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

California Spas, continued
California Health & Longevity Institute
Westlake Village, California
Best for: Singles.
The news: Luxury meets preventive medicine as Four Seasons teams up with the Health & Longevity Institute.
The scene: In the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.
The spa: A 40,000-square-foot facility with 28 treatment rooms.
Treatments: Shiatsu, herbal baths, reiki, mud treatments and aromatherapy wraps. Physicians offer holistic therapies that include acupuncture.
Lodging: The feel is classic English in 270 rooms and suites.
Cuisine: Hampton’s serves California cuisine (Dungeness lump crab); Onyx offers Asian dishes (roasted Alaskan black cod with saikyo miso).
Activities: All of greater Los Angeles.
Try: A session in the Bod Pod ($65), which measures body fat.
Tab: Rooms start at $255; Institute offerings range from $250 to $4,200; 888-575-1114

Caribbean Spas
Curtain Bluff
Antigua, West Indies
Best for: Couples.
The news: One of the Caribbean’s oldest and most highly regarded all-inclusive luxury resorts now has an oceanfront spa.
The scene: Set in 20 acres of tropical gardens on the southern tip of Antigua, bracketed by a tranquil bay and a vibrant Caribbean surf beach.
The spa: Five treatment rooms, a 10-person hot tub, and a relaxation room with a water view. A fitness center offers yoga and Pilates classes.
Treatments: A standard roster of facials, body treatments, and massages — with a few surprises thrown in (caviar and Champagne massage, anyone?).
Lodging: Seventy-two rooms and suites with mahogany beds, wicker furniture, and ceiling fans. All have ocean views and balconies. Most luxurious are the two one-bedroom suites.
Cuisine: Chef Christophe Blatz uses Caribbean produce and flavors in his French cooking (grilled ginger-marinated fillet of wahoo).
Activities: Tennis, squash, sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and deep-sea fishing top the long list.
Try: Watching the sunset from the rooftop whirlpool.
Tab: Rooms start at $595 a night for two guests, including three meals and all activities; 888-289-9898.

Caribbean Spas, continued
Fairmont Mayakoba
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Best for: A girlfriends’ getaway.
The news: It’s the big new resort on the Yucatan peninsula’s most exclusive strip of beach.
The scene: Tall thatched roofs on a beachfront studded with palm trees and laced with lagoons, 42 miles south of Cancun.
The spa: The Willow Stream Spa has 20 treatment rooms, one mineral pool, and a sundeck with a waterfall. A fitness studio offers Pilates and yoga classes.
Treatments: The Golf Performance Treatment and the Jet Lag Recovery use local ingredients.
Lodging: Rooms in a four-story hotel and two-story casitas, all with terraces or balconies.
Cuisine: Las Brisas for seafood on the beach, El Puerto for Caribbean lobster and Mexican fare, La Laguna (light, healthy eats) and Cafe Maya (sandwiches, ice cream).
Activities: An 18-hole golf course, plus the Mayan ruins at Tulum, snorkeling in the cenotes (underground caves), and horseback riding on the beach.
Try: The Under the Mayan Moon Ceremony (be sure to book at the right time of the month).
Tab: Rooms start at $219; 984-206-3000.

Notable Newcomer Spas
The Northeast
The Skana Spa at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York; 800-771-7711.
The South
A 25,000-square-foot European-style spa at the historic Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, North Carolina; 866-526-8008.
The West
Two in Las Vegas: Qua Baths & Spa, 866-227-5938; and the spa at the Red Rock Resort, 866-767-7773
An Asian-accented spa at L.A.‘s Beverly Wilshire Hotel; 800-819-5053.
The Caribbean
The Asian-style Six Senses Spa at the Puntacana Resort & Club, in the Dominican Republic; 809-959-2262.
Originally published in MORE magazine, November 2007.

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