Destination spa getaways are not a new idea, but they are a rapidly growing trend. There are many great options available without having to travel too far.
Think girlfriend, mother/daughter, yoga, hiking, biking or any manner of getaway with like-minded companions.
I recently spent the weekend in Scottsdale, Ariz., looking at some amazing resorts and spas. (Incidentally, a very close and great weather winter getaway.) While it is hard to choose a favorite child, I was really impressed with the Royal Palms. This historic landmark is nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, and the richly detailed Mediterranean architecture conveys a sense of privacy and romance. Alvadora Spa inspires your journey of self-discovery with its warm European design and style. This is a perfect romantic getaway and does actually host many
I also like Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. Terraced high on Camelback Mountain, it offers stunning views and a unique boutique resort experience. Besides the spa, Sanctuary also has tennis, biking, hiking and a nearby championship golf course. It's great for couples, or even a girlfriend getaway.
My night at Enchantment Resort in Sedona was the piece de resistance of the whole trip! An easy two-hour drive from Phoenix, it is simply marvelous. Nestled deep into a private red-rock canyon, it is bordered by the beautiful Secret Mountain Wilderness and combines the tranquility of a pristine environment with a luxury vacation experience.
With biking, hiking, stargazing, nearby golf and even Camp Coyote for families with children, not to mention spa activities, it will keep you busy all day.
Mii amo Spa, which has 14 spa casitas and two spa suites, offers three, four or seven-day "journeys," or as in the case of a recent guest who came for seven days, a 60-day stay! I can see why she couldn't leave - the spa menu is one of the most extensive I have ever seen, the food is wonderful, the staff is happy and the harmonious, spiritual atmosphere would be hard to put behind you.
A bit farther away from home, wonderful spas can be found in any corner of the world. Bushmans Kloof, which was voted the No. 1 resort in Africa by Travel and Leisure in 2010, has a new spa where you can surrender to the ancient mystical powers of African healing rituals to rejuvenate, replenish and relax, all in a remote wilderness location, about 270 kilometers from Cape Town, South Africa.
Closer to Cape Town is the Twelve Apostles, which was voted the best hotel in Cape Town by Travel and Leisure in 2010. The award-winning spa has seven state-of-the-art treatment rooms and two private outdoor gazebos with panoramic sea and mountain views.
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is easily accessed from the Gold Coast Airport on Australia's east coast. Along with either Gaia Retreat and Spa in the Byron Bay area (owned by Olivia Newton-John) and the Spa on Hayman Island, these can be easily incorporated into a longer Australian itinerary.
At Gwinganna, you can do a two-day spa weekend or a full seven-day detox, plus they offer you 10 different retreats to choose from along with several specialty program options. These cover relevant areas to our life style today, including sleep, women's health, nutrition, organic gardening, cooking and a program designed specifically for men.
At Gaia, you can check in any day that suits you. They have a selection of packages and retreat-style accommodation. The comprehensive personalized package programs are tailored specifically to your needs and can focus on health, fitness, weight loss, meditation or detox.
Hayman Island is a five-star resort in the Whitsunday Islands and is designed to serve as a wellness-oriented oasis. The signature massage is the ocean massage, and by all accounts, it is wonderful.
Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa is in the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest. This is accessed from the Cairns airport. It is a unique body, mind and soul experience and has the approval of the local Kuku Yalanji elders to offer spa treatments integrating aboriginal medicines, spirituality and healing.
Rosie Holliday is an ex-pat Aussie and longtime local travel agent who owns Holliday Adventures, a Virtuoso-affiliated travel agency. While she can and does book the world, her specialties are Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Europe. Reach her at 970-748-9818, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.hollidayadventures.com.