Vacation season is upon us, and nothing says “vacation” like a trip to a spa. New York magazine (which is published by Rep.'s parent company, Primedia) has compiled a list of top locations for those in need of a getaway involving some serious pampering.
The resorts range in price from $225 to $8,000 per night. Some are geared for family enjoyment, others for real romance. All, however, share one thing in common: the ability to turn the trials of the workday into a distant memory.
Bora Bora Nui (Tahiti)
Motu Tapu, Nunue, Bora Bora, French Polynesia (011-689-603-2020)
A step beyond Hawaii in exoticism and isolation, Tahiti is known for its huts standing on stilts above the ocean. Those at Bora Bora Nui come with four-poster beds draped in mosquito netting and with glass-paneled bathtubs for watching the fish dart beneath you as you soak. Some suites have Jacuzzis, flat-screen TVs and Internet access (please try to resist checking your email).
Clientele: Mainly French and Asian couples, and some families.
The Spa: Sunset massage (solo or couples) takes on a whole new meaning at Bora Bora Nui, with its spectacular view of five islands. Starbucks addicts will appreciate the scrubs done with coffee grounds. Also, don't miss the “Balinese Blessing,” featuring an aromatherapy footbath in blue lagoon water.
Fitness: There's yoga, a small but well-appointed gym, a 100-foot pool and hiking in the mountains with a local machete-wielding guide.
Rates: $500 to $1,885 per night.
Boca Raton Resort & Club
501 East Camino Real, Boca Raton, Fla. (561-447-3000)
Yeah, we know — this is where the Securities Industry Association holds its annual conference. Each fall, all the industry's muckety-mucks descend on this pink Moorish palace built in the 1920s for golf, tennis and — oh, yes — industry conferences. You don't have to be a wirehouse executive on the company dime, however, to visit. If you're a spa aficionado traveling with a golf-obsessed mate, a tennis-loving teen and/or younger children who prefer to play in the waves, you're sure to please everyone at this sprawling spa — featuring 30 tennis courts, a golf course, pools and a gym.
Clientele: Families; the spa, however, is “adults only.”
The Spa: Designed with “Arabian Nights” whimsy, the great hall, courtyard and terme (i.e., wet room) with nine stone baths that look like they've been there for centuries. The terme is used for the spa's ritual bath, where you steep in salts while being fed grapefruit sorbet. During the spa's spirulina wrap, you're covered in seaweed paste, then wrapped in a hot cloth — before a lavender rubdown. The Moor mud wrap involves being smothered from head to toe in an earthy paste containing calming natural lithium.
Fitness: Classes range from step aerobics to kickboxing.
Dining: Eleven restaurants, including Drew Nieporent's Lucca and Nick's Fishmarket, with healthy options like grilled swordfish and steamed lobster.
Rates: $225 to $8,000 per night.
Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires
165 Kemble Street, Lenox, Mass. (413-637-4100)
The sweet smell of fresh air is reason enough to head to the Berkshires for a weekend of outdoor sports. Even in snowy weather, fitness fans will be awed by the range of activity available at this converted mansion.
Fitness: In addition to hourly classes in everything from t'ai chi to trampoline to ballet to the newly popular Gyrotonics, there's an indoor pool and running track. Hikes offer vistas beautiful enough to make a studio-apartment-owner weep. Those who prefer trekking after the first thaw can still try snow-shoeing, pole hiking and cross-country skiing on the property, or downhill skiing a few miles away.
The Spa: Services here go well beyond beauty. There's hypnotherapy to quit smoking, a breast-cancer-prevention program and one-on-one consultations with behavioral and medical specialists. For indulgence, try the Shirodhara ayurvedic pedicure, which includes exfoliation and a massage with fragrant oils.
Dining: People come to Canyon Ranch with serious health goals, so there are no alcoholic temptations (pack a flask!). But the cuisine is not exactly spartan — check out the gingerbread pancakes with blueberry sauce, or the hazelnut-crusted tenderloin of beef.
Rates: $1,460 per person for a three-night minimum stay, including meals and classes.
1311 Fraser Avenue, Lanai City, Hawaii (reservation number for both Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele: 800-321-4666)
Ah, Hawaii, where stunning natural beauty meets supersize theme-park resorts (and Tom Selleck!). Fortunately, Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele, the main hotels on the island of Lanai, are about as far from Honolulu sprawl (and urban-style stress) as you can get. Though only 15 miles apart, both have distinctive climates: Manele Bay is generally sunny, with lush gardens and isolated beaches, while the spa-less Lodge, in the mountains, is misty and cool with an English-country-estate motif incluing fireplaces, skeet shooting and a dining room that serves venison. Each hotel has a championship golf course, but the one at the Lodge, awash in waterfalls, is particularly spectacular. Bill Gates liked Manele so much he was married there.
Clientele: Golf enthusiasts and couples seeking solitude.
The Spa: It's all about the native touch. Local therapies include Hawaiian lomi lomi massage, where the therapist's forearm is used to release tension, and the He Makaki'i Kaiehu facial, finished off with a hydrating “aromaplasm” mask containing wheat germ and almond powder. One “must-have” is the “royal foot treatment,” with hot eucalyptus towels, massage and a generous spritzing of essential-oil spray. There's also a massage specially tailored to golfers and, of course, the option of having treatments next to the cascading waterfalls or the Pacific Ocean.
Fitness: Golf, tennis, swimming, yoga, biking, hiking and riding.
Rates: $375 to $3,000 per night.
Bacara Resort & Spa
8301 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, Calif. (805-968-0100)
One of the few oceanfront spas in the country, this two-year-old resort sits on 78 acres along the Santa Barbara coast and has a breathtaking view of the Pacific. The resort looks like a Mediterranean village, complete with gardens that keep its restaurants stocked with organic produce. You can even hike through the 1,000-acre avocado and lemon grove.
Clientele: Hollywood-types love the 211-seat screening room and directors' lounge, while parents are wowed by the private kids' club, with its endless array of children's activities — it has even hosted exotic animals including leopards and lions.
The Spa: There are 36 treatment rooms in the four-level spa, where the signature therapy is (not surprisingly) a citrus-avocado body polish. It's also worth checking out the relaxing and detoxifying marine-mud wrap, the lymphatic drainage — great to get right upon arrival, because it helps with jet lag — and the cellular facial, during which “bio-integral live cells” are used to diminish fine lines. Head up to the sun deck in your robe for a spa lunch and an ocean view.
Fitness: Mountain biking, horseback riding and guided hiking, from beginner to “condor level.”
Dining: A classical guitarist sets the mood at the Miro restaurant.
Rates: $395 to $5,000 per night.
Writer's BIO: Beth Landman Keil is a writer based in New York City. As a contributing editor for New York magazine (also owned by Registered Rep.'s parent, Primedia), she covers beauty and lifestyle.