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Healthy Retreats

Revive mond, body, and spirit at thes four fabulous resorts


If you think a great vacation must include calorie-laden food, lazy days spent lounging by the pool, and nights of debauchery, think again. A visit to a retreat that offers delicious yet healthy cuisine, an array of exercise and yoga classes, innovative spa treatments, and health consultations can be just as fabulous. Whether you choose to climb rocks in the high desert, meet with a nutritionist to design an individualized eating plan, practice yoga surrounded by Mother Nature’s finest handiwork, or have your muscle tension massaged away, a visit to a health-focused retreat will relax and revive you better than your typical Hawaiian beach getaway. And the effects will last longer than any New Year’s resolution. 

Red Mountain Spa

Where: St. George, Utah
Focus: Killer workouts in the great outdoors
In a nutshell: Fitness enthusiasts flock to Red Mountain, a resort known for natural desert beauty outdoors and charming Southwestern décor indoors. Here, hiking, biking, kayaking, and rock climbing get top billing. Southwestern Utah’s desert terrain, lava fields, and red rock formations give adventurers more than their fair share of stunning scenery—and a serious workout. Visitors who are sincere about shaping up visit the spa’s personal trainers, weight management consultants, and on-site chiropractors. But don’t worry, this isn’t just a fitness boot camp: Red Mountain combines its rigorous athletic offerings with luxuries like three delicious and healthy meals a day—beer and wine included—and a full-service spa.
What’s new: Sagestone, a spa boasting “desert Zen” décor, 61 new treatments, 16 private rooms, and packages focusing on everything from relieving tired muscles to combating the effects of aging.
Package pick: The Spa Detoxification Program is a seven-day package that includes nutritional consultation, a Chinese medicine detox treatment, special yoga and cooking classes, and daily lectures on how to bring home a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t miss: The On the Rocks Legs Massage, a treatment aimed at soothing hikers’ ankles, calves, quads, and hamstrings that includes anti-inflammatory oils and
topical analgesics for quick relief.
What it costs: Prices vary by season. Deluxe rooms range from $209 to $259 and villa suites from $389 to $479 per person, per night, double occupancy. Rates for children ages 12–17 accompanied by an adult start at $139.
(800) 407-3002, www.redmountainspa.com

Feathered Pipe Ranch

Where: Helena, Montana, and two locations in Mexico
Focus: Yoga, meditation, and personal growth
In a nutshell: Beginning and advanced yoga students flock to Feathered Pipe’s programs to learn from the best teachers in the world. From May through September, visit a 160-acre Montana mountain paradise, with no cell phone reception, bordered by a natural forest. In the winter months, Feathered Pipe’s signature programs take place in the warmth of one of two Mexican retreat centers: Haramara, in the fishing village of Sayulita, and Hotel Na Balam, on Isla Mujeres.
What’s new: This year will see workshops taught by some of yoga’s most esteemed instructors, including Seane Corn, Lilias Folan, Judith Hanson Lasater, Erich Schiffmann, and senior Iyengar teachers Patricia Walden and John Schumacher.
What makes it special: Unlike other retreats, Feathered Pipe offers only one retreat at a time and keeps each one small—fewer than 42 students—making for an intimate experience.
Perks: After a long day of intensive classes, indulge in one of dozens of treatments, such as hot rocks massage, acupressure, energy work, and chiropractic.
Don’t miss: The world-class workshop Yoga in Paradise, an intensive week of Iyengar Yoga with renowned teachers Mary Dunn and Dean Lerner, March 4–11, 2006.
What it costs: Mexico retreats, $2,050–$2,250, Montana retreats, $1,299–$1,900, per person, per week, double occupancy.
(406) 442-8196, www.featheredpipe.com

Rancho La Puerta

Where: Tecate, Baja California, Mexico
Focus: Integration of mind, body, and spirit
In a nutshell: Known for its low-key luxury, Rancho La Puerta takes pride in its legacy as a fitness pioneer: The retreat’s motto is “where the fitness revolution began in 1940.” The 3,000-acre grounds include brilliant gardens and charming Spanish colonial–style Mexican villas set against the backdrop of sacred Mount Kuchumaa, as well as oodles of facilities for the fitness-minded, including 11 gyms, three pools, five whirlpools, and volleyball and basketball courts. Choose from more than 50 daily classes in Pilates, yoga, hiking, tennis, and more. In between, eat three scrumptious meals and splurge on the retreat’s spa treatments, including hydrotherapy, massage, and facials—or just hang out in the steam room or sauna.
Package pick: Check out Specialty Weeks, which cover an eclectic mix of activities, such as yoga, bird-watching, t’ai c’hi, swimming, hiking, art, ballet, drumming, and dance.
Don’t miss: The labyrinth for quiet, contemplative walks.
What makes it different: Ingredients for the retreat’s creative vegetarian menu come from its own five-acre organic farm.
What it costs: $2,535–$3,835 per person, per week, double occupancy.
(800) 443-7565, www.rancholapuerta.com

Canyon Ranch

Where: Tucson, Arizona
Focus: Total wellness
In a nutshell: This world-class mega-retreat has something for everyone: more than 50 fitness classes a day; dozens of innovative spa treatments, from the aloe cooler to hydromassage; relaxation pursuits that include breathing and meditation sessions; and health and healing services such as nutrition and movement therapy. At this popular and plush hot spot, you can take the time to focus on your health with personalized services. Specialties include analysis of sports-related injuries and consultation about specific medical conditions. Nestled in the spectacular, sunny Sonoran Desert, Canyon Ranch evokes the feel of the old Southwest, but incorporates a state-of-the-art campus comprising an 80,000-square-foot spa complex, an aquatic center, a golf center, and a health and healing center.
Package pick: Optimal Aging Week, March 19–26. Extend your longevity with memory-enhancing workshops, movement classes, lectures, and stress-reducing activities.
Don’t miss: Watsu, a soothing massage performed in water.
What makes it different: Canyon Ranch’s impressive roster of professional health specialists includes doctors, therapists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, podiatrists, exercise physiologists, and nutritionists, who give you expert advice that lasts beyond your stay.
Perks: Canyon Ranch is known for its personalized attention. Advisors call before you arrive to find out your goals and coordinate your stay while you’re there.
What it costs: Rates for the four night/five day minimum stay start at $2,990 per person, double occupancy.
(800) 742-9000, www.canyonranch.com

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