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50 Top Wellness Destinations: North America Text by Husna Haq Photo by Joanna Pinneo
A woman practices Kyudo archery at the Shambhala Mountain Center.
Chena Hot Springs Resort (Alaska) The Spa: Built in the early 1900s for gold miners in Alaska's pioneer days, this 440-acre (178-hectare) resort still relieves achy joints with soaks in the tingling 105°F (40.5˚C) mineral-rich hot springs. Treatments: Try the waters in a rock-lined lake, soaking pool, or whirlpool, and chase away remaining aches with a massage. Local Sights: Rove the rustic moose-dotted property on dogsled, or explore the town's gold-and-Indian days in Fairbanks museums.
56.5 Chena Hot Springs Road Fairbanks, AK 99712 Tel. +1 907 451 8104; 800 478 4681
Aji Spa (Arizona) The Spa: Discover Native American healing traditions at this unique Sonoran Desert spa designed to celebrate Pima and Maricopa tribal culture. Treatments: A selection of massages, facials, body wraps, and scrubs use traditional ingredients like red Gila River clay and Cholla cactus. Enjoy them in the spa's pools and roundhouse. Local Sights: Take a tour of the sun-baked Sonoran Desert, then sample indigenous culture at the Gila River Indian Reservation.
5594 West Wild Horse Pass Boulevard Chandler, AZ 85226 Tel.+1 602 225 0100
Green Gulch Farm Zen Center (California) The Spa: A traditional octagonal Japanese guesthouse, organic farm, teahouse, and sauna greet guests at this 110-acre (44.5-hectare) Zen Buddhist retreat center perched between California's Coast Ranges and the Pacific. Treatments: Find tranquillity in predawn meditation classes, silent mindfulness meals, and workshops in Zen Buddhism, organic gardening, and bread baking. Local Sights: Spend an extra day wandering artists' studios in seaside Sausalito. San Francisco is a 16-mile (26-kilometer) drive south.
1601 Shoreline Highway Muir Beach, CA 94965 Tel. +1 415 383 3134
Carmichael Inn & Spa (Canada) The Spa: An island of calm in downtown Ottawa, this 11-room bed-and-breakfast soothes with cozy rooms and a sense of community. Treatments: Apple-almond body scrub, sour-cherry body mask, and pumpkin-orange rejuvenating mask are good enough to eat. Craving inner harmony? Try reflexology, reiki, or hot-stone massage. Local Sights: Downtown Ottawa's restaurants, museums, and shopping are a few minutes' walk away.
Hollyhock (Canada) The Spa: A "refuge for the soul," this retreat on British Columbia's Cortes Island is designed to nurture mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Treatments: Choose from dozens of workshops and classes, including Vijnana and karma yoga, lucid dreaming, meditation, massage, acupressure, and reflexology. Local Sights: Take in B.C. nature and First Nations culture with a schooner tour of Desolation Sound and Mitlenatch Island, a seabird rookery.
Cortes Island, B.C., Canada Tel.800 933 6339
Shambhala Mountain Center (Colorado) The Spa: Sprawled across a 600-acre (243-hectare) valley high in the Rocky Mountains, this Buddhist meditation retreat offers treatments as transcendent as the views. Treatments: Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and tai chi are de rigueur. Guest instructors and special classes—Tibetan cranial training, Chinese qigong, psychotherapy—are occasional treats. Local Sights: Wander the photogenic shrine-studded campus, or play hooky for a day of horseback riding, fly-fishing, or river rafting.
4921 County Road 68C Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545 Tel.888 788 7221
Hacienda Chichen, Yaxkin Spa (Mexico) The Spa: Holistic Yaxkin Spa offers traditional Mayan treatments inspired by its Yucatán jungle surroundings. Treatments: Try sasil-tun, hot-stone therapy; kakaw, cacao-coconut massage; or zumpul-che, a purifying sweat bath once performed by the Aztecs. Treatments utilize local herbs, honey, and cacao. Local Sights: Explore the sixth-century ruins of Chichen Itza and the grounds' lush tropical forest (home to over 150 bird species) between treatments.
Hotel Zahra, Maya Spa (Mexico) The Spa: Located on Mexico's Caribbean coast in the ancient walled city of Tulum, this traditional Maya spa offers holistic treatments with spectacular beachfront views. Treatments: Local shamans work their magic with clay massage, temazcal sweat lodge ceremonies, coconut-infused Maya baths, body wraps, and crystal therapy, a traditional Maya energy booster. Local Sights: Explore the Caribbean coast by kayak or snorkel in nearby caverns and among reefs.
Tulum, Mexico Tel.888 898 9922
Rancho La Puerta (Mexico) The Spa: Casitas, haciendas, and villas, each individually decorated with Mexican folk art, scatter the grounds of this 3,000-acre (1,214-hectare) wellness retreat in the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa. Treatments: Try wraps, scrubs, hydrotherapy, and massage (Thai, deep tissue, hot stone, or sport). Spring Rain Shower (dry brush scrub, seaweed body mask, rinse) is bliss. Local Sights: Post-treatment, make for San Diego, just an hour's drive away.
Mount Kuchumaa, Mexico Tel.800 443 7565
Omega Institute (New York) The Spa: Dubbed the Northeast's "spiritual summer camp for adults," this holistic retreat set on a 195-acre (79-hectare) campus in scenic Hudson Valley is a world away from nearby New York City. Treatments: A treasure trove of classes (meditation, stress reduction, body awareness), treatments (massage, facial) and speakers (Deepak Chopra, Maya Angelou) demand return visits. Local Sights: Find charming bed-and-breakfasts and funky boutiques in storybook Rhinebeck.
150 Lake Drive Rhinebeck, NY 12572 Tel.800 944 1001; +1 845 266 4444
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