Tis the season for vacation, but between time moving too fast and sky-high temps, it’s also a series of months where you have to make some moves quickly before they get away from you (yes, fall, we see you sneaking up on us). Here are the best get-back-in balance places to go when you have 2.5 days and want to do wellness right.
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Destination: Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun
Poor Cancun. After the Spring Break years, we sort of threw you to the sidelines. Yet, you have beautiful beaches, so much sun and you never break the bank. And no spa does it better than the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun for those of us who are well beyond college-age and appreciate a show-stopping spa. Gorgeous rooms, all-inclusive amenities and very large water and pool features make you A-plus in our book; private steam, pool and yoga areas, bonus features like tequila tasting (yes, there’s even classes that will tell the tales of its benefits!) and serious seven-step massage offerings at the impressive Gem Spa make you a destination where we wouldn’t dream of going off-property.
Destination: Blue Waters Resort
If you need to lose five pounds and only have a weekend, head on down to Blue Waters Resort in Antigua. This summer through October, the paradise-perched hotel is pairing up with Living Retreats, a no-nonsense under-$100-per-day wellness camp that takes no prisoners. Yes, you’ll work out, you’ll sweat and you’ll have moments where you would do anything to be sipping a frozen drink instead, but you’ll also get some very serious results and better food and fitness habits come Monday.
Chicago is breaking into the beauty scene this summer, with stores like Credo and the newly opened natural beauty emporium Lena Rose claiming their stake to a city that’s very proud of its “green” footprint. JW Marriott Chicago is also making some new moves, reinventing itself as a “spa-cation” destination and introducing a very serious (and reasonably priced at $10 a class) Nike Master Trainer program for guests. The workouts are semiprivate and aren’t a walk in the park; luckily, the nearby spa has a ton of facials, massages, signature treatments and luxe packages to help you recoup afterward.
Destination: Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa
Full disclosure: St. Barts is not super easy to get to. You have your choice of boat or tiny plane as your mode of transportation, a method that’s not far mileage-wise, yet not easy for most to handle. Luckily, once you’re there, serious splurging and sitting on a beach chair awaits. New to the island is the very spa-oriented Le Barthélemy, an exclusive enclave that has one of the first La Mer spas in the Caribbean, a spacious area that can only be described as an “enclave.” There’s a soon-to-open hammam, a really cool fitness studio, and so many places to relax that, once you arrive, you’ll either never want to leave or do everything you can to make the trek back the very next weekend. Bonus: Through mid-August, the hotel is offering “Raise the Gaze” Summer Camp Yoga Challenge, which includes complimentary wellness-focused activities like beach yoga, cooking classes and meditation workshops.
Destination: Terranea Resort
It’s only about 30 minutes from LAX (and, in LA traffic, that’s actually saying something for the speed factor), yet this impressive oceanfront property feels so far from everything. Take a few of your girlfriends for the weekend, book one of the spa bungalows and sign up for an early spin class. (Pro tip: Get the front row so you can have an unobstructed view of the Pacific.) Whether you wake up in time or not—there’s also workout gear in your room if you decide to rest—the mere motion of being by the ocean will have you feeling like you took some time out.
Destination: Allison Inn & Spa
Wine lovers will be amazed by this off-the-radar property that’s so quiet, yet does it up big. It’s not a far drive from Portland, but once you get there, you honestly won’t remember how long the journey took. Everything is eco-friendly (even the water bottles in the rooms are made of glass and can be recycled), there’s a greenhouse on-site that fuels the very good food the restaurant serves, and the natural brand of Naturopathica takes center-stage in the spa, a small testament to how serious the space takes the environment.
Destination: Gurney’s Montauk
The Hamptons can be a hot bed of a whole lot of non-relaxation in the summer; Gurney’s Montauk effectively delivers visitors some peace and quiet in the form of a massive spa with a very in-depth spa menu, while also giving them the option of participating in the nearby nightlife. If you aren’t up for the summer scene, the hotel also does fall/winter wellness very, very well.
Destination: Peninsula Beverly Hills
Another nod to the never-ending California wellness offerings, this posh hotel is a place where you can retreat and relax. The rooms give off a clean-white vibe, the location makes it possible to walk everywhere—yes, you can do it even though it’s LA!—and the lavish spa, a secret adjunct off the rooftop, dishes out some really high-end facials by brands like Biologique Recherche. There’s also the pool—a place that needs no introduction but deserves a look, and if time allows, a long lounge.