A quick temperature check leaves me feeling all the things: I am ready for a vacation. I want to recharge. I want adventure. I want spontaneity. I want something to look forward to. Good food. Sunshine. Laughter. Hardcover books. Pampering. Movement. I’m talking a 100% total body + mind recharge. Who’s with me?
By: Lisa Fennessy
IN THIS POST:
- What kind of wellness retreat I’m looking for
- 5 wellness retreats I’ve got my eye on…
- Castle Hot Springs
- Golden Door
- Blackberry Farm
The world is still crazy, y’all. My kids did a virtual learning stint right after the most recent holidays, and it put me in a mood. Which has been curbed by the daydreaming I’ve been doing about taking a SOLO wellness resort vacation. Catch my drift?
I’m feeling this pull to just really put my face to the sun and fill myself up. But as I started looking around, I realized that “wellness resort” can mean a lot of different things to different people. And that’s why I’m writing this post.
What kind of wellness retreat I’m looking for
Nothing weight or fasting focused
For example, I want to avoid any type of “wellness resort” that focuses on weight loss or liquid fasting—NO THANKS! Part of my wellness plan is green smoothies, but it’s also a thick-ass gluten-free Belgian waffle with all the fixins.
In addition, I want to see spa and meditation time on the schedule, but also adventure. I want to get out and do a hike that makes me sweat or try kitesurfing or geronimo into a hidden waterfall. Basically, a little bit of everything, AKA anything but a 7-day silent retreat sitting still in a room by myself—which is the definition of ANTI-WELLNESS IMO.
Gives me space for spontaneity
Another aspect of life that I’ve been fantasizing about lately is spontaneity. Gosh, I miss that call from a girlfriend like, Wanna grab a glass of wine after work? Or my husband texting me on a Thursday like, Let’s get atta town this weekend. Or me, myself and I exploring the city on a whim like let me hit up this Korean spa, try some Float Therapy or get a cute-ass tattoo…I DON’T KNOW, JUST SOMETHING!!!
Welcoming to solo travelers
In that vein, I’m thinking a solo trip would be best. The chances of spontaneity, meeting new people and trying new things goes way up for me when I’m alone, so I’m seeking out places where I can feel comfortable as a solo guest.
Structure with flexibility
I also want some sort of structured wellness program without losing complete control of my day. Like, take care of me and challenge me…I want to “have to” do that meditation session because if no one is making me do it, I won’t. But at the same time, ya girl needs some pool and nap time too, so I’m not looking to be fully scheduled, just mildly.
Location, location, location
And on that note, don’t give me a “wellness retreat” that’s in a city like Miami or NYC for christ’s sake. I don’t have THAT MUCH will power. I’ll be all meditation and green juice during the day and then by 4pm I’ll be ordering up bottle service at the Loews like, What wellness retreat?
Lastly, I want to keep it US based…the thought of managing international logistics around COVID protocols right now spikes my blood pressure and I’m not here for that.
Speaking of COVID, some of the resorts I checked out are not offering all their services like, you can come and stay but unfortunately no massages available at this time. NO THANKS! I’m not trying to deprive myself or be reminded that we are still living during pandemic times. I want the full buffet of services, especially if I’m forking over the big bucks.
So with all that in mind, here are some places that fit my idea of a perfect wellness vacation. I realize these are luxe picks, but a girl can dream right?!
5 wellness retreats in the US that I’ve got my eye on
A quick glance reveals Castle Hot Springs as a 2021 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Award Winner and I’m like, say no more! Actually, one look at the turquoise natural hot springs is really what did it for me. Okay, fine, it was actually when I read “all inclusive”—lol.
Nestled in a canyon in Morristown, Arizona, a stay at Castle Hot Springs is a desert oasis ripe with opportunity for rejuvenation.
Choose from daily included activities like yoga, meditation, canyon hikes, guided archery, a history tour, gardening classes, a sound bath or mindfulness activities (making sunprints, body scrubs or succulent diffusers).
For an extra charge, you can also book private sessions for breath work, Tai Chi, Qigong, a mantra session, a chakra tune up, a look at your personal astrology, every kind of yoga you can imagine and more.
And then of course you can soak in the mineral-rich natural hot springs at any time with the option to upgrade with treatments like massage, reki, cranial sacral therapy, body scrubs and more.
A stay at Castle Hot Springs also includes three farm to table gourmet meals per day cultivated from their OWN FARM.
Love that you can book your day full or do nothing at all. Did I mention each cabin comes with an outdoor private tub?!
A stay at Golden Door includes a massage…EVERY DAY! But I’m getting ahead of myself. First and foremost they “exist to change lives” and with a 4-to-1 staff to guest ratio, get ready for the wellness experience of a lifetime. A 7-day stay is required and includes…
- Over 40 fitness classes and up to four sessions with a personal trainer.
- Five skincare sessions and one body treatment, two herbal wraps and a mani/pedi.
- All meals, which are harvested from their own 5 acre farm.
- Over 25 miles of private trails, 7 gyms, 2 swimming pools, 2 labyrinths, a tennis court and a bath house.
- Warmups, t-shirt and robe (laundered daily), sandals, sun hat and a fanny pack for all your activities. You also get a water bottle, journal, tote and a yoga mat. Basically you just have to show up!
One day could look like: Hikes on the mountain, Tai chi in the meadow, a guided labyrinth walk, nights of camaraderie over twilight dinners with just 39 other guests. A focus on reconnection—to yourself, to the bigger picture, to the joy of laughing out loud.
OR it could be: Stretching yourself with TRX training, Pilates, haiku writing or some precious time with your thoughts in the bamboo forest….followed by an evening featuring a mind-expanding guest speaker from the worlds of the arts, sciences, food, entertainment, healing and conservation.
All I want to know is, is the fanny pack cute tho?!
Get ready to get your Walland, Tennessee on in ways you never knew possible. Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, I’ve been coveting a trip to Blackberry Farm ever since I moved to Atlanta 5 years ago.
Say hello to the epitome of luxury, outdoors, wellness and self care by surrounding yourself in the beautiful bounty of an actual working farm. Do nothing by their adult-only pool, or hole up in the tranquility room all day or do everything via their add-on Wellhouse offerings like…
Book a Tata Harper facial or get a good sweat in via workouts like H.I.I.T., Barre, personal training or private dance instruction. Indulge in adventure activities like guided trail running, deep healing woods yoga, mountain biking, road cycling or their “farm fit” class, which includes hay bales, barn lofts and farm animals. Slow it down with mindfulness activities like yoga and guided meditation. Or get curious with a guided Enneagram Journey (!).
You can even take part in their learning lectures like Aromatherapy 101, Understanding Your Skincare, Juice Power or The Science Behind Deep Healing Woods.
And if you are still left wanting more, try horseback riding, wake surfing, geocaching, wine tasting, paintball or clipping some fresh lavender from their herb garden for your steam.
Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, just outside Scottsdale, CIVANA is a wellness destination offering a serene and healthy get-away.
A stay at Civana includes:
- Access to over 70 complimentary fitness, personal growth and spiritual classes each week like yoga sculpt, intention setting, stretch, chakra yoga, pickleball, inner intimacy workshop, aquafit, blissful sleep meditation, sunset sound healing and more.
- Access to athletic courts, trails and studio spaces
- Pool access
- Tennis courts
- Bike usage
Additional offerings include mountain biking, guided desert hikes, wall yoga, mindful mixology, spa treatments and more.
A sample day could look like: wake up with a Tortuga Trail Hike followed by lunch at Seed and a restorative stretch. Reconvene in the early evening for a gratitude circle and a self-guided sunset cactus walk punctuated by dinner at Terras.
Or breakfast at Seed followed by a daily intention setting ceremony and advanced mountain bike ride. Then lunch, an Aquafit class and an evening meet up for happiness hour at Terras, as well as a daily reset gratitude circle.
Days are graced with delicious farm-to-table produce, grass-fed meats, sustainable seafood, and decadent desserts at Terras and/or plant-based, anti-inflammatory, gut friendly options at Seed.
The Guest Experience team will help you plan your schedule whether it be wellness classes or spa treatments or both. #takemethere
A complete retreat for the mind, body and soul, Miraval boasts three heated pools, the Life in Balance Spa (with steam rooms, saunas, quiet lounges and I’m *pretty sure* Laurel Skincare), the Body Mindfulness Fitness Center, zip line, walking trails, interactive culinary workshops and more.
Start by choosing your intention, whether that be outdoor adventure, grief & loss, a couples retreat, mental wellbeing, relaxation or more and your days could look like….
Mental Wellbeing: breakfast, outdoor hike, roll with it class, lunch, Qi Grounding massage, Chorus of Crystals, private stress reduction consultation, dinner and a grounding massage. (Okay I’m sold….WHAT?! This sounds perfect.)
Outdoor Adventure: trail run, labyrinth journey, lunch, climbing wall, pool time, drinks in the lounge, dinner, desert river stone massage. (I’m so here for this too!)
Self Connection: breakfast, morning meditation, all the buzz class, the beauty of imperfection, lunch, soul journey, floating meditation, facial, dinner. (Drool…)
All meals, daily yoga, fitness, meditation and wellness lectures are included. Each stay also includes a $175 nightly resort credit per person to spend on a spa service or activities or private sessions.
Each room is outfitted with a cell phone “sleeping bag”—a subtle reminder that the world can wait. I’m here for alllll of that.
Which retreat sticks out to you as a wishlist trip?