America's Best Desert Spa Retreats
When they need to recover from stress, smog, or something stronger, West Coasters head for arid climes. A detox taxonomy.
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
The vibe: Ultra-private, 1920’s-era romantic weekender’s hideaway (first revealed to noncelebs in Robert Altman’s 1992 satire The Player). Everything has been recently redone, from the tree-shaded grotto to the yoga dome, gym, and glass-walled restaurant.
The draw: Midnight soaks in heated mineral pools; discreet bungalows with patios or yards.
In the adjacent mud bath: Famous friends of the Hollywood movie producer owners—not that you’d recognize them after their lithium-rich mud baths.
Red Mountain Resort, St. George, Utah
The vibe: At-your-own-speed adventure retreat with a holistic, slightly granola focus on inner wellness (nutrition coaching; energy assessments)—plus such badass activities as canyoneering and horseback riding.
The draw: Sessions with a shaman; the wine-based Sagestone Mojito.
On the next horse: Digital-detox candidates caught in a Whole Foods/yoga class rut; adrenaline addicts up for rappelling Bryce Canyon’s 150-foot hoodoos.
Mii amo spa, Sedona, Arizona
The vibe: Unfussy boutique spa with just 16 adobe-style rooms, all refreshed and framed by Sedona’s red rocks. Offerings are grounded in Native American rituals (treatments themed around moon phases; a labyrinth for meditation).
The draw: Hikes to the “Vortex” energy center; top-notch organic cuisine; access to Seven Canyons Golf Club.
In the communal grotto: Family-vacation refugees from connected Enchantment Resort; Gwyneth Paltrow, raving about her aura reading.
Miraval, Tucson, Arizona
The vibe: Four hundred acres of sweeping Sonoran desertscape in the Santa Catalina foothills, with 118 casita-style rooms, a chilled-out spa-as-you-want format with pedigree (this is the birthplace of the hot-stone massage), plus serious new beauty amenities including the sleek Life in Balance Spa with Clarins and the first-ever Deborah Lippmann Salon.
The draw: Over 90 classes and workshops per week; exclusive treatments such as the Thai Nâga massage, in which therapists are suspended above mats by silk cords.
On the nearby yoga mat: Ellen DeGeneres; Sharon Stone; various Real Housewives; sustainability minded spa junkies.
Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
The draw: Spiritual Wellness Center with Zen garden and crafts workshops; Primitive Outdoor Skills course that covers toolmaking and animal tracking.
In the neighboring cabana: Louboutin-shod agents’ wives seeking “gait analysis”; studio execs in need of a reboot; brand loyalists such as Tory Burch and Gayle King.