In February, when the holidays are through but winter still drags on, you're bound to start daydreaming about a vacation. You need someplace to unwind and break out of your routine so that you can return refreshed. Here's the first bit of relief: Travel + Leisure has done the work to uncover five resorts that know just how to pamper their guests.
When a luxury hotel joins forces with a state-of-the-art medical facility (the California Health & Longevity Institute), the result is a whole new level of spa service based on hard science. Here, you can get a physical that incorporates cancer and cholesterol screenings, a cardiac risk analysis, and a test that examines your DNA's damage and repair mechanisms. Traditional treatments—Swedish and shiatsu massage—are an alternative for those simply looking to relax. There's an indoor family-friendly pool with a pool-length skylight, while mahogany furniture and Pierre Deux fabrics give the guest rooms a warm, soothing ambiance.
This upscale, 60,000-acre desert rude ranch is near Tucson, yet it feels like a true escape from big-city life. The surrounding Sonoran Desert landscape is strewn with saguaro and prickly pear cacti, and horseback riding reigns supreme. Guests have the choice of three 90-minute rides daily through the countryside, a six-hour all-day ride, or the combination of rides and a group arena lesson to hone techniques (sunset rides and private lessons cost extra).
Rates: Bed and breakfast package available through April 30 for $225/couple includes: lodging with breakfast daily; variety of resort activities; Kids program, horseback riding, and mountain biking are available for an additional charge.
Get away from the crowds by visiting this beach destination in the off-season, when skies are moody and the white sands practically deserted. Built in 1868 and redone to the tune of $146 million, this Victorian-style property is as grand as ever. Croquet lawns and putting greens add to the eclectic, old-world charm. The 49 light-filled guest rooms and 22 private villas have modern bathrooms with oversize soaking tubs, and the wraparound patio is ideal for curling up with a glass of wine, On the ground floor there's the farm-to-table Seasons restaurant, and the hotel's official Food Forager Jan Faust Dane offers cooking classes 3x a week throughout the winter.
Rates: From $260/night in winter months (more than half off its high season rates).
Set among the sleepy Blue Ridge Mountains, with 360-degree views that include the scenic parkway, this resort was named one of the World's Best Destination Spas by Travel + Leisure readers. There's an extensive lineup of fitness and wellness classes, such as "creating balance in your life" and "burnout prevention and healing," and even a dedicated Life Enrichment Center. Its range of amenities includes an indoor swimming pool, whirlpools, a steam room, saunas, a cardiovascular center, weight room, tennis court, and fitness center. Guests are bound to leave with a healthy glow.
Rates: Bed and breakfast rates start at $225/night mid-week through April and include breakfast, daily guided hikes, fitness classes, and use of the spa.
Ringed by a trio of natural attractions—Snow, Zion, and Bryce canyons—the Red Mountain Spa devotes as much attention to fitness as to pampering. A sample day can be spent hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Reward yourself for all that effort back at the holistic spa, whose locally-inspired treatments include a Canyon Sage Warm Stone Massage that uses energy-rich indigenous rocks. The 82 rooms and villas were renovated in 2006 with a tasteful Southwestern design that blends in seamlessly with the red rocks and lava fields right outside the door.
Rates: The Essential Retreat Package is $175 per person/per night and available through February 29. Package includes: three healthy delicious meals daily, daily guided morning hikes, unlimited fitness classes, healthy life classes & events, personal discovery activities, Eat Well, Feel Well cooking demonstrations, and more.