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

Western Spas
Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa
Lichfield Park, Arizona
Best for: Singles.
The news: Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa opens in an Arizona luxury resort.
The scene: An oasis with 75 acres of palm trees, fountains, flower gardens, and citrus groves.
The spa: It’s a 26,000-square-foot adobe building that melds slate with palm wood, natural stone with stainless steel. There are three outdoor treatment areas and a separate fitness facility that offers classes in yoga, Pilates, and cardio.
Treatments: Standard-issue massages, but a great variety of facials and other beauty offerings. Signature treatment: Wigwam Warm Water Ritual ($260), which includes clay and cornmeal exfoliation, a juniper-and-sage bath, a desert sage massage, and a footbath. Half- and full-day spa packages are available.
Lodging: There are 331 rooms and suites in adobe casitas. Earth tones and leather create a mood that is Southwestern and sleek.
Cuisine: The Arizona Kitchen specializes in Southwestern food (chili-rubbed-duck).
Activities: Three 18-hole golf courses and nine tennis courts, plus hiking and bike trails. The Grand Canyon is only a day trip away.
Try: Love the One You’re With, a private, two-hour session in massage technique ($260).
Tab: Rooms start at $199; 800-327-0396.

Western Spas, continued
The Resort at Paws Up
Greenough, Montana
Best for: A girlfriends’ getaway.
The news: The sprawling two-year-old cowboy-chic resort recently added six treatment tents.
The scene: This 37,000-acre spread (30 minutes from Missoula) has 120 miles of trails near the Blackfoot River.
The spa: Eleven tents connected by a boardwalk provide an open-air spa experience from May to October. There is a small fitness facility with yoga classes on Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Treatments: A typical menu of massages, body wraps, scrubs, polishes, and hand and foot treatments.
Lodging: Up to 80 guests choose from cabins, houses, and luxury camping tents, all decorated in Western style, with outdoor hot tubs and fireplaces. Tent City is camping redefined, with housekeepers, electricity, and bathrooms.
Cuisine: The restaurant Pomp serves "Western eclectic" food like Montana-raised game birds, elk, buffalo, and rattlesnake.
Activities: Name an outdoor activity, Paws Up has it, from white-water rafting to dogsledding, either on-site or at the nearby 1.5-million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Reserve.
Try: A four-hour horseback ride to the Encampment at Bull Creek, a luxury camp with showers and feather beds ($600 a person per night, including meals and wilderness guides).
Tab: Lodging from $585 a night, including three meals a day for two; 800-473-0601.

California Spas
The Spa at Rancho Valencia
Santa Fe, California
Best for: Couples.
The news: A new indoor-outdoor spa ups the ante at this classic hideaway.
The scene: Forty acres of gardens and tiled adobe buildings.
The spa: Ten treatment rooms and patios; couples’ rooms with fireplaces and tubs for two; a fitness center for classes in yoga, Pilates, and Spinning.
Treatments: More than 60; many use local ingredients, such as avocado.
Lodging: Forty-nine suites with a luxe-rustic atmosphere.
Cuisine: California-French (golden crab cakes with oyster mushrooms).
Activities: A highly rated tennis program and three nearby golf courses.
Try: Hiking at Torrey Pines Beach. A 500-foot climb rewards hikers with views of remote beaches.
Tab: Rooms start at $470 a night; 800-548-3664.

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