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5 Soothing American Spas

Get Active or Chill Out Amid All-American Vistas

Tenaya Resort

Sometimes, it takes more than a deep-tissue massage to relax. Sometimes, you need to completely clear your head and soothe your soul…away from home. A stay at a spa with a great natural setting, as well as invigorating activities and rejuvenating treatments, can reset and renew you. Here are five of our favorites across the country that will have you breathing (clean air) deeply, releasing your kinks, and relaxing completely in no time.

  1. New Life Hiking Spa, Killington, VT
    This very reasonably priced Green Mountain escape has morning stretching and meditation sessions; afternoon yoga and Pilates classes; and evening lectures, seminars, and cooking courses. Most people, however, come for the daily Appalachian Trail hikes, offered for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced trekkers. As the spa also has special weight-loss programs, meals are as low on calories as they are high on flavor. Therapies are very reasonably priced ($75 to $90) and tend toward the simple and straightforward: hot-stone, Swedish, and reflexology massages and gentle herbal exfoliations.

    • Accommodations: In keeping with the setting, guest rooms have New England country–style décor, with floral-print quilts, drapes, and upholstery and rich wooden furniture.
    • Good to Know: This is an all-inclusive destination spa, whose daily rates include three meals, all activities, and one free spa treatment for every three nights you stay. It’s open only from mid-May to late September.
    • Rates: $239–$259 per night single occupancy; $219–$239 per person per night double occupancy.
  2. The Westglow, Blowing Rock, NC
    Relaxation here starts with deep breaths of clean Blue Ridge Mountain air. Pampering starts with a staff-to-guest ratio of 3-to-1 and a setting in an impeccably restored Georgian-style estate—the former home of one of America’s premier early-20th-century landscape painters. It follows that the views are spectacular. Immerse yourself in the surroundings on half- and full-day hiking and biking trips or have a staffer arrange for you to go fly-fishing, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, or whitewater rafting. Fitness-class offerings are just as comprehensive. Of course, you could simply sink blissfully into a Blue Ridge Body Wrap ($75–$120), Mountain Body Salt Glow ($75–$120), or a two-hour Grandfather Stone Therapy massage ($155–$245).

    • Accommodations: The six Mansion Rooms feature crisp white linens and dark-wood Colonial-style furniture and accessories. The three, spacious Cedar Lodge Rooms are more contemporary and have whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and decks. All rooms feature mountain views.
    • Good to Know: All-inclusive bookings are pricey and don’t include any spa treatments (though they’re discounted slightly). Save money by booking bed-and-breakfast only and going a la cart with treatments or visiting as a day-spa guest. Also, look into the Adventures, Luxury Camping, and other packages. Regardless, book well in advance.
    • Rates: All-inclusive per-person per-night $525–$725 single occupancy, $400–$525 double occupancy; nightly B&B only $275–$525.
  3. Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe, NM
    Although the backdrop is Southwestern desert, the traditions of Japan feature greatly in the aesthetic, facilities, and treatments here. Start by relaxing in one of several hot baths (followed by a cold plunge) that recreate the experience of Japanese onsen (hot springs). Finish with a Yasuragi (Comfort) Head and Neck treatment ($59), a shiatsu-style Ashi Amna Foot Massage ($59), or a complete Nose to Toes Package ($159). You’re not far from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and all their hiking opportunities, and you’re right in Santa Fe, with its myriad fine restaurants and art galleries.

    • Accommodations: Each of the 12 unique rooms recalls Japanese ryokan lodgings, with appointments like tatami mats, dedicated art spaces, and elegant wooden cabinetry. Some have fireplaces and/or kitchens, and some open onto meditation gardens or look out onto fields of wildflowers.
    • Good to Know: The bath-and-spa packages are very balanced and reasonably priced, though you can also just visit the baths or get a treatment as a day guest.
    • Rates: A steal at $199–$269 per night given that they include a light breakfast and access to the baths.
  4. Red Mountain Resort, St. George, UT
    With the red rocks of Snow Canyon State Park in its backyard and the formations of Zion National Park just an hour away, slick-rock hiking is a part of each day’s experience at this spa—unless you prefer biking, horseback riding, or canyoneering. You can also stimulate your creative self with photography or pottery workshops. The spa’s weight-loss program is repeatedly recognized as one of the best of its kind in the nation, and the food is healthy and seasonal. The Hiker’s and Canyon Warm Stone massages ($160) reinvigorate tired muscles; the Desert Dreams ($105–$180) and Desert Rain ($110) massages leave you in a trance. And there are many other body and facial treatments in between.

    • Accommodations: Rooms, done in soothing earth tones and with one king or two queen beds, are standard in terms of size and amenities; it helps to book one with a mountain view. For more space and a fireplace, book a Villa Room.
    • Good to Know: Day-spa treatments and packages are options. Although you can book just a room, the all-inclusive rates—some of which include a spa treatment—are truly good value for money. Also, this is one all-inclusive that doesn’t penalize solo travelers with high single-occupancy supplements. On check in, clarify whether you prefer to tip as you go or be charged the nightly gratuity fee. And scrutinize your bill in this regard on check out.
    • Rates: $240 per night lodging only; $305–$330 per person a night all-inclusive.
  5. Tenaya Lodge, Yosemite National Park, CA
    It’s a grand lodge with a spa set inside one of this country’s most beloved national parks. What more could you ask for? Well, whether you ask for it or not, Tenaya has plenty more to offer. First off, it’s a family friendly place, with spa treatments for kids and preteens as well as teens, on-site childcare, a ton of kids activity programs, and a selection of restaurants that includes a pizzeria and a deli. It’s also a year-round place, with outdoor activity options and outfitters galore. Each of the Ascent Spa’s 30-minute Half Dome treatments costs a mere $50. Facials and massages run $90–$155, and 90-minute signature facial, massage, or exfoliation packages cost $175.

    • Accommodations: The whole place has a woodsy lodge feel, with high exposed-beam ceilings and stone fireplaces in public areas, and earth tone color schemes and Native American print fabrics in guest rooms. Families should look into the Cottage Suites, which can sleep four comfortably.
    • Good to Know: The spa, activity, and B&B packages and promotions aren’t very comprehensive given all that’s on offer. Plus, there’s lots of free on-site stuff to do. You might be better off booking a room and then cherry-picking from the extras.
    • Rates: Average nightly room-only rates are roughly $185–$320 low season, $245–$435 shoulder seasons, and $315–$535 high season (summer months).