them foster healthy habits and make positive choices for lifelong weight loss.
Visitors to the private woodland retreat enjoy daily fitness lessons and nutrition classes, but much of the focus here is on helping women manage stress and balance work and family responsibilities with a new plan for a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not dramatic and immediate weight loss, but rather to teach visitors the tools to achieve healthy and sustained weight loss after their visit to the retreat is over. Visitors are encouraged to develop a new relationship with food, and the retreat offers workshops and classes in managing stress and fighting emotional eating.
The ambiance is decidedly casual and unglamorous—no luxury massage or pampering—but the food is accessible, tasty, and healthy, and the fitness classes (like Zumba or “Absolutely No Crunches” core training) are fun and relaxed, and the environment is as much about nourishing women’s spirits as it is about nourishing their bodies.
Nestled in British Columbia’s lush Okanagan Valley, the Sparkling Hill Resort is an impeccably designed European-style luxury hotel and wellness center, featuring a design that includes ten million dollars’ worth of Swarovski crystal accents.
The resort’s KurSpa is the home of North America’s first cold sauna, which has temperatures of -166ºF. There are seven different steam and sauna rooms, aromatherapy pods, showers, a Kneipp water therapy walkway, and three pools—one infinity pool, a hot pool, and a soothing indoor pool, which features underwater music and a starry crystal “sky,” that guests have full and unlimited use of during their stay.
The spa also offers over one hundred different add-on treatments, from pedicures to mud baths to cellulite-reducing and anti-aging treatments. Outdoors, the resort has access to golf, hiking, skiing, water sports, and wildlife.
The diet and nutrition regimen at the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat is designed to completely cleanse and detoxify the body. Founded by Dr. Roni DeLuz (author of 21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox), the program flushes and invigorates stagnant systems and teaches visitors how to feed and care for their bodies in the best, most natural way possible.
Guests, who stay between five and twenty-one days, eat an all-natural liquid diet and undergo treatments like colon hydrotherapy, lymphatic drainage massage, colonics and enemas, saunas, oral chelation, and other holistic and naturopathic remedies.
People suffering from a chronic medical condition as well as those just seeking to rid their bodies of inflammation-causing toxins can benefit from the programs, which also feature exercise, music therapy, meditation, and yoga to lessen chronic pain and increase energy and vitality.