• Sunday, December 17, 2017

Best Health Spas

Galavante Confidential – New Year, New You
December 31, 2013
By , Executive Editor

Oh, the holidays – they’ve done it again. Only last week they were promising epic galas and annual bonuses. Now they’re gone, taking with them any semblance of muscle tone and one Google Glass, smashed to bits by Uncle Hank in a whiskey-induced tirade against “the man.” (We could not make that up.)

There are people who practice self-restraint during the holiday season. People like Miranda Kerr and Lara Stone. For better or worse, the majority of us are not under contractual obligation to control our waistlines year-round. We will gladly accept that extra serving of turkey and savor that second slice of pie. We’ll take one last sip of Veuve… and then another. And when December comes to a close, we’ll wonder what the hell we just did to ourselves.

But new year, new you, right? So we’re bringing out the big guns with a guide to our favorite health spas in the U.S., to read with your puffy and now possibly gear-free eyes. Whether you’re after an extreme physical detox or just a vacation from your vacation, you don’t have to go far to feel much, much better. Just a short flight, a couple of matcha shots, and a few days of downward dog, and the poor decisions of last month will be a sweet but distant memory.

The Extreme
So – back to Lara and Miranda. We applaud your ambition. If you’re ready for a real overhaul, We Care in Palm Springs is your spot. This holistic detox, wellness, and spiritual center is an A-list favorite and the slim-down destination of countless stars pre-award season. In short, it delivers. Its proximity to L.A. gives you only an hour and a half to talk yourself out of talking yourself out of it. Pick your package – 3, 6, or 8 days (the longer you can stay, the better), and get ready to shed some physical and mental baggage. From the second you walk in, you’re in detox, but rest assured that the program does everything it can to make you as comfortable as subsisting on 800 calories per day can possibly be. It ain’t easy, but it’s effective, and the results are long-lasting. For example, you prepare your own juices each day so that you leave with the knowledge on how to make them at home. As cleansing tends to dredge up unexpected and potentially unwanted emotions, there are therapists on hand, from hypnotherapists to Reiki masters. Your days will be fairly packed with holistic classes and treatments, including yoga, meditation, hikes, spa treatments… and colonics. Hey, it can’t all be pretty. No one said supermodeling was easy.

The Phenomenal
We’ve expressed our love for the Aman family time and time again, but Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah, is off the charts. Its breathtaking surroundings are so epic, it would be a challenge not to gain some serious perspective. A detox stay here offers a nice juxtaposition of physical exertion and mental peace. Say the holidays left you feeling a little – er – cooped up. Amangiri will nip any semblance of claustrophobia in the bud – literally. It’s spread across 600 desert acres for you to explore at will, by horse, bike, or foot. Hike through the slot canyon’s majestic sandstone formations or get your learn on with a guided tour from an archeologist or geologist. Upon return, relax with a little floatation therapy before a healthy lunch served poolside. If you’re craving something bigger, grander, and more extreme, book a private aerial excursion, by balloon or flight. If that’s still not enough for you, the Grand Canyon is basically right next door. There now. Big breath… and exhale. Take all the space you need.

The Tried and True
When you think luxury health spa, you probably think Canyon Ranch. It’s established itself as the best known of the bunch for die-hard detoxifying and weight loss in the lap of luxury. And the best part is, instead of heading to the desert to experience it, you can just jet down to Miami Beach. Canyon Ranch Miami Beach is geared towards wellness on every level – from the serene decor to the healthy but delicious meals to a ceramic room that targets release points on your body to lull you into complete relaxation. Also, no judgement here. It’s choose your own adventure, and yes, your adventure can “accidentally” include a night of clubbing. Heck, why not take advantage of that? How many times have you wished for an on-hand detox program the morning after a wild party? For us, a perfect day means two morning classes (preferably Beach Boot Camp and a stress consultation) followed by a gorgeous lunch, and then an afternoon class (Buff Ballet Booty does the trick). Then, head into Miami for a Heat game, a lavish dinner in South Beach, and, if you’re feeling frisky, the clubs. After that, return to camp and sleep soundly knowing that tomorrow, you’re in the good hands. Literally.

The Hippie Dippy
Nestled in the oceanside cliffs of breathtaking Big Sur is Esalen Institute, a spiritual retreat that’s been around since 1962. And given the heady, steady California-spirituality equation, we’re pretty sure Esalen has seen some crazy s#*%. But don’t let this dissuade you. Just heed this disclaimer: Esalen is not Post Ranch Inn. It is not the pinnacle of luxury. It is a place you come to check self-consciousness (and cell service) at the door and feed your mind, heart, and soul. And blame our hippie upbringing, but we think that’s good for you every once in a while. Workshops cover everything from the spiritual and physical (yoga, meditation, and massage) to the creative (drumming, dance, and improv). Personal retreats are an option, too, if you just want some time to reflect. And sure, you may get caught in a conversation about Peruvian shamans. A white guy with dreads might offer you a complimentary massage. (Well, how else is he going to practice?) But at the end of the day, when you climb into Esalen’s natural cliffside hot springs over the crashing Pacific waves; as the stars shine through the night sky and the lessons of the day settle in; as the intense monotony of desk life gently washes away… well, you may find yourself thinking that those hippies were onto something.

Wine Down
So you made it through the holidays relatively unscathed. Good for you – we speak for 95 percent of the population when we say we’re jealous. Regardless, a little vacation would feel good, and why not start the new year on a healthy-ish foot? For the ultimate wine-infused health spa experience, Solage Calistoga is your game. Let’s begin with Spa Solage, which taps into to the area’s mineral-filled healing waters. Book a Mudslide, in which you paint yourself (and others if you’re in a generous mood) with a mix of mud and essential oils created specifically for your needs, and then soak in the spa’s natural geothermal waters to clear the skin, calm the mind, and erase the effects of two bottles of a Napa Valley Pinot Noir. Since we all know one is never enough, book a Starlight at the Bathhouse, which includes a soak under the stars. Think of it as an appetizer – when you’re done, you can head to the Michelin-starred Solbar for an endive salad and a Niman Ranch pork shoulder. And go ahead, have a second glass of wine. After all, it’s about balance.