Spend a weekend by the sea, in the valley, or among the vines, renewing your soul at one of these luxurious getaways.
Thinking of a full-body reboot for the New Year? Book a stay at one of these luxe NorCal getaways for detoxifying spa treatments, seasonal menus, and inspired fitness offerings, and enter 2017 refreshed, relaxed, and ready to go.
In the Valley
Carmel Valley Ranch
The vibe: Rolling across 500 acres, Carmel Valley Ranch is a rejuvenating adult playground. Capitalizing on its location in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains, the ranch’s Vineyard Oak Studio suites include tubs for an alfresco soak next to an indoor-outdoor fire, with views of the surrounding trees. Three outdoor saltwater pools, an infinity hot tub, and secluded forests make further unplugging easy. Just in case any R&R is incomplete without your pooch, the property welcomes four-legged friends, with plush beds and a special canine room service menu.
Say om: An escape to Carmel Valley Ranch includes unlimited fitness classes, as well as access to hiking trails and an 18-hole golf course. Greet the sun with mountaintop yoga on an outdoor platform (available May to October), or hike to the hilltop corral for trail rides on horseback. Once you’ve amped up your heart rate, unwind at Spa Aiyana, where many of the 11 treatment rooms feature outdoor terraces. Spa products are crafted from herbs and botanicals cultivated in the ranch’s four gardens and showcased in treatments such as the Herbal Vitality experience, which uses hot stones, essential oils, and an herbal scrub to target the respiratory, immune, and adrenal systems.
Inspired eats: Carmel Valley Ranch takes hyperlocal dining seriously. The seasonal menu at on-site restaurant Valley Kitchen—designed by executive chef Tim Wood—highlights an array of ingredients grown and collected on the property, including honey from an apiary, eggs from a chicken coop, seasoning from the salt house, and produce from an organic garden. To “detox to retox,” pair your farm-to-fork meal with wines made from the four-acre pinot noir vineyard.
Bonus: For a tune-up of your culinary skills, reserve a spot in a cooking class with Wood; he and his team will teach hands-on skills and share healthy recipes. If sleep is number one on your list of resolutions, consider booking time in Carmel Valley Ranch’s Hypno-Health and Sleep Wellness program. Renowned hypnotherapist Bee Epstein-Shepherd uses a gentle yet effective method to reduce stress and promote deep sleep. You’ll also learn self-hypnosis techniques and receive a recording of the session so you can snooze soundly in your own bed.
Re-create it at home: Carmel Valley Ranch makes its bath and body products from the 7,500 lavender plants on the grounds, but you can re-create the plant's relaxing properties even if you can’t book a stay. “For a relaxing night’s sleep, try the power of lavender,” says Franziska Haala, director of spa operations. “Dilute a few drops of lavender essential oil on a base of coconut oil and rub in circular motions on your forehead right before bed. Lavender calms your senses and makes for a better night of sleep.”
If chilly temps have wreaked havoc on your skin, look no further than your pantry. “We love all things honey here, and in the cold weather season, we especially love how it’s a savior for dull winter skin,” says Haala. “Honey is hydrating and soothing, and can brighten your complexion when you use it as a face mask. Full of antioxidants, it is also great for slowing signs of aging. For an at-home spa experience during winter, leave honey on the skin for five minutes, and remove it with a warm washcloth.” 1 Old Ranch Rd., Carmel, (855) 687-7262, carmelvalleyranch.com.
Among the Vines
Meadowood Napa Valley
The vibe: You may not immediately think Wine Country when planning to detoxify, but St. Helena’s splurge-worthy Meadowood will refresh body and soul. Luxe rooms include vaulted ceilings, plentiful natural light, fireplaces, and private terraces. Explore your competitive streak at the nine-hole walking golf course or the seven tennis courts, or play croquet on two championship-level lawns.
Say om: Available only to overnight guests and Meadowood club members, the new all-suite spa focuses on individualized treatments and creating a relaxing space for alone time. Its signature Essential Journey begins with soothing tea and a discussion with your therapist before a massage, facial, or body treatment. If you’re feeling sluggish after the holidays, opt for the Air We Breathe, an invigorating treatment that includes a detoxifying mud abdominal wrap, hydrating massage, and a rosemary-and-mint foot and leg scrub. Keep the vibe going posttreatment in the steam room, sauna, and mineral soaking pools. For those who would rather get their blood pumping, take some of the complimentary fitness classes, and hit the four-mile Meadowood Loop that has 600 feet of elevation gain and panoramas of the Napa Valley.
Inspired eats: Refresh your palate with a meal from the spa’s culinary menu, which you can savor in your treatment suite or in one of the spa’s relaxation gardens. Dishes on the menu—organized into vine, earth, air, and field—may include mushroom polenta served with persimmons and fennel, or lemon-thyme chicken with rapini and wild rice, depending on the season. And while dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood may not adhere to a traditional diet plan, chef Christopher Kostow works with Napa Valley artisans, farmers, and foragers to find in-season, local ingredients harvested at their peak for optimal nutrition.
Bonus: Through the end of February, Meadowood is partnering with Round Pond Estate winery to celebrate the olive harvest. In addition to a two-night stay in a Meadowood suite, guests will enjoy an olive oil tasting and harvest experience at the winery, two specialized treatments using an olive oil scrub at the spa, and a tailored outdoor fitness class with Meadowood’s health coach. If you’re craving even more activity, the one-night Function Fitness package includes a 30-minute total body workout, a personalized exercise plan to take home, in-room breakfast, and a refreshing garden juice blend to sip after you sweat.
Re-create it at home: Fresh-pressed juices and elixirs play a vital role in Meadowood’s posttreatment spa experiences and fitness offerings. To supercharge your digestive system, try this recipe for a 24-ounce elixir from Meadowood chef Victoria Acosta: Combine 10 ounces orange juice, 6 ounces ginger juice, 6 ounces honey water (one part honey dissolved in one part warm water), 2 ounces cider vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Shake vigorously, and sip.
For a refreshing DIY at-home scrub from Michael Conte, Meadowood Napa Valley’s director of spa and wellness, see below. 900 Meadowood Ln., St. Helena, (877) 963-3646, meadowood.com.
DIY at-home scrub from Michael Conte
Now that you’ve given your insides a boost, continue the refresh with a DIY at-home scrub from Michael Conte, Meadowood Napa Valley’s director of spa and wellness. Scrubs are invigorating and stimulating to the body, so Conte recommends using an essential oil that is uplifting or awakening, such as sweet orange, lemon, grapefruit, peppermint, or eucalyptus.
In a small cup or bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of kosher or sea salt and 1 tablespoon of oil (sunflower oil or apricot oil are the best to find in a local grocery store. Olive oil is also wonderful but does affect scent with aromatherapy oils). You will want just enough oil to coat all of the salt. Add 10 drops of essential oil and blend. You may want to let the mixture sit for a few hours and allow the scent to penetrate into the scrub.
When you apply the scrub in the shower, rinse your body and turn the shower off. Apply a small amount of scrub to each body part working into the skin in circular motions towards the heart. Pay extra attention to elbows and knees. Conte recommends not applying scrub to your feet in the shower as it is slippery and can be dangerous. Save a small amount to use on your heels after the shower and remove with a wet warm cloth.
By the Sea
Ventana Big Sur
The vibe: At Ventana Big Sur, sea, sky, mountains, and forest converge, making it a perfect location to reset in natural surroundings. While you can reserve a spot at one of Ventana’s tent-only campgrounds, most visitors stay on the resort’s sprawling main property, where rooms include private terraces with views of the ocean or the woods. Real log fires, abundant forest (and woodland creatures), and ocean views make adults-only Ventana feel like a rustic retreat, but upscale perks such as rooms with private porch hot tubs ensure you’ll never feel like you’re roughing it.
Say om: Drawing from Big Sur’s reputation as a healing vortex, Ventana’s spa focuses on energy work, whether balancing the body through massage or tuning in to the spirit through essence portraits and astrology readings. Try the Essence of Big Sur Herbal Massage, which uses wild herbs to capitalize on the area’s healing
properties. Or, select the Energy-Balancing experience to open blocks to your body’s energy flow. Guests can also revel in the restorative effects of the Japanese soaking baths, with areas for men and women, as well as a coed space. Heated to 104 degrees year-round and available until 2 a.m., the baths provide escape at almost any time of day. If your New Year’s resolutions include being more open, take a dip in the clothing-optional outdoor swimming pool. Other (tamer) resort offerings include daily complimentary yoga classes and hour-long guided walks through the 243-acre property.
Inspired eats: Keep tuning in to the great outdoors at The Restaurant at Ventana, with a meal on the patio overlooking 50 miles of coastline or inside, where the cozy lodge-style setting provides an outdoorsy atmosphere. This earthy vibe translates to the menu, where the focus is on seasonal American cuisine and local wines. Chef Paul Corsentino selects ingredients from local farmers, fishermen, and purveyors for his four-course dinner tasting menu. Expect dishes that blend healing ingredients with nutrient-dense proteins, such as Ōra King salmon served on sunchoke and red cabbage puree dotted with trout roe, or charred avocado paired with a fresh bean cassoulet, red miso, and Asian-inspired vegetables.
Bonus: To truly immerse yourself in nature, try the adventurous two-night Big Sur Wilderness Package, and explore the backcountry and coastline with local naturalist Stephen Copeland. Copeland leads a private hike or drive through the wilderness, pointing out little-known waterfalls, ancient redwoods, and the rare gray whale along the way, stopping for a picnic lunch amidst the flora and fauna.
Re-create it at home: If your body’s flow of energy feels sluggish, try this reflexology trick: Use a calendula- based cream to massage your feet, concentrating on the soles. Firm circular motions relax not just your feet but your entire body, as it is mapped across your feet.
To re-create Ventana’s serene soaking experience, mix two cups of Epsom salts and five drops of eucalyptus essential oil, and toss it into the bath for a 20-minute soak. The warmth of the water and the Epsom salts will relax your muscles, while the eucalyptus oil will take you back to Big Sur. 48123 Hwy. 1, Big Sur, (844) 277-4279, ventanainn.com.