This year, our readers voted for health-focused retreats that are rooted in a sense of place.
Since when did we become so obsessed with wellness? Americans of all ages are now trying Fitbits and the Paleo diet, DNA testing and meditation, all in their quest to become better versions of themselves.
When it comes to travel, they’re turning to destination spas more than ever before. Perhaps it’s in response to the pervasiveness of technology or the 24/7 news cycle. But retreats that emphasize disconnecting and quieting the mind are suddenly all the rage.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. In the domestic destination spas category, readers rated properties on their accommodations and facilities, treatments, service, food, and overall value.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Opened by Mel and Enid Zuckerman in 1979 with just a handful of guest rooms, Arizona’s Canyon Ranch in Tucson was a pioneer in wellness travel. And it continues to resonate with our readers, thanks to its challenging desert hikes, restorative sound bowl sessions, and in-depth sleep consultations, among many amenities. Guests get a daily credit toward spa treatments — facials, detox massages, reflexology, you name it. “The breadth of activities for the mind and the body — as well as the spa treatments — are the reasons to come here,” wrote one fan.
Lake Austin Spa, a, 40-room retreat in the Texas Hill Country, also prioritizes fitness: think boxing, Bosu balance training, and tai chi. The lakeside setting also plays into the programming, with stand-up paddleboard flow yoga and guided kayaking happening out on the water. Once a year Wallace J. Nichols, biologist and author of Blue Mind, gives a talk about the power of aquatic therapy.
The Lodge at Woodloch, in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, by contrast, emphasizes the regenerating power of nature through forest-bathing sessions led by certified guides. And guests can exercise the left side of the brain during silk-scarf painting, coloring, and paper marbling.
But the No. 1 property this year is set among the towering Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona, a town famous for its vortexes, or energy fields. Read on for the full list of winners.