11 Great Spa Vacations

The best spas for a relaxing vacation in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

The ancient Indian ritual shirodhara is offered at Emerson
Photograph: Photo courtesy of Emerson Resort & Spa

Northeastern Spas, continued
The Lodge at Woodloch
Hawley, Pennsylvania
Best for: A girlfriends’ getaway.
The news: Designers Ginny and John Lopis spent 16 years creating luxe spas around the country before finally launching their own.
The scene: Woodsy and serene, it sits on 75 acres in the Poconos.
The spa: The 40,000-square-foot space has 27 treatment rooms, a hydromassage, and a whirlpool.
Treatments: An array of facials (white tea, lemongrass, and rosemary) begin a long list.
Lodging: Fifty-eight rooms and suites overlooking a lake or rock-garden waterfall.
Cuisine: The menu at Tree emphasizes organic produce.
Activities: Rowing, kayaking, and fishing offered on-site; golfing available through The Country Club at Woodloch Springs; hiking and river rafting nearby.
Try: The cooking demonstration.
Tab: Rooms begin at $350 a person per night, double occupancy, including three meals; 866-953-8500.

Southern Spas
Umstead Hotel and Spa
Cary, North Carolina
Best for: A girlfriends’ getaway.
The news: A recently opened luxury hotel in central North Carolina’s high-tech Research Triangle Park.
The scene: The modern hotel, perched at the edge of a lake, is on 12-acre grounds near the William B. Umstead State Park.
The spa: An outdoor relaxation garden is a pleasant apres-treatment outpost in this 14,000-square-foot facility.
Treatments: All the standards. With the popular Umstead Customized Massage ($130), you’ll get a medley of choices — Swedish, reflexology, hot stone, and lymphatic — for 75 minutes.
Lodging: Twenty-seven suites and 150 large rooms with deep soaking tubs.
Cuisine: Herons offers Southern cooking (stone-ground grits souffle) and haute cuisine (Poulet Rouge Fermier).
Activities: Bike, hike, or boat to Umstead State Park.
Try: The "spa within a spa" — a cluster of treatment rooms that can accommodate up to eight people. Chat with friends while luxuriating in Do It Wright (yes, named for the Kitty Hawk brothers), a five-hour extravaganza that includes a sugar scrub, massage, and thermal-water facial ($400).
Tab: Rooms start at $299; 866-877-4141.

Southern Spas, continued
The Spa at Sea Island
Sea Island, Georgia
Best for: Couples.
The news: This family-owned resort got a $500 million upgrade.
The scene: A 1,000-acre island with live oaks draped in Spanish moss.
The spa: At 65,000 square feet, it has a leafy garden atrium and a water atrium with a massaging waterfall. Plus, 23 treatment rooms and five exercise studios.
Treatments: Wraps, facials, and massages.
Lodging: The Cloister has 156 rooms and suites; the Lodge has 40 rooms. Though the style is English manor house, expect lots of sunlight.
Cuisine: Seven restaurants — from the Georgian Room, with its Kobe beef, to the River Bar, a hot spot for burgers.
Activities: Play on three championship golf courses and 16 tennis courts. Kayak in nearby salt marshes.
Try: A yoga session on the beach ($150 per hour).
Tab: Rooms start at $450 a night; 800-732-4752.

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