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Sweatpants & Sanity | Fantasy Break: Destination Spas Around the World

By Emily Parker

Brr! This frigid weather and hard work shoveling snow and ice has me dreaming of flying south for the winter for a relaxing trip to a spa! What could be better than stretching, reflecting, and finding your center again as the most wonderful start to the new year? This week on Fantasy Break, we’ll explore five of the world’s best destination spas. Enjoy, and vote for your favorite in our poll!

The Golden Door, San Marcos, California

You may plan your own program, but the full experience at the Golden Door is an all-inclusive, 5 or 7-day package. Throughout, you’ll be nurtured, guided, fed fresh meals from the garden, and even massaged daily by a personal masseuse. Day One is for relaxing, but Day Two begins with a hike in the mountains, followed by breakfast in your room, and your chosen schedule of fitness classes, spa treatments and mindfulness sessions. They’ll stock your closet with the fresh and clean workout wear you’ll need every day of your stay. Day Three is a session with your personal trainer, a facial, body treatment, and meditation. Day Four, you’ll spend with a nutritionist, and given a lesson in clean eating. Day Five includes Tai Chi on top of a mountain, a labyrinth walk, and enjoying the company of the other guests. Day Six is more fitness and meditation, followed by an inspirational guest speaker. Your last day includes a scalp treatment or deep conditioning, shampoo, and blow dry, a celebratory dinner with wine and a final walk. You’ll be supplied with everything you need, from transportation to clothing to skin care products, to meals and snacks. All accommodations are private and overlook the Japanese gardens. 7 Days all-inclusive is $8850, but there are many programs to choose from. Learn more here.

Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico

“Sipping tea on the garden patio of your villa, you notice a bejeweled beam of warm morning sunlight filtered through a jar of local honey….” Come to the ranch! This spa encourages integrative wellness via fitness, organic farm-to-table cuisine, and fun and relaxation. You’ll plan each day to be what you’d like for yourself personally. Want to walk through a meadow? Lie in a hammock for a while? Go on a strenuous hike? Take a cooking class? They’ve got you covered with dozens of activities and classes spanning fitness of all kinds, art, nature, meditation, cooking, workshops, and more. A sample schedule for any given Sunday might include a swim, meditation, yoga, a meeting with your fitness concierge, a hike, an informative lecture, Pilates, Tai Chi, a game of Mah Jongg, dinner, and a movie. It’s all up to you! A week at Rancho La Puerta will set you back $4,050 – 6,500 per single (a little less if you come as a couple or with a friend), depending on your chosen accommodations. Learn more here.

Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe, New Mexico

This Japanese-style spa and resort is inspired by mountain hot springs resorts. Enjoy serenity and relaxation, world-class body work and skin care, and amazing food, all from your spa suite and hot tub. Rated as one of the top day spas in the world, you don’t stay at this one, you book an entire day of pampering and luxury with the package of your choice. Their “Waves of Bliss” package lasts for nearly five hours, and includes a private tub, yasuragi head and neck treatment, 80 minute shiatsu massage, 50 minute organic facial, stem cell treatment, and salt glow. Pick a package or create one of your own from the menu, choosing from hot tub time, massages of all kinds, spa treatments, and facials. Packages start at around $208. Learn more here.

Lake Austin, Austin, Texas

Lake Austin Spa & Resort is consistently ranked as one of America’s top 10 destination spas. You can be as active or as relaxed as you like, for nearly any occasion or group of people you can think of, but their “Ultimate Package” includes 3-4 nights in lakefront accommodations, gourmet meals and snacks, and access to everything the resort has to offer, from fitness to special speakers, lake activities, and educational programs. With your booking, you’ll be given a $400 allowance towards any spa treatments you like, per person. Dogs are welcome with a fee. Packages start at around $740 per person. Learn more here.

Miraval, Tucson, Arizona

Stay in a room, suite, or villa as you restore your balance at Miraval. All packages include luxury accommodations, more than 120 complimentary wellness activities, lectures, and fitness classes, complimentary transportation, gourmet meals in whatever quantity you like, unlimited fresh juice and smoothies, tea, coffee, healthy beverages, and healthy snacks, hors d’oeuvres every evening, and generous allowances to use towards spa services, private consultations, and even horseback riding, ziplining in the desert, or culinary experiences. Miraval’s “New Year, New You” package contains, in addition to the above, a focus on yoga and meditation. Packages start at around $799 per night. Learn more here.

Emily Parker is a musician, writer, and avid reader who started Bucket List Book Reviews, the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ project. For Sweatpants & Coffee, Emily hopes to inspire the reading of the classics by a whole new audience by only reviewing the really good stuff.

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